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….

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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!

What’s Your Story?

I have had this title going off inside me for some time now. I hope that by the end of this post, you will be on the right path to finding your story.

I want to ask you a question – WHAT IS YOUR STORY? I’m sure this question prompts many different thoughts. We all have a story and each story will vary because no one path in this life is the same. But I want us to not look at our story as defined by the life we have lived; but instead, by the one life that was given.

1 Peter 2:9 (AMP) “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s} own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

Now, let me ask you again after reading this scripture – WHAT’S YOUR STORY? Our real story starts as a YES. The very simple answer to a life-changing question. Do you believe?

We, as believers, have been chosen and set apart. We are designated for something great; royal above any royalty this world has ever seen. If we dig into the deep meaning of this word, “chosen” we find: “to pick, gather, picked from among the larger group for special services or privileges”. If you go back and reread the scripture now with this meaning and see it as God speaking personally to you, then you will see and know your true story. Your story is uncommon and there will never be another like yours. So live like it, and do it all to the glory of God!

Just a heads up, my next blog post is a kick-off on Kingdom Relationships.

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.”

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.

Ladder to the Top!

I want to start this blog post by asking a question for YOU to answer. What is “the Top of the Ladder” to you? This answer will be the same for many, as society has dictated what they think it is and then for others, it will vary in answer. When I left the Emergency Medical world as a paid career and started with Living Water Teaching, it was a desk job and a high position of authority. But all these years later, after reaching the rung in the ladder we call CEO, I find it very different. Now don’t get me wrong, it does come with a desk and also authority, but much of the time a desk to me is like an anchor and authority becomes a pain in the backside. =) But I love what I do and until God says move, I’m here in the place I call CEO land. (I will come back to my thoughts a little later in this post.)

Let’s look at the definition of CEO for a moment: “A chief executive officer (CEO) is generally the most senior corporate officer (executive) or administrator in charge of managing a for-profit or non-profit organization. An individual appointed as a CEO of a corporation, company, organization, or agency.” I would add here that for me and many others in the business world, we see God as our senior partner. Here is an example of one: http://www.buckknives.com/index.cfm?event=why.message .

I heard a movie quote once that said, “Life is an uphill climb, so enjoy the view”. The climb to that position of CEO is much of the same – a climb and for many, it is the only thing that matters. They become obsessed with it and focus on nothing else, only to get there and lose themselves and sometimes even their families, friends and their health. To be a CEO of a corporation that is making a difference is an amazing thing; but to only be there for a paycheck just seems a little crazy to me. But to each their own!

I have an e-book called “Christian Business Legends” and what I enjoyed most about it was the fact that these men and women were striving to fulfill their calling. It was not for a title or personal gain or even to say “LOOK AT ME”.

Let’s rewind for a moment to my take on the CEO definition. Now again, this is my personal experience on the position and it won’t fit all BUT it will fit many. The position goes beyond a desk or the authority. It goes beyond a dress code or even a lifestyle level. CEO to me is defined as the CHIEF EVERYTHING OFFICER. I have heard it said by many: “I would not ask of someone something I am not willing to do myself”, but those words don’t float for most. They sounded good when first spoken many years ago by those that meant it, but today (most of the time), they are words to push people to work beyond what should be asked. Also, being willing to do it and doing it is two very different things.

I find my world as a CEO to offer many different physical views. One is my desk; another would be a stage or platform from where I might be speaking from both nationally or internationally. Another is a forklift in the warehouse at the US offices here in Texas and still another would be driving a zero radius mower all the while still performing corporate duties, daily management actions and decision making and so on. All this said, it’s time we stop letting how this world defines what a job, career or calling is and redefine what it is to us.

One of my many examples of a real leader has gone on to be with the Lord – but his legacy of leadership is with me daily. I watched the co-founder of Living Water Teaching, Dr. James L. Zirkle, lead by example. Many could not keep up with his “full speed ahead” life, but he made an impact globally that few will ever touch. Those that are in the book I mentioned above, lead by example. TODAY, Christ leads you and me by example and not just by words (if you have that relationship with Him.) This is why I say all the time, “live life on purpose with purpose”, no matter what you’re doing in life. If you are not the CEO of a company, at least be the CEO of your life and household with the only senior to you being God!

