God's Roadmap

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground (Psalm 143:10 NASB).


Saturday, December 7, 2019

Jesus' Birth Certificate


by Barbara Latta
Babies are born every day all over the world. In America, we record the details of the birth on a legal document to certify the parents and vital information about the child. This is then recorded at the proper entity for the state where the birth occurred, and the child is legally a part of the family.
Family ancestry searches have become a popular pastime and profitable business. Information revealed about past relatives can be fun and informative, and in some cases may be a way to make claims to property or find unknown relatives.

In biblical times, genealogies were an important part of Jewish custom. The kingly lines were kept intact in precise detail by scribes to preserve the heritage. Jesus’ earthly ancestry is recorded both in Matthew and Luke with some differences. Scholars have debated over the reasons for the discrepancies, but the most popular theory is that Matthew traces Jesus’ line back to Abraham thus showing Jesus as the promised Messiah. Luke’s line traces through Mary’s ancestry back to Adam’s son Seth to reveal Him as the Son of Man and the second Adam. (Matthew 1: 1-17 and Luke 3:23-38).

By having these details recorded in scripture, no one could debate the line Jesus came from. He was the Seed promised in the Garden of Eden to crush Satan’s head. He was from the royal line of David to rule as King. Even though Jesus did not inherit Mary’s fallen bloodline, He had to be born as a human to complete the work of defeating Satan the way Adam was supposed to.

Jesus had three women with soiled reputations in His genealogy—Tamar, Ruth and Bathsheba. Ruth was not a Hebrew, she was from an idol worshipping country. This shows that Jesus came for the entire world and not just the Jews. His love is open to all who will receive Him, and when He is received lives are changed and soiled reputations transform into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

An heir to a royal throne will have a different demeanor than ordinary citizens. When we realize we are a part of the royal family of God, we will walk in our royal right and know what belongs to us; not in arrogance, but in the humility of Christ as servants of His on this earth. We are here to minister to others the love and grace of God, but also to walk in our authority to crush the work of the devil as he tries to spread lies and deception. (Ephesians 6:10-18).


But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1: 12).

We become a part of the family of God through the blood of Christ. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named (Ephesians 3:14-15).

When we believe on His name and accept His sacrifice we are welcomed into the family of God. We are written in the Book of Life and our born-again birth certificate is final. No one can erase or take our names out of His book. We are certified in heaven because we are now children of God. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels (Revelation 3:5).

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:4-5).

Beloved, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1).

Jesus was born so that we could also be born—into the family of God.

During this Christmas season, may we take time to reflect on our spiritual heritage and the gift that our Father has given to us through Jesus' birth certificate. 

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.



Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Importance of Providential History


by Barbara Latta

Freddie Bentley, a 22-year-old British reality star said that young children shouldn’t be taught about World War II in order to preserve their mental health. This seems to be the growing trend among young people. Because they have grown up in schools where history is either not taught at all or is revised to preserve political correctness, they have no idea about the cost another generation paid so they can have their right to express themselves and the economic freedom that gives them all their “stuff.” This young man should go back and see the devastation to his own country after Germany bombed London. Had Winston Churchill not had the fortitude to say, “Never, never, never give up,” all of Europe would be speaking German and living under Nazism to this day.

The Importance of Providential History

My husband and I recently saw the movie, Midway. This re-enactment of the World War II battle of Midway depicts the ingenuity, grit and determination of a group of men who were facing a military giant that had attacked us without provocation a few months before. The Japanese Navy was superior in equipment and fighting forces. The United States had the disadvantage of destroyed ships in the water at Pearl Harbor and the loss of manpower. We were in the throes of recovering from the devastation of attack and had to scramble a Navy back together to defend our shores, try to determine where the enemy would attack next and be on the offensive to seek out and destroy.

But we did have one thing on our side—our freedom was at stake. And the fighting forces of World War II and all those in wars before that time had that truth so emblazoned upon their hearts they were not willing to give it up. The hardships of war, the suffering through POW camps, the injuries, PTSD and separations from home did not sway their resolve. And people back home were praying.


The generations before us were taught from an early age the history and godly founding of our country. Schools allowed prayer and Bible reading, discipline was enforced, and patriotism abounded. We knew the price that was paid by the founding fathers and we celebrated Thanksgiving knowing why the Puritans traveled to the New World.

There is a danger in forgetting our history or rewriting it to avoid offending certain groups of people.
We can learn a lesson from the Israelites.

