I spent 3 hrs with Ambassador Clyde Rivers, an Ambassador of Peace to the UN. This man has such an AMAZING spirit and unique, heavenly perspective. The wisdom he shared that night was so simple but profound. I took many notes but one thing I will share with you is taken from his insight into the "Golden Rule of the Kingdom": Matthew 22:36-40 “Love God with all that you are and love your neighbor as yourself...” Every law ever written in ANY nation is because someone violated one or both of those Kingdom Principles.
The reason people dishonor one another is because they don't realize they themselves were made in the image of God. When we learn to honor ourselves in that way, we will be able to honor others in the same manner.

GENESIS 1:26 God said, "Let us make man in our image... "
JAMES 3:9 With it (our tongue) we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God.
What a moment of clarity that I want to ruminate on and invite the transformational power of God to do it's thing...I invite you all to do the same.
The byproduct of honor is peace.  - Dr. Clyde Rivers, Ambassador of Peace to the UN

"...He who remains in me will bear much fruit [fruit that will last] apart from me you can do nothing [nothing that will withstand testing]."
John 5:5,  1 CORINTHIANS 3:11-15
The Apostle Paul tells (prophecy of sorts) Timothy that there will come a day when people will "have a 'form' of godliness but deny it's power [source]." 2 Timothy 3:5
So what will you do today as the love of God is extended out to you? 

The prayer of my heart has been to walk in love and treat others as I want to be treated...
So, I just got back from Walmart. I was just going to run in and buy some shipping tape. As I drove up, there was a young homeless kid (mid-twenties) on the corner with his dog. Although I was tired and just wanted to run in and out of the store, I immediately recognized an opportunity to love another. When I entered the store I immediately took a detour to the bakery. For some reason I was SO THRILLED to buy him a cupcake. (I literally consciously wondered why I was so thrilled about it.) Then, thinking about what food I could buy him that wouldn't spoil and what he could easily carry, I decided to buy him some oranges and apples. I couldn't forget about his dog, so I grabbed some Milk Bones as well. I picked up my tape, paid and headed out.
When I got outside he was no longer on the corner. I saw him across the street. I then saw that he was walking with someone else. I thought, "Oh no, I only bought one cupcake." I crossed traffic and met up with the both of them in a parking lot. The other person was his girlfriend and she also had a dog. I grabbed the bag of snacks and approached them. Right away we smiled at each other and said, "Hello." I pulled out the cupcake and said, "I saw you on the corner with your dog and I really want you to have this. I would have bought two but I didn't see that you were with him." They both gasped and the girlfriend said, "Oh my gosh, give it to him, his name is Cupcake!" I looked at Cupcake and he was shaking his head confirming it was true. He laughed with such a child-like sweetness and thanked me. He said, "My name is Cupcake and I love cupcakes! Thank you!" I looked at his girlfriend and said, "Well his name is Cupcake, what's yours?" She answered, "Stormy." I told them my name and we all said, "Nice to meet you." I pulled the Milk Bones out and they were so happy their dogs would have something to eat. I then held out the bag of oranges and apples to Stormy and said, "I brought you some oranges too." Stormy pulled an orange out of her pocket and said, "Yay! Now Cupcake can have his own, and he won't ask me to share mine!" (I felt a jolt in my heart and immediately recognized that it was the Spirit of God that had moved me to buy the cupcake and the oranges. Nothing was "random" about those choices!) We all laughed and enjoyed the moment. They both looked at me and gestured for a hug. I hugged them both tight and they expressed their gratitude once more. As they began to walk away I said, "You do know that you are loved and have great value, right?" Cupcake answered "Oh yes. Thank you." Stormy looked back at me as she wiped away a tear from her eye. She waved at me and they walked away. I stopped them one more time and asked if I could take their picture and tell all of my FB friends that I met two amazing people tonight. They gave me the green light.
I walked away knowing that I had just encountered God...I really hope they felt the same way...

