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!

Passion

“When you catch a glimpse of your potential – that’s when passion is born.”
Zig Ziglar

I like how Zig brings the word “glimpse” into this quote. I believe many are not living a passionate life. So many have allowed the day-to-day things to become a place of comfort or just events and it bleeds over into every area of their life. If we could get a glimpse of the real us, we would live more passionately. Marriages become just a sustaining relationship with no positive emotion when passion is gone. Dreams sink into the memories of yesterday when passion is no more. Our work and service to others becomes nothing more than works when passion is gone. In anything we do, if passion is not present, then it cannot grow and many times it actually separates.

What is PASSION? According to Webster it is, “A strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something: a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way: a strong sexual or romantic feeling for someone.”

The absence of passion is something that many never see coming. It’s when the passion is completely gone that we normally see the result of its absence. I read a great book by C.S. Lewis titled “The Screw Tape Letters” and it focused around the theme of deception. Via deception, passion can easily become no more. Almost everything we start has some level of passion, but if the coals of passion are not daily stoked, they can easily be smothered out until the artic chill of lifelessness sets in.

“Live with passion”
Tony Robins

“Passion is the genesis to genius”
Tony Robins

You see, God created us for a purpose, but that is not revealed until we live on purpose. Passion is birthed from desire! My desire to serve my God, bless and serve my wife and be a blessing to family, friends and strangers comes from a desire to live a Kingdom life. These are also the ones that fuel me to fulfill my God given dreams.

“We must daily stoke the coals of passion”
Keith Spanberger

Here are a few steps you can take to rekindle passion in your life:
1. Realize it’s never too late to start over again. As long as you have breath it’s not too late.
2. Close the door to negativity. It might mean removing people or things; whatever it is, close the door on it.
3. Realize you are worth it. You deserve to live a passionate life in every area.
4. You’re not anyone else. Don’t try and be someone else or compare yourself to another. Realize that you are one of a kind. A Kingdom original. God created each of us as one of a kind, so be just that.
5. Stop making excuses. It will never be the perfect time to start, so you might as well start RIGHT NOW!
6. It does not have to be perfect to begin!

These are just a few thoughts and I’m sure you can add your own to this. I would love to hear your ideas and any other thoughts below.

So why not start now making today the day you start stoking the coals of passion in every area of your life. Let your spouse know that they are important to you. Let the world see your passion for life. Let your desire to live life to the fullest breath put passion into all that you do. I want to close with this scripture that was part of my Bible time yesterday. I hope it speaks loudly to you and pushes you to be and do more than you ever thought possible.

Galatians 6:9 (AMP) “And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.”

CHANGE

change 4-9-15

“The one consistent thing about life is change.”
Dr. James Zirkle

When we think about change, most of the time it is not something that one looks forward to OR it’s for fear of something that could happen. Even the very definition “to become different, to make (someone or something) different, to become something else” can spark fear if it is not put into proper perspective.

2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP) “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

Just knowing that change is needed is not enough, we must implement it. Honestly, we ALL have areas that must receive some type of change and in this post I am going to focus on one that hit home for me. It’s in the area of health and fitness. (Just an FYI, a Health and Fitness page will soon be coming to the http://www.kingdomthinking.org site and I have some awesome contributing editors that have a wealth of wisdom in this area!)

My wife, Debbie, and I have really tried to implement a cleaner eating and healthier lifestyle over the last few years. As you incorporate change, you will find one of two main reasons why someone decides to make a change. The first area brings us back to fear of what could be or even might be. Fear and faith cannot dwell together and fear will zap everything if we allow it in. The next area is one that is defined in a quote I read yesterday from Charlene Johnson, “In my 20’s I forced myself to workout – and my every effort was focused on getting a better body. Now in my 40’s the physical side effects are just a bonus. Now I see my fitness as a gift that helps my mental wellness, my quality of life, creativity, patience, strength, confidence and longevity. Funny how the wisdom and experiences change our perspective.” That quote pretty much summed up why we are making the life changes we are, but for those doing it in fear, you’re fighting a losing battle. It’s like trying to drive a car with no motor.

“Fear creates powerless pursuit.”
Keith Spanberger

I’m going to end this post here, but only for NOW! I want you to take a piece of paper and pen and write down the areas where you have allowed fear to take over. Now give these areas to God and walk away from them and NEVER look back. Last, destroy the paper and step into the peace of God that surpasses ALL understanding.

It’s time for YOU to live a fearless life, so live it on purpose with purpose!

When you feel like God’s not listening…..

God-is-waiting

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you
want most for what you want right now”
Zig Ziglar

Have you ever had one of those days that makes you feel like God is just not up there hearing what you have to say? (Now this is NOT the time to get a holier-than-thou attitude and say, “Oh no, not me,” but instead, just be real.) WELL, “I” have been in this place and it’s not a good place to be in!

For most people, it’s hard to find joy in waiting, as we are a society that wants everything NOW. We teach our children to have patience, but when it comes to us and God and our prayers, we think we must have an instant miracle, move, and/or manifestation, or something must be wrong. We bounce back and forth between “is it me or is it you God, who is delaying this”? We track the response time as if the answers to our prayers are on a travel schedule. I believe that one of the secret recipes to a joyful Kingdom in life is finding joy in the moment. Now I will be the first to admit that this is NOT always easy. I have learned that in those times, the best thing I can do is reassure myself of God’s promises by daily diving into His Word. Here are a few anchor scriptures that I cling to:

Deut 31:6 (NKJ) “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

1 John 5:14 (AMP) “And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.”

Mark 11:24 (AMP) “For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].”

You see, the truth is that God never leaves us, He always hears us, and He never withholds from His kids. Even before we gave our life to Christ, He knew us and through the power of choice we either let Him in or keep Him at bay.

So how do we overcome?
1. Don’t let the situation change who you are. (I stole that from my wife!!!) – You see, we can’t let a temporary circumstance create a change in us, but instead, we must create a change in it.
2. Don’t give up! His Words in Mark 11:24 are powerful words to hang your prayers on. Make those three words your battle cry in tough times. I have my own three-word battle cry and it is “SUCK IT UP”. (CLICK to read “SUCK IT UP” post)
3. Continually fill yourself with the Word and don’t stop when things get good, but instead, make it your lifestyle. I like how Tony Robbins says that “leaders are readers,” but I take it one step further with what you put in you is what comes out during those tough times. A good business book can give you insight into certain techniques and processes, BUT nothing that truly pertains on how to live and thrive in His Kingdom. So get a good balance on what you are filling yourself up with, but always focus on the Word.
4. Stand no matter what! 1 John5:4 (AMP) “For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith.”

Those are just a few thoughts that will help you in your daily life. I hope in some way you have been encouraged by this post and would ask that if you know someone else that could benefit from this, to please forward it to them.

QUESTION: How do you handle the season of WAIT?

I look forward to your response.

NEW Kingdom Thinking Podcast #23

NEW - KT iTunes logo

Kingdom Thinking Podcast #23

Creating a Life that Counts….

“Don’t count the things you do, do the things that count.”
Zig Ziglar

As all my readers know, I’m a firm believer that life is a journey that must be lived on purpose with purpose. So many sabotage their journey before they ever get started.

When I read Zig Ziglar’s quote, I saw great truth in it. We are going to make a decision to either be inwardly OR outwardly focused. A person who is inwardly focused, will always be thinking about themselves. In every decision they make, it will be about THEIR greater good above all others. Now the person who is outwardly focused, is always looking for how they can better those around them. They look for ways to bring the greater good of others up above themselves. I have met a lot of people in my life, but only a few that have truly put others before themselves. I have said it before, but if someone is always pointing to their own success and giving the glory to themselves, then RUN!!!

It boils down to this – we are ALL called to be world changers. A world changer has an outward focus and their goal is, “What can I do for others”? I was thinking about the traits of a world changer and this is what I came up with:

1. They are persistent about what they’re passionate about.
2. They have defined goals.
3. They have someone that speaks into their life like a mentor.
4. No matter what hits, they keep a positive outlook.
5. They invest in themselves and others. They see the importance of learning and imparting what they are learning.
6. They track their progress in their personal journey.
7. They surround themselves with positive, like-minded people, which will help bring them up to a new level.

People that are real and have character traits like I just mentioned above, will love you too much to allow you to stay like you are, no matter where you are in life.

“You can’t change the world until first changing yourself.”

So right now, you are standing in what could be the greatest second of your life; what are you going to do with it?

What If?

what-if

“Don’t allow the What IF’s to rule your life!”
Me

Life is too short to allow the “WHAT IF” I fail moments to rule us. I have a note on the inside of my calendar that says, “Remove the negative WHAT IF’S from my vocabulary”. In this post, we are going to talk about failure and how to make it work for us.

“We learn from failures, not from success.”
Bram Stoker

Now I can’t say that I totally agree with this statement; however, I still like it. I believe that we can learn from every event that we pass through in life. Notice I said, “Pass through”? I believe that graduating from one event to another in life, offers us lessons on what to do and what not to do; but, if we allow them to stop us or turn us back, then nothing has been learned. For many, failure becomes a stopping point, where for others, it just becomes a lesson in how not to do something.

“Failure is an event and not a person.”
Zig Ziglar

One sure thing about life, is that it comes with a fair share of opportunities, both good and bad. One of the greatest failures that can happen to those that have the honor to stand in front of individuals, whether in large or small settings and impart wisdom, is that they sometimes fail to prepare themselves in how to embrace the good, the bad and the glorious. Notice I said, “Impart wisdom”? Many are just repeating knowledge they took from someone else’s writings or teachings, but nothing more. Knowledge without wisdom is just information and we need more than information to succeed in life. Pastors, mentors, life coaches, etc. have the opportunity to help others embrace life and all that comes with it and learn from it, but we have those that shade it as doom. Others may shade it as clouds and rainbows, but life is like a bipolar friend. One minute it’s up and the other it’s down, and one minute we are laughing and the next we are crying. If we can get the right perspective on life, then we can take every moment and enter into “Life University”. We can then graduate from it with a degree on how to truly live a Kingdom Life. There is nothing more humbling than failure and sometimes no better teacher. The fear of failure has stopped so many from finding their place in life, and for others, it has helped them find their voice.

I want to offer a few suggestions on what you can do to bring change into your life:

1. Inventory your life on paper. Be real and not emotional.
2. Look for areas you can change NOW!
3. Add some type of exercise.
4. Change your eating habits.
5. Change your daily routine.
6. I find that starting and ending my day talking and listening to God, is the perfect way to bring balance to a wobbly world.

Now this list is by no means a complete list, but instead, it’s a starting point for change and no race was ever won without a start.

So the best way I can think of to bring this post to a close, is by telling you this: Failure is not forever and no matter what you are going through right now, it is temporary. You might feel like your whole life has been built for failure, BUT the only person that can change this is YOU! So bring forth the change!

I hope this has in some way spoken to you and will either help you or better you to help others.