In Judges 8:34 it says, Thus the sons of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. Several generations after the deliverance from Egypt the Hebrews did not know God. Over time the parents stopped teaching their children the ways of God and evil prevailed. They started worshipping idols and even sacrificing their children to false gods. Eventually the Bible says, In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6 NASB).

There were no standards. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. But what was right in their own eyes was wrong.

War is harsh, bloody, devastating and costly—and yes, it’s offensive. It’s offensive that so many must suffer hardship, wounds, and prisons so the rest of us can be free. It’s offensive that other nations want to attack and take away what free countries have. But the history shouldn’t be erased because of that. It should be remembered and learned from. What others have done for us should be honored.

We are attacked because God founded our country. That’s why the devil uses other nations who do not know God to come against us. If he stops the United States, very few other countries in the world will stand up and fight against communism and terrorism.

Our providential history is important. We were founded by God so we could worship Him. Those Puritans that sailed to the New World over a three-month journey on rough seas, little food, cold and sickness did so because their desire to worship God without restraint prevailed over their comforts.
If we don’t teach our children where we came from, we will be headed down the same road the Israelites traveled.

May Thanksgiving celebrations remind us to have grateful hearts for what we have. It was paid for at a dear price. 

And may you and your family enjoy this season of Thanksgiving!

Please feel free to share your thoughts of gratitude for our blessings.




Saturday, November 23, 2019

Taste and See that the Lord is Good - Recipes for celebration


by Barbara Latta

Our eyes are on the holiday season and meal planning and hostess duties are in full swing. Thanksgiving is upon us with Christmas following close behind.

Recipe boxes and cookbooks are being opened as we peruse the ingredients and directions for dishes we may only prepare during this special time.

God has blessed America with prosperity and freedom. As we enjoy this day, may we remember what Psalm 34:8 tells us, Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him. He does abundantly supply our every need when we depend upon His provision.

He also gave us taste buds for tasting and the ability to make food eye appealing because he wanted us to enjoy the bounty He supplies.

I would like to share some of my favorite recipes with you and hope it will add to your collection, not only at holiday time, but all throughout the year.

Potato Casserole
6-8 medium to large potatoes – skins on or one package of shredded hash brown potatoes
1 onion – chopped
1 16 oz. container of sour cream*
1 can cream of mushroom, celery or chicken soup
1 stick butter or margarine, softened
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
If using fresh potatoes, boil until done, then cool, peel and grate. Place grated potatoes or frozen hash browns in a greased casserole dish. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the potatoes. Bake at 350° 45 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
*I usually only use about ¾ of the container of sour cream, but if you want more creaminess, you can use it all.

Marshmallow Cream Fudge
jar marshmallow cream (7 ½ - 13 oz jar)
1 ½ cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
¼ cup butter or margarine
¼ tsp. salt
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan combine marshmallow cream, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil*, stirring constantly over medium heat. Boil 5 minutes continuing to stir. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stirring until melted. Add nuts and vanilla. Pour into a foil-lined 8” square pan and refrigerate until firm.
*Time this for exactly 5 minutes. Too short and it won’t get firm, and too long will make it too sugary. Don’t start timing until it starts to boil.

Orange Jello Salad
1 8 oz. container of frozen whipped topping
1 8 oz. container cottage cheese
1 small package orange gelatin
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
Stir the frozen topping, cottage cheese and gelatin until well mixed. Add the oranges and fold in carefully to prevent breaking them up. Pour into a bowl, garnish the top with more oranges and refrigerate.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and that your Thanksgiving celebration will be one of joy and gratitude as you celebrate with family or friends.

Please feel free to share some of your favorite recipes in the comments section.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 18, 2019

The Value of Time and How to Redeem It


by Barbara Latta

The recent change from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time required changing clocks and watches and adapting our days to earlier darkness in the evening.

We feel that we lose an hour each spring and gain it back in the fall. But we aren’t really losing and gaining, just rearranging. The only way we can lose time is by squandering it.

Time is a commodity we aren’t conscious of. Minutes tick by while we go about our business every day. As each second slips past, the hands on the clock have moved through a day we will never re-live.

Time can’t be placed in a piggy bank and saved like money. Hours can’t be earned like our salary. Minutes are not retrievable like lost coins. Time passes and disappears.

God tells us to redeem time, so how do we do that?

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16 NKJV).

A travel experience I had taught me a lesson about redeeming time. As I prepared for a flight, I waded through security, lugged bags up escalators, waited in the terminal through flight delays and listened to the non-stop chatter of the canned announcements telling me not to accept bags from anyone else. When I plopped down in my assigned seat, I was ready to sit on the plane and relax with my good Christian book while my selfishness was hoping no one would bother me.

How like God to show me how I was closing myself off to other people by seating me next to a woman who wanted to talk nonstop. I didn’t want to listen to this stranger. I wanted to read my Christian material. Finally, the Lord got the message through to me and I closed the book and turned my attention to my seat mate. She saw what I was reading and we struck up a conversation about spiritual matters. I gave her my book as we left the plane.

My time that day was not my own. God assigned my seat next to this woman so I could learn to listen and so she could hear His message through the material I was reading.
Each moment and each day is a gift. What we do with it determines our future and can ultimately affect the future of someone else.

When scripture tells us to redeem the time, I don’t think God is expecting us to constantly be preaching a sermon to someone. Yes, there are times we need to speak God’s Word to individuals, but the way we live our lives speaks volumes also. He wants us to use every opportunity to reflect His glory to a world full of pain, chaos, evil and selfishness.

When the Holy Spirit’s character comes out of us in our response to situations we are redeeming that time in a way that shows Christ to a hurting world.

Some of the ways we can do this is through godly character traits such as:

  • Honesty – Telling the truth has become an anomaly; no one expects it anymore and when we do speak honestly, we stand out like a beacon; returning change to a cashier who counted the money incorrectly is a welcome surprise to that employee.
  • Diligence – When we go the extra mile at our jobs and do something not expected of us or when we exert 100% of our efforts instead of simply getting by until we get paid, our actions speak louder than words to our employer.
  • Purity – Taking a stand against immorality in a world polluted by vulgar language, pornography, abortion and human trafficking are actions that defend the abuse of others.
  • Integrity – Doing the right thing even when it may cost us something exhibits the selflessness of Christ’s love.
  • Defend God’s name – In a world full of blasphemy and promotion of political correctness, standing for God is not popular.

The worldly society is not accustomed to people responding to situations in ways that put other people first.

The earth has turned, the sun has set and risen again for another day. Rather than saying, “What did I do with yesterday?”, we can look at the sunrise and declare, “What will I do with today?” Yesterday is gone and we don’t need to beat ourselves up if we didn’t use the day wisely.

Many opportunities for redeeming the time have slipped through my days. But thankfully, I am learning to listen, and I finally yielded to God’s whisper while on that plane and put my agenda on hold while I let my time become someone else’s.

Songwriter, Jim Croce, wrote about the fragileness of time in his hit single, “Time in a Bottle.” In his song, Croce wrote about wanting to spend forever with the one he was writing about, his wife, by putting time in a bottle. Thankfully, when we know Christ we will live in infinity with our loved ones; not by putting time in a bottle, but by knowing the author of eternity. But until then we do need to redeem our time, because the days are evil.

When we leave this temporary home, we are released from the bondage of time; but until then we have a calling to fulfill while we are still breathing in our bodies.

We are God’s mouthpiece and He uses us. If we treasure each moment as a gift of life, we are redeeming the time our Father has given us. When we glorify the Lord, we are shining a light during the days that are evil.

Do you have ideas to redeem time? Feel free to share your thoughts.

TWEETABLES




Saturday, November 9, 2019

Thanking Veterans for their Service

by Barbara Latta


The military of the United States is a superior fighting force. It has grown into five groups with specialties to defend our land, sea and air. This week as we observe Veteran’s Day we commemorate and appreciate all those who have served through the centuries to defend and protect America.

Army - The United States Army is the oldest branch of our military. It was formed in1775 by the Continental Congress to protect the colonies. Since then it has evolved into a worldwide fighting force with different branches such as Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery.

Navy - George Washington started acquiring ships during the Revolutionary War. He went so far as
to purchase the first ship on his own, the Hannah, which was commissioned September 5, 1775. When the war was over the Navy and the Army were disbanded because citizens were tired of war and fighting and the country was broke. But because the United States needed to collect tariffs on imported goods and also needed to prevent smuggling, Congress establish the Revenue-Marine, which was the forerunner of the United States Coast Guard. Without the British Navy protecting the colonies, the ships became fast bait for the North African Barbary pirates. The Navy was reinstated to protect our seas and stop paying ransoms to Muslim pirates that were invading the Atlantic.

Air Force - On August 1, 1907 the U.S. Army Signal Corp established a small aeronautical division to take charge of all matters of the air such as balloons and air machines. The first plane was tested on August 20, 1908. On September 9, the first air casualty occurred. The 1st Reconnaissance Squadron was the first unit of the Army devoted solely to aviation and has remained active to this day. On March 1, 1935 the General Quarters Air Force took command of all air units and evolved into our modern day United States Air Force.

Marines - Two months after the establishment of the U. S. Navy, President John Adams signed a bill establishing the U.S. Marines as the landing

forces of the Navy. Marines have established over 300 landings on foreign soil. One theory of the origin for the nickname “leathernecks” was to protect the Marines while fighting with the Barbary pirates. They wore this protective gear against the assault of the Muslims who beheaded their victims.

Coast Guard - As stated in the description of the U.S. Navy, the Coast Guard was formed as the Revenue Marine to enforce the payment of tariffs on imported goods and to guard against smuggling. In 1915 Congress merged the
Revenue Cutter Service with the Life-Saving Service as a military agency dedicated to saving life at sea.


Thank you all veterans for your service to our country.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts about Veteran's Day.

Thanking Veterans for their service (click to tweet)

Saturday, November 2, 2019

If I am a New Creation...How can I sometimes act like I am friends with a Zombie?


by Barbara Latta 


 “Blood thirsty rogues and unrepentant cutthroats,” said Ezekiel as a crowd gathered around him. His
comment was meant to describe those who were hunting him and his followers.

This Ezekiel is not the biblical prophet, but a character from the TV series, The Walking Dead. I admit I have never watched an entire episode, but I have seen enough to know the humans are fleeing from zombies.

A dead body powered by an evil spirit in a post-apocalyptic world is out to suck the life out of those who are still alive. If a zombie bites or scratches a human, that human is doomed to become one of the walking dead. Wouldn’t you flee, too? A decaying, bloody skin-covered skeleton with all the characteristics of death wants your life.  Yeah, run!

The Bible says if we are born again, we are new creations. Then how can I sometimes act like I am friends with a zombie?

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Why Do We Pursue Fear for Fun?


by Barbara Latta

Halloween. What more do we need to say to think of fear?


In some ways we want to avoid fear and in others we pursue fear for fun.

Why?

According to an article in healthline.com, when we are in a situation like a scary movie or haunted house, our minds know we are in a safe environment. The threat is not real so our bodies release chemicals and hormones that produce a high much like when we are happy or excited.

When I was a pre-teen, I went to see Frankenstein Created Woman. I had been forbidden to go, but, of course, being an almost teen-ager I went anyway. I don’t think I made it all the way through the movie before leaving the theater and I spent the night with my head under the covers and my eyes wide open.

Crowds flock to haunted houses and horror movies and some of them, like me, double lock the doors when they get home and jump at every creak of the house. Others go back for more. The reason could be that different personalities produce different amounts of dopamine which jump start the mind thrill. Obviously, I wasn’t one of those.

But in real situations of danger, the brain must determine if we are in a safe place or not. Without having time to comprehend that this is not a thrill moment, we run and scream. If we are being chased by a wild animal or being mugged in the park, the scary high wouldn’t be fun. It’s the warning needed for protection.

Where did fear come from?

There was no fear until sin came upon the scene.

The first fear was when Adam and Eve sinned and hid from God. Adam said, “I was afraid…and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10). He had never experienced fear before, but his conscience knew he had transgressed God’s commandment. He was afraid of judgement. And they should have been afraid. God told them what would happen if they disobeyed. The penalty was death. If you have never seen death, you aren’t going to know what it is, but based on the fear they felt, they knew it wasn’t going to be good.

But God’s mercy killed an animal in their place. And several millennial later, God’s mercy killed His Son in our place. Physical death still happens, but spiritual death has been done away with.

That fear factor has been passed down to all humans since Adam. And the enemy of our souls, Satan, uses that factor to incite fear and use it against us to make us afraid of God.

After all, aren’t there oodles of verses in the Bible telling us to fear God?

Yes, there are. And I discovered that the verses telling us to fear God and those where he tells us not to fear are using the same Hebrew word, yawray. That sounds confusing until the actual meaning of the word