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

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“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!

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.

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!