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 JOHN 4:8,
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 JOHN 4:20-21
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with ACTIONS and IN TRUTH. 1 JOHN 3:18

"We have a great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, LET US HOLD TIGHTLY to our confession. For we don’t have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. LET US DRAW NEAR WITH BOLDNESS TO THE THRONE OF GRACE, that we may receive mercy, AND FIND GRACE IN OUR TIME OF NEED." HEBREWS 4:14‭-‬16

We are the RIGHTEOUS! Jesus exchanged his righteousness for our sin on the cross! Righteousness is a state of being (rightness with our Heavenly Father as a gift), not a behavior to produce. As children of God, we are created to do good works, but our "rightness" with God is not earned by those good works...
So no matter if we are doing everything "right" or we've veered off and need to recalculate our current path, let us ALWAYS TRUST that our Heavenly Father is waiting on His Throne to hear from you and me! He is ALWAYS ready to provide you and I with EVERYTHING we are in need of!
What are you waiting for? ...Step out with a boldness of trust that HE WHO IS FAITHFUL WILL HEAR YOU!

Anyone disagree that you cannot give to another what you do not possess?
I was wondering about this all last week...
It is written: "...Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:39
I wonder if the real problem is that some people do love others as themselves...but they just don't love themselves very much...? What if the intention behind this "COMMANDMENT" was actually a Word of Wisdom, encouraging us all to love and forgive ourselves first?...And if we can't give what we don't have to others, where do we find the lasting love and forgiveness to give to ourselves first...?
"Dear friends, since God loves us, so we should love one another."  

1John 4:11
"We love because He first loved us."  1John 4:19
"This is love, not that we loved God, but He loved us and gave His Son as our atoning sacrifice (forgiveness)." 1John 4:10
"I am writing you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven by his name [Jesus]." 1 John 2:12
And to those who have already received from God, when it becomes difficult to love and forgive that "hard to love" individual, tap back into it again by remembering the love and forgiveness that has been freely given by God. 
"...Freely you have been given, freely give." Matthew 10:8

A while back I was driving home after shopping and saw a young man (21yrs old) sitting under a tree on the side of the road. He looked like he might be homeless so I stopped and asked him if he was hungry. He said yes, so I drove him to the Wendy's up the street. When he got in the car I asked, "What is your name?" He replied, "Michael." I tried to talk to him a bit but he was quiet and he seemed to cower, almost as if he was ashamed or embarrassed. When we got to the Wendy's counter he ordered his meal and the cashier asked me, "What is your I can put it on your ticket?" I said, "Just put Michael." The cashier handed me my receipt. Michael asked me if he could have the receipt. I curiously handed it to him and like a little child he turned the front of the receipt towards me and pointed at his name saying, "Michael, that's me. I am Michael." Then he stared at it and smiled, folded it and put it in his pocket. We talked while he ate and he opened up about his heart-breaking history, his past dreams, his choices and eventually how he ended up on the street. I remember wishing that I had some great and wise solution or plan to get him off the street. I of course told him he was loved and valued by God. I encouraged him to dare to dream again for a better life and some other things. When I got up to leave, I didn't think I helped him out with anything more than his hungry belly...
Later I was reminded of a biblical passage when Jesus healed a young man who was not in his right mind, hurting himself and others around him. Jesus first asked him, "What is your name?" It seems to me that Michael needed a reminder of who he really was; a young man with BIG dreams...I'm a big dreamer when it comes to what I believe God is able to do, so I like to believe that something may have happened when he looked at that receipt, smiled and said those words out loud, "I am Michael."
Of course, I probably will never know, but what I can say for sure is that even the homeless were once filled with dreams, they long to be told/shown they have value and they are happy to be reminded of who they really are...Yes, even the homeless like to be asked, "What is your name?"

I was so angry last night. I was frustrated to the point of exhaustion. What is one to do now? The only thing I wanted to do was go to God in prayer.
As I began to pray, the lyrics of a song came to mind: "All that I am, I place into Your loving hands. Jesus, I am Yours." I thought, "What?!" All I am right now is angry, frustrated and a big ball of negative energy... Why would Jesus want me to place that in His hands?! What do I expect Him to do with that?!"
Not yet knowing what to do with that, I went to sleep. This morning I woke up, very conscious that I hadn't let it go yet. This time I began to pray, entering His gates with Thanksgiving...I told Him that I knew He could speak light into darkness, bring order out of chaos, breath life into death and finally an hour later the words came: "Father, only You can bring VICTORY out of SURRENDER. I surrender all that I am at this moment (a big ball of negativity) into Your loving hands and thank You for the VICTORY of PEACE. I imagined opening my hands and allowing the negativity to pour into His hands.
Psalm 100:4, Isaiah 26:3, Philippians 4:6-7
When Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection he said, "My peace I give you... (Greek: BEQUEATH to you)." Peace is an actual inheritance from Jesus. It is readily available to all who ask with a willingness to surrender whatever it is that is hindering their peace!
John 14:27
"All that I am, I place into Your loving hands. Jesus, I am Yours." It's not what he WILL do with what you put in His hands, rather what he has ALREADY done!
"It is finished."
Psalm 22:31, John 19:30

