Resolution -vs- Solution

jan-23-resolution-vs-solution

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!

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.

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.

CAUTION: Speed Bumps Ahead!!!!

“Your greatest battle is in your mind; not your circumstance.”
Author Unknown

Have you ever been driving along minding your own business when BAM, out of nowhere, you are blind-sided by something you did not see coming? Most of the time, we find traffic signs that let us know what lies ahead; but unfortunately, life doesn’t offer these warning signs. So what do we do when we encounter these speed bumps? Hopefully, that question will be answered in this blog post.

Let me tell you a little story. Recently, my wife and I joined the “empty nesters club” and we decided to find some things that we could do together that are out of the box for us. We joined a local running club and if you know me, you would know that running has NEVER been my strong point. IN fact, to run a lap around the track one time without stopping, was a miracle! So, we join this club and show up for the first day and meet our fearless leader, Jim “Papa Turtle” Hardin who is 67 years young and seems to be able to run FOREVER! Did I mention FOREVER?? Anyways, I find that our morning run will be a little over 3 miles and mind you it’s 5:00 am! Did I mention its 5:00 am and January?! So we are off and Jim motivates us the entire run with encouraging words and stories that make the run go by faster. Moving forward to now, we are running 2 – 3 times a week minimum and 3.5 miles each time. Now fast forward to present, specifically to last Thursday, when we were running and right at the 1.76 mile mark, I get a horrible cramp in my left knee which is followed by a POP and then me sitting on a curb unable to walk. How many would say this is bad? It’s cold, I’m sweaty, it’s dark and I’m in pain. There were no warning signs for this event that just happened! I have found that asking “WHY” is not a motivator, but what I do or think next is what’s important.

You see, life has its way of offering what I call speed bumps as we journey forward and most of the time, there is no warning. Side thought here, I have also noticed that when we stand still and do nothing or go backwards in life, there are no speed bumps OR rewards. What happens when we get to those speed bumps, makes all the difference in life. We have got to learn to find the opportunities in the circumstances or speed bumps. We must learn that we are only down for as long as we allow the circumstance to rule the moment. I myself already have plans for three upcoming 5k runs and I told this body of mine that if I have to do them on crutches, I will. So SUCK IT UP and let’s keep moving!

I was reading in my Bible and noticed that when Jesus healed people, most of the time I found the word “immediately” within the same scripture. If you look up the definition of immediately, you will find, “at once, instantly, without any intervening time or space.” As a Christian who walks by faith and not by sight, that was what I grabbed ahold of. I’m not saying this is what you should do if you find yourself in the same place! What I do want you to take away from this, is that when you hit those speed bumps that your very next decision, thought and/or action, sets the stage for what the road ahead will be like.

If a dream fails, it’s not the end; but instead, the beginning to a new one IF you can see it that way.

If you lose or get fired from your present job, it’s not the end of the world; but instead, a promotion to something new IF you can see it that way.

If you get a negative medical report or injury, don’t let it end life; but instead, let it ignite you to pursue what you CAN do with greater passion than ever before.

We have all heard the statement, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade”, but I add to that by saying, find a way to grow bigger, think larger and live without walls during those seasons.

Life is too short to let the speed bumps hold you back. Whatever you are going through this day, find opportunity in that circumstance and make it a stepping-stone to greater things.

Today, right now, this very second, is the beginning of something new or just another second of the same old same old. You decide!