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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50 Strong

50 Strong

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Hiking trail view along Abalone Cove, San Pedro, CA – Photo taken by https://reachonedesigns.wordpress.com/

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
Nelson Mandela

My hope is that this post will find its way into the right hands this day to encourage and maybe add some humor and joy to it.

I realized this morning that I’m in the 30-day countdown till I turn 50 which to many that means I’m going “over the hill”. Well, that is NOT the case, as I’m doing it with great joy and NOT with fear and trembling =). I’m actually excited about the climb, the peak at the top and getting to see what’s next!

I just asked a group of friends that are very special in my life but also way younger than me, to be like a sounding board for my blog and podcast which are all getting relaunched on June the 1st. Their youthfulness is inspiring to me. So many reach a certain age and seem to think they don’t need youthfulness around them, but we all need each other!

I can remember at one point in my life thinking 50 was forever away and that “yes” when I got there, I would be old! But now I exuberantly say, “Bring it on”! So, which brought me think, “What Biblical nugget can I share about 50?” When you search the number 50 out in the Bible, you can find it many times and used in so many different ways. But one way stood out to me that was being used in a passage of deliverance. How is the number 50 related to deliverance? Well, I’m glad you asked! Fifty symbolizes deliverance or freedom from a burden. God commanded ancient Israel that every 50th year, on the Day of Atonement, that a Jubilee was to be declared with the sound of a trumpet (Leviticus 25). During the Jubilee year, ALL debts were settled in favor of the debtor and inheritances were returned to their rightful owners. Also, those who worked as slave laborers in order to repay a debt were granted their freedom to return home to their families and land. I’m actually seeing my Jubilee year coming I guess you would say and am ready to hear the trumpet sound. =)

I say often, “Life is a journey” and by design, I believe the journey was only to be the transition to a new place when we stop breathing. Until then, we should be seeking the adventure in every second and enjoying every breath no matter what life throws our way. We should be looking for ways to better ourselves and NOT be looking for excuses to slow down and accept that we are too old to do what we want or enjoy. Debbie and I were out jogging last night and talking about a friend we met through a local running club. They called him “Papa Turtle” because at 70+ he could run forever it seemed. He inspires me to push myself further than what feels comfortable and reach for things that others say you shouldn’t be doing anymore.

If 50 is in your line of sight OR way back behind you in the rear-view mirror of life, make no excuses for why you can’t any longer do what you really want to do. Instead, start reminding yourself that YES you can! As in the Nelson Mandela quote I shared above, there are many more mountains to conquer; so start climbing!!

Start today, right this very moment, investing in yourself. Read new books, exercise, step outside the box of the norm for you, and trade those old negative habits in for some new positive ones. Make whatever age you’re at the most impactive one of your life yet.

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!

 

Your Authority As A Believer

podcast pic 4-25-17

 

“Your Authority As A Believer”

Today I shared at Living Water Teaching’s US Headquarters, in Caddo Mills, TX on”Your Authority As A Believer”.  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!

A message of PURPOSE revealed in STAR WARS

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The following is a really great guest post from Eric Anderson .  I asked him to bring the topics of PURPOSE and STAR WARS together for this post and he did a really great job.  Thank you, Eric!  

“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope.” This line from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, is one of the top 100 lines in the whole history of cinema. Although it was not the first line in the movie, it became the first significant line in a franchise that has impacted millions of individuals, as well as culture as a whole. This line brought an old man out of exile into a conflict which spanned a galaxy. Obi-Wan Kenobi had been in exile for nearly 30 years at this point. He was keeping tabs on a child on a desert planet far from his former apprentice. He did not exactly choose this exile. It came after he experienced a battle with a friend who betrayed him and his friend’s new mentor was just too powerful for the few Jedi that were left, to take down. But this line gave him a renewed purpose.

Purpose is a hard thing for us, right? We often struggle with it. Whether as a college student in a boring job with classes that are overwhelming or a businessman who is traveling to another continent for work or play. We live in a culture that does argue over our origins, regularly. In a world where a view like Han Solo’s claim of “Kid, I’ve flown from one side of the galaxy to the other and I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful force controlling everything,” I would argue that we should take the side of Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan knew the Force. He had used the Force and responded to it time and time again. For him, it was not a struggle, and it doesn’t need to be one for us, either – even in exile.

The Jews in Babylon knew the feeling of exile. They had been in exile for nearly 70 years. They had sought purpose in the exile and were longing to get out of exile. First, we’ll look at the purpose within exile, then the purpose after exile. There were several prophets that can stand out in this time period. Jeremiah did not go into exile, but he wrote a letter to those in exile which is found in Jeremiah 29. Now normally, people focus on verse 11, but we shall look before that at what he actually told them to do while in exile. Verse 7 tells us: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” He didn’t want them to just carry on in life, but to live missionally within their context. This fits with Jesus’ teachings. He taught us to share our resources with those who have none. Even when God sends you where you do not want to go, He has people there for you to reach. People for you to love, be generous to, and to which you can share Jesus. I doubt that Obi-Wan just sat there while he was on Tatooine. We know he was looking after Luke from a distance and also that Yoda had told him to train in communing with the Force. Did you really think he became a Force Ghost later on by doing nothing on Tatooine?  In Jeremiah 29:12, after telling us He has a future and a hope for us, God says: “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” God has a relational and personal purpose for us. Jesus himself said that he calls his disciples “friends” and not just servants (John 15:15). This calling is one that exists both in and out of exile. It never ends and it will continue in eternity.

Exile is never permanent. It is always temporary, even if it feels long. When the 70 years were up, God revealed a particular part of His plan to two different men. One of them was sent to build walls around Jerusalem. Nehemiah felt a calling from God to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem and Ezra felt the calling to build a new temple for worship. They each have their own book in the Bible and I encourage you to read them. It seems that when someone is pulled from exile, throughout scripture they have a role. Paul spends time growing closer to Christ in exile then goes on his missionary journeys after that. Jesus spends forty days fasting in the wilderness and then completes his calling to bring redemption. Obi-Wan’s purpose was to get Luke out of his exile and helping with the rebellion against the Empire. In the newest Star Wars film, we find another person coming out of exile. A girl named Rey. She has been living life as a scavenger on a planet that experienced a huge battle and has many crashed ships on it. She then helps seek Luke Skywalker after enlisting in an army to fight the New Order.

Whatever phase of life you are in, whether you feel exiled to a place you do not like or if you love where you are, God has purpose for you. First of all, for you to enjoy life with Him, and secondly for you to bring His redemption to those around you.

Thank you again, Eric Anderson! And thank you to those that have taken the time to read this blog post.  I pray this one and any others you take the time to read, will bless you and bring increase into your life.  Please help us to reach further and bless more people by sharing this blog with others you know.  Together we can make a difference!