What is the first thing God spoke into existence? Genesis 1:3 says, "God said, 'Let there be light, and there was light.'" So, what was that light? It wasn't the sun, moon and stars because they weren't created until vs. 14. ...Let's see what the Bible says about the light...John 1:3-4 it says nothing was made without Jesus, in Jesus was life and that life was THE LIGHT OF MEN. John 9:5 Jesus says, "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." QUESTION: When Jesus ascended into heaven, did he take the light with him? Now that he is no longer here physically, are we doomed to live in the darkness of the world without hope? NO! Here is how I know that: Matthew 5:14 Jesus tells his followers, "You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven." Later, Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesian church in chapter 5:8, "Now YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE LORD, live as children of light." Don't be discouraged by the darkness that seems to loom over the world these days. See it as an opportunity to shine bright! After all, where does light shine the brightest? Is it not in the darkest of places? Be the light that the world needs.

So yesterday evening was pretty cool...I went to help serve a free meal to an undeserved area of the community and I met a fairly young single mom who came up to say thank you and offer her graphic design skills (free of charge) to the director of the group I was with,  as she was happy to hear about what we do at NBI and said she always wanted to be a part of something like this- not only because of her schooling and work experience but she had a terrible experience herself as a freshman in college and she had to turn to God and learn to let it go and move forward in life ...We started to chat. She was unfulfilled in her current job and was looking for something more.  Come to find out, she is from Colorado Springs and was just passing through. I immediately remembered a website I had come across JUST THAT MORNING was a group in Colorado Springs, similar to ours, and they were looking for a director of events. I pulled it up and read the requirements to her. She was SO excited and talked about how her past jobs gave her experience, etc.  She never heard of the group but she decided she was going to apply for the job as soon as she got home. 
How "crazy" is it that God would send her through Amarillo to meet a perfect stranger who could direct her to a dream job in her home town where she could actually utilize her degree, skills and talents as well as her spiritual journey of healing!  She kept saying, "This is crazy! God works in mysterious ways!" I would have to agree!  I hope it works out for them both!
"A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure." Proverbs 16:9 

As we grow in our relationship with God, He will begin to show Himself in a very personalized way to each of us as individuals. He wants each of us to KNOW Him (not only KNOW ABOUT Him) in all of His fullness, but ultimately as Yahweh, then FINALLY as Abba.
Elohim (God): Creator God
Adonai (Lord): Master God
El Shadai: Powerful God (God's HAND of Power)
YHVH (LORD): Covenant God, God of Love and Deliverance (God's HEART of Wisdom)
Abba: Daddy/Father, Affectionate Source of Provision

YHVH= Hebrew spelling
Notice the first letter of each of the words written above Jesus' head as he hung on the cross: 
Yeshua - Jesus
HaNazarei - of Nazareth
Vemelekh - The King
HaYhudim - of the Jews

YHVH (Covenant God displaying His Wisdom - Love and Deliverance) "...but we preach Christ... the wisdom of God..." 1Cor 1:23-24
It was God in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to peace with Himself, not counting up and holding their trespasses against them [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation 2 Corinthians 5:19
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. For, you didn’t receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” Romans 8:14-15


THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD- A Place of Restful Receiving
Throughout The Bible, the right hand of God is a place that displays His power, blessings and love to His people.
Scripture tells us that Jesus "sits" at the right hand of the Father. To sit is a posture of REST. So Jesus rests in his Father's power, blessings and love. Ephesians 1:20, Hebrews 1:13
Speaking of Jesus' love, "As he (Jesus) IS (in Heaven),  so are we IN THIS WORLD."  The Bible also teaches that although we are in the world, we are OF His Heavenly Kingdom. 1 John 4:17, John 17:16, 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, Colossians 1:13
"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:6 All we have to do is STAY in that restful position. That doesn't mean we become lazy and mindless, rather in our "work" we enjoy (rest) knowing what the outcome will be...which is just another way of defining "faith."