So how can you today redefine the CEO you are?
1. Take inventory of your life, both in business and personally.
2. Who is counting on you today and how can you be a greater blessing to them?
3. Are you being fulfilled and finding joy in what you are doing? If not, then it’s hard to lead others without it.
4. Lastly, find what needs to be done and DO IT!

There are many more concepts to being a CEO, leader, manager, etc. – but not enough time to bring all that out here. I will be speaking more on this subject in upcoming blog posts and podcasts. And you can also ask questions below or email me directly @ keiths@lwtusa.org .

So that’s it for this week; BUT I would love to hear back from you below with your comments, suggestions and feed back.

I want to also encourage you to check out the Kingdom Thinking PodCast on iTunes at: http://goo.gl/0kx3Ya 

You can find out more about the ministry of Living Water Teaching which I talked about in the post @ www.livingwaterteaching.org.

I believe our life is truly meant to be the greatest adventure novel waiting to be written as we live it out. Start living the best life possible NOW on purpose with purpose. Live with no regrets and love without boundaries. Hold nothing back and charge life head on. I am excited for what’s next, because the excitement of anticipation and not knowing of what is next is what births each breath in life.

So stand strong, live life loud and bold! Take this new day gladiator style, ruling and reigning it and not letting it reign you.

LivXtrem4Him

FEAR

fear

Fear defined is “to be afraid of someone or something, to expect or worry about something bad”.

So many times in life, we live in fear of “what could be”. Many of those fears are based on false feelings based on no facts at all. Facts are not truth, but just information that life presents to try and knock us off course. We read in the Bible where the armies stood before Goliath in such fear that they just were hiding in their camp. All this changed when a sheep herder showed up one day bringing food who had already overcome his fears; NOTE – he overcame his fear!

I was watching a TV show on the very same day I was writing this post and the female actress said this, “You don’t ignore or hide from the things you’re afraid of”. For those that have listened to my podcasts, read my past blog posts or even heard me speak, you might have heard me say the statement: Taking life gladiator style. Gladiators to me were some of the most fearless combatants. I watch them in the movies charging their opponent head on, holding nothing back!

So back to the statement from the TV show and my thoughts about gladiators; we have got to learn to face our fears and charge at them, because as we do, we find out that they have no power BUT what power we allow them to have.

Debbie and I were just in Germany, spending time with our daughter and her husband. We traveled all over Germany and also to Holland, Belgium and Austria. (You can check out the pics on my Facebook page: CLICK HERE ) One of the things my son-in-law planned for us was the Kletterwald Rope course in Wiesbaden. (Here is the link to read more about them: CLICK HERE ) So we followed the direction of our fearless guide (AKA my son-in-law) and we skipped over at least three easier courses and entered onto the Red II (harder) course. Well with that said, “WOW”! Debbie and I were pushed hard throughout this rope adventure obstacle course in the trees, which I can assure you the US would not allow! Once in the trees, you have the option to suck it up and complete the course or call for help and be rescued by a rope course worker while hundreds of people below watch you wimp out. Anyways, we kicked that course’s BUTT! =)

I think about situations that range from dreamers being afraid of moving forward in their dreams or workers being afraid to face an abusive boss. Or spouses afraid to even talk to the one who has promised to be by their side no matter what. Fear is an enemy of ALL men and women; and again, can only be what we allow it to be.

We must learn to face fear big or small – no matter what it is. You have the power to overcome, to conquer, to triumph over every fear that could TRY and come your way.

So that’s it for this week BUT I would love to hear back from you below with your comments, suggestions and feed back. I also would like to encourage you to check out what we are doing on iTunes at: http://goo.gl/0kx3Ya

I believe our life is truly meant to be the greatest adventure novel waiting to be written as we live it out. Start living the best life possible NOW on purpose with purpose. Live with no regrets and love without boundaries. Hold nothing back and charge life head on. I am excited for what’s next, because the excitement of anticipation and not knowing of what is next is what births each breath in life.

So stand strong, live life loud and bold! Take this new day gladiator style, ruling and reigning it and not letting it reign you.

LivXtrem4Him