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….

Advertisements

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:

jheadshot
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!

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

EYES OFF OF THE GIANTS!

Eyes Off The Giants

Giants on this earth have been something we have read about dating back to the beginning chapters of the Bible. The reason the Jews were made to wander in the desert for 40 years after God delivered them from Pharaoh and parted the Red Sea, is because they didn’t believe God could help them defeat the giants (the descendants of Anak and the ancestors of Goliath). We watch movies about giants and read children’s fairytales about them. History reveals the reality of giants; but there are also those giants we ourselves create due to situations and circumstances that block us from achieving success in our daily life and even in the fulfillment of our dreams. They aren’t really there physically; BUT nonetheless, they feel so very real – almost to the point that you could touch them.

God has dreams for each of us; but I also know that there are those reading this post that have not yet realized what their dream is – YET. However, the time will come, and when it does, it will be an EPIC day.

We can read stories from the Bible and other books that are full of dreamers and the giants that tried to stop them. Authors, musicians, entrepreneurs, and people from all walks of life, will at some point encounter the giants I am talking about. As you move forward in whatever you do, you will likely encounter some giants of your own and the key to conquering them is to NEVER STOP moving forward! You are worth the success of an achieved dream; plus there are those that will be impacted by your dreams. Dreamers are not going to be birthed or grow up on their own, so we must NEVER give up on them or ourselves.

Question, what could you do NOW to make a greater impact than ever before in the forward motion in your dreams? Then start there and take it one step at a time.

I would encourage you to get yourself a journal, pen or pencil and keep it with you at all times because from my experience, thoughts, concepts, quotes and other miscellaneous ideas can hit you when you least expect it. Learn to live life “ready”. =)

Lastly, I want to speak to those dreamers or visionaries that are living in the shadows of another’s dreams. Remember that their dream cannot take the place of yours. We can help another move forward in theirs, but we still need to be moving forward with our own. I can remember the late Dr. James L. Zirkle, Co-Founder of Living Water Teaching Ministries saying this: “the best way to accomplish your dreams is to help someone else achieve theirs”.

So start the adventure today and do not look back and hold nothing back. Dream big and keep your eyes off those powerless fictional giants.

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

Also, here is the link from last week’s Kingdom Thinking blog post on the topic of FEAR. CLICK HERE

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 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

TODAY!

Photo by RKS Photography

Photo by RKS Photography

I want to start this week’s post off with a quote. This quote is by Admiral – William H. McRaven as he addressed the 2014 UTA graduating class in Austin, TX. He said, “What starts here changes the world”. What a powerful statement! To me, it’s a challenge that all should take. I want my dreams to change the world for the better and live way beyond my lifetime.

Today we can make decisions to move forward into our dreams. We can learn to embrace uncertainty and rejoice in the ups and downs of life. I just read a statement that said, “Enjoy the downs in life because there can be no ups without them”! A successful life has so much to do with our perspective of it.

Stop waiting on the perfect time; but instead, decide to give your absolute best and leave the rest to God. I love listening to Dan Miller and one thing he teaches is that we need to stop waiting for the perfect time and start doing with what we have now. People are not seeking you for perfection, but instead, realness that they can learn and glean from to help them step-up to a new level.

So what could you do right NOW to start moving forward in your dream? Then do it and don’t look back!

Well that’s it for today, but we have many great past blog posts I would encourage you to check out and we are also 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.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, questions, and or suggestions below.

LivXtrem4Him