I was just thinking today and it gave me a pretty cool perspective on life:
I thought about a Scripture that says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses from Heaven. Hebrews 12:1
Then I imagined I was on a race track (like track and field) with the stands filled with onlookers from Heaven and I wondered what they think about me and the race I'm running (called life)?
Then I thought about the 17yr old shepherd boy named David that had to face the 9ft giant (Goliath). He eventually became King David!
Want to know how big you are in God's eyes and what all of Heaven thinks about you? ...Just look at the size of the "giants" (opposition) God has put in front of you that you too have and will continue to overcome in order to reach what God has planned for you! The giants aren’t there to stop you; they are there for you to discover the power and strength and faithfulness of God in your life!
The race has been mapped out, giants and all. Now run it, always knowing and reminding yourself all the while that you are MORE than a conqueror!! 
"Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us."  Romans 8:37
"And [then] when the Chief Shepherd (Jesus) is revealed, you will win the conqueror's crown of glory." 1 Peter 5:4


This blew my mind:
"Evil is operating in unintended purpose."  - Dr. Ravi Zacharias

Matthew 25:14–30, ROMANS 11:29, LUKE 16:10
"The gifts of God are irrevocable." ROMANS 11:29
We don't need to know EXACTLY EVERYTHING God is doing before we begin walking in the direction that He has cleared a way for... Move forward,  trusting that God will continue to make a way for your dreams to flourish- for God is for us, not against us. Jesus is not only rooting for us, but he makes our paths straight and lights it up! 
ROMANS 8:31, PROVERBS 3:5-6, PSALM 119:105


I think we were all taught that Jesus died for our salvation and that this means we can now go to heaven when we die. However, in the past few years I have been learning that there is SO much more to that truth and what the word salvation actually means...It means wholeness (which includes every area of one's life!)
Several months back I woke up at around 2:30am with this Scripture on my mind: Jesus became sin and He took it [sin] away, nailing it to the cross (2Cor 5:21) ...and Jesus carried our pains (Isaiah 53:4)
I woke up with such a clear understanding that Jesus not only took my sins away and forgave me, but He also took the sins of those who sinned against me, along with all the pain it caused me...And in doing so, He has made me whole.  All the guilt, shame, insecurities and everything else that taught me to be less than what He created me to be was taken away! I am whole!  When I look in the mirror I am no longer covered in battle scars! Therefore, I have neither right nor any more reason to hang on to anger, fear or anything else that steals peace. I am truly free to forgive because He has made me WHOLE! I am free to move forward to the higher life I was created to live.
Whoever finds and whoever loses his life on my account will find it. Matthew 10:39, Mark 8:35

Learning to CONSTANTLY live in this space of wholeness by the power of His love and grace is the journey!


This goes against every human thought process and against everything we've ever been taught: "... it is the PATIENCE and KINDNESS of God that is intended to lead one to repentance (change of mind)."
Romans 2:4
When I first read how Jesus taught his followers to forgive others 70 X 7 times, (Matthew 18:21-35, Luke 17:3-4) I thought, "Now this is a hard teaching!" and I wondered why. The Apostle Paul later taught that "love always trusts." I used to think that meant we are to always trust other people even in the midst of their deceitfulness, and I just couldn't wrap my heart around that teaching. But that is not what is being taught here... I now understand that it is God we are to always trust in the midst of every situation, ESPECIALLY when He has given us the insight and discernment to see through another person's deceit.
When we continue to forgive others AND trust God, He is able to work in those situations...we must leave room for God to show Himself, for it is He that gives wisdom, eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart that understands. Proverbs 20:2, Proverbs 2:6, Jeremiah 24:7
No matter how hard we try, we cannot make someone "get it" but we can keep pointing them to the One that can!  Continuing to show others patience and kindness can make us weary, it cannot be done on our own. This requires tapping into the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control.

Stand firm, and you will win life.  LUKE 21:19

The weather has been getting a bit warmer, so I decided to go walking around a nice little pond a couple of weeks ago. As I was listening to The Bible on my headphones, I had to stop and take pictures of these two trees. They were just around the corner from each other, and I thought how interesting that one is in full bloom and the other is still dormant. This immediately moved me into thinking about us as individuals- as children born of God's seed (1 John, 1 Peter) - with specific purpose.
Did you know that a tree is actually programmed by it's genes to lie dormant for a specific amount of time after the temperature has dropped below freezing for the first time?... and that each individual type of tree won't bloom until the right climate outside has been reached for a specified number of days, according to it's programming? Is it possible that we too are individually programmed by our "spiritual genes" to come into full bloom- fulfilling our purpose from God- when the atmosphere around us has reached the right climate for the specific amount of time, designated by God since the beginning of time?
As born again children of God, we each house the Spirit of God. Do you know your purpose? Whether the answer is "yes" or "no," stay close to your Heavenly Father. Rest in His love and righteousness. Pursue wholeness. Ask for a listening ear and an understanding heart. In dormancy, a tree is actually being built up, literally from inside of itself, in order to withstand the climate it is in until it's designated time to bloom has arrived.
"Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." JAMES 1:2‭-‬4
God does have a designated time for each of us to bloom, for it is written:
" much more will THOSE WHO RECEIVE GOD’S ABUNDANT PROVISION of grace and of the gift of righteousness REIGN IN LIFE through the one man, Jesus Christ!" ROMANS 5:17

...So don't look at people "more spiritual" or "more successful" than you and wonder if something is wrong with you. Keep pursuing Jesus with all of your heart, soul (mind) and strength and your purpose will be revealed at the right place and in the right time.

I saw a really neat article my niece posted on Facebook. It's about a tree that had many branches grafted into it and it bore 40 types of fruit! That is a unique and very beautiful tree. It reminds me of this:
Jesus is the Tree of Life (Bearing the fruit of Eternal Life). He tells us that He is the True Vine and if we believe in Him we too are like branches that have been GRAFTED in, which means we are connected to LIFE and LOVE Himself! He says He binds our wounds and heals our hearts. Because we are grafted into Him we are now able to bear 9 "types" of fruit:
-Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control 
John 15:1-5, Galatians 5:22-23

THE ULTIMATE “RELATIONSHIP” WITH FOOD: Is How We Eat Just As Important As What We Eat?
I enjoy exploring/learning how to feed my body in order to give/maintain its health.  If I care for my body it is better able to serve me.
But I have a question: Is there any connection between spiritual health and physical health?
I read an article this morning that interviewed a man named Marc David. Marc conducted a study at Sonoma State University on Eating Psychology which helped him earn his Master's degree. Over the course of the next 15 years of research, Marc slowly gathered more information/understanding on why some people do not seem to gain the most health and nutritional value from their food. This is what I found to be interesting, Marc discovered that people with these eating/health issues were eating too quickly which causes stress to the body, preventing it from fully engaging their entire digestive system- cutting themselves off from their body's "innate intelligence." They were only engaging the physical part of digestion by the action of eating but missing out on "parasympathetic nervous system dominance." This involves a sort of "relationship" with the food we are eating- we anticipate how great the experience is going to be (meaning we slow down, think about what we are eating, why we are eating it, how good it's going to taste and ultimately what will be the benefits of eating it.) When we eat too quickly the brain doesn't have enough time to sense the pleasure from the food, and so it keeps signaling that hunger has not been satisfied and our health suffers from it.
I'm amazed that what we learn for our physical lives through study of science/technology always seems to point to a spiritual truth we know as faith and wisdom...
Jesus taught us how to have "communion" (the exchange of intimate thoughts and feelings) with Him by saying, "This is my flesh...This is my blood. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink from Heaven. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will remain in me and I in them...They will have everlastingly life." John 6:47-59
Paul later addresses believers who don't seem to be benefiting from their "communion" (relationship with their Heavenly food), teaching them that they are partaking of the "bread from heaven" too quickly, without acknowledging/discerning the Source nor the purpose of Communion, Who is Jesus Himself and His sacrifice. 1 Corinthians 11:20-33
I found this to be very interesting...It is written:  Dear friends, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is well and prospers.  3 John 1:2
John implies in a BIG way that as our soul is well and prospering, so should our physical health/wellbeing.
Communion is not just about physically partaking of the bread and wine but about slowing down to engage/connect with the Source of Life in the Heavenly food and drink, who is Jesus Christ Himself!  Then, our entire "spiritual digestive system" will be fully engaged and we can begin to experience true benefits from the Heavenly food- both spiritually and physically!

BREAD OR STONES- What Would You Rather Be Eating?
Jesus said, “I am the bread of LIFE." John 6:48-51
The Law was written on "tablets of stone." Deuteronomy 9:10
Jesus taught: If a child asked for bread, what father would give him a stone? Luke 11:11
When we continue seeking to have the LIFE of Jesus within us, God does not hand us a commandment to live by, but His Spirit to walk with.  Luke 11:9-13, John 6:63, 1John 4:13

Live Wisely not Religiously
The religious teach a life of "NO" but the wise fill the void and live a life of "INSTEAD!” Matthew 12:43-45

Sometimes, Wisdom avoids the need for a miracle
Although I do believe in miracles, I don't think God intends for us to live our lives from miracle to miracle. Sometimes the prayer for a "miracle" is answered when we choose to ask for wisdom instead.  James 1:5

Someone recently asked me what I know about “emotions” mentioned in the Bible. I thought about it and this is my A-HA moment:
Peace is the “emotion” of Faith. Joy is the “emotion” of Hope. Love is the “emotion” of Selflessness...

So faith, hope and love remain but the greatest is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
The Kingdom of God is a matter of  righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit. Romans 14:17
If I don't have love I am nothing.  1Cor13:2

Consider this: Walking in the Spirit simply means staying put where God Himself has placed us (in/with Christ in the Heavenly realm.) Galatians 5:16, John 15:4, Ephesians 2:6. In that place, the place in the Spirit, the only will that exists is God's. It is only when we choose to step out of that place (His Kingdom) that we lose our Heavenly perspective and start to mistakenly believe that a war of wills actually exists. “Consider yourself dead to sin, but alive to Christ.” Romans 6:5-12 “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

When asked to look at our human short comings, it is human nature to fight for self preservation (deny, defend, justify).

​But the Way of grace (understanding He is not calling us out to condemn us for our weaknesses but pointing us to our greatness within) is to BE STILL, know that He is God within you and let His love flow out. When we quiet our own mind and let Him think and speak for us, His love always leads us to an ocean of Peace.
As one who tests soil for Farmers, I can say this with confidence...No matter how much you water, it is the condition of the soil that (heart) determines the growth of the plant (fruit of the Spirit)...

This has always intrigued me in the Gospel of John, but now I have filled in the blanks... At the very beginning of the gospel writing and the beginning of Jesus' ministry, the first recorded question Jesus asks two men that started following Him (who had just learned that Jesus is "the Son of God"), "WHAT are you looking for?" (Is it enlightenment, purpose, freedom, better relationships, success at your job, better health, financial stability, a miracle?) But at the very end of the gospel writing (after Jesus had been crucified and Resurrected) the first questions He asks of a devoted follower/FRIEND (who was looking for His body at His grave), "Why are you crying? WHOM are you looking for?" ( Is it the Christ- the One Who makes you righteous and holy, the One Who makes you whole, the One Who loves you unconditionally, the One Who wants to walk and talk with you every day, the One Who desires to be one/connected with you, the One Who wants to give you Everlasting Life?)
Matthew 6:31-34 “Don’t worry about all the needs of this world. Your Heavenly Father knows you need them. Seek HIS KINGDOM (His presence of Peace and Joy) and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS (right standing) and ALL of those things will be added to you as well (in addition to)!”

Several months ago I was headed home after work, but I had to stop to put gas in my car. As I pulled up to the pump, I noticed a man sitting up against the building. He held a sign that read, “Traveling. Hungry. Any help appreciated.” After I finished putting gas in my car I drove up and parked in front of the building where the man was. I walked over to the man, held out my hand and said, “Hi” and told him my name. Then I asked, “What’s your name?” He shook my hand and told me his name was Warren. He looked like he was in good physical shape; tall, tan, nice teeth and his hair was salt and peppered. He was actually on the handsome side. I asked him where he was traveling from, how long he’d been on the road and where he was headed. He said he came from Florida, he has been on the road for several weeks and he was headed to Colorado. I asked him what happened that he was traveling alone, without anything but a backpack. He said he lost his job, writing a sports column for a paper back in Florida. He didn’t really say why he chose Colorado, but he was headed there in hopes of getting a job out there. He loved to write and he has a dream to write a book one day. I gave him some money for food and we continued to chat a little more. He was saddened that he left his girlfriend behind. They had actually been engaged but she thought it was best if he found himself a steady job and a place to call home before they could start a meaningful life together. He said he agreed with her and it hurt him that it had to be that way. I asked him a little about his travels so far. I could tell he was not one to play the victim but he did tell me that it had been tough and he tried to sleep in a field on the side of the highway just 175 miles south of town the night before. I saw a guy down on his luck. He was tired, hungry, dusty and in need of some encouragement. I told him that what he was going through did not define who he is. I told him that he was not alone in his travels; that God has been and will continue to be with him every step of the way. I encouraged him to believe that God still has a plan for his life and that he should pursue his dream. Then, I asked him if he would like me to pray with him. To my pleasant surprise, he enthusiastically said, “Yes, please. Thank you!”  I began to pray, thankful that God hears us, loves us and wants good things for us. I asked God to guide Warren in his travels, to protect him and surround him with His angels, for God to continue to provide for Warren and to put more of His people in Warren’s path for the remainder of his travels. I asked God to reveal His plan for/to Warren, to provide open doors of opportunity and to give Warren clarity and courage to pursue his dream and his purpose. Warren was so thankful for the money, for the prayer and for the time I spent getting to know him. As I was walking away, I really felt like I should give him some money so he could stay at the motel behind the gas station. It probably wasn’t the greatest of places, but it would provide him with a bed, a place to shower, a place to wash the few clothes he had, an opportunity to watch TV and get his mind off of his troubles for an evening, and a free breakfast in the morning. Most of all, it would show him that he was still worthy of kindness and respect. He was shocked at the offer, but did not hesitate to accept it. He again was very thankful. I told him it was nice getting to know him. I waved goodbye and went on my way. As I drove away in my car, I remember feeling very privileged to have these sorts of encounters with people…It feels right, it feels good, it feels deliberate- like God sets up these encounters because He wants to reach out and express His love to people, and I get to be the one to do it with Him.  I don’t know if Warren ever made it to Colorado, but wherever he is, I hope he has started on that book he always wanted to write…I’ll be looking for it…
Last night I was praying and talking to God, just thanking Him for how wonderful He is and how loved I felt by Him at that very moment. All of the sudden I had a new thought that gave me a new reason to be in awe of how great He is and how much he loves me- us- His children.

"If we stepped out of peace and joy, we had to step out of The Kingdom to do it."  -Dr Barry Lendhart

Kingdom of God (Realm of God's influence/authority, Knowing God's will, Having the mind of Christ, Walking according to the Spirit of God)
What issue, subject, situation or thought comes up and throws us into anger, fear, frustration, irritation, slander, dissention, hatred, etc...?
"If what you are thinking moves you out of peace and joy, have another thought." - Graham Cooke

Dare to step back, ask God to reveal His perspective on the matter...and have another thought... No matter what fearful or angry thought steals our peace, we can surely and easily step back into peace and joy. The mind of Christ sees beyond what our physical eyes see and understands beyond what our mortal minds can comprehend.
"For who has known the mind and purposes of the Lord, so as to instruct Him? But WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST [to be guided by His thoughts and purposes]." 1 CORINTHIANS 2:16
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For THE MIND OF THE FLESH IS DEATH, but THE MIND OF THE SPIRIT IS LIFE and PEACE..." ROMANS 8:5‭-‬6

Jesus died and rose again for us to live with Him in the Kingdom of God where only peace and joy exist. It is the enemy that comes to steal, kill and destroy. 



​1 CHRONICLES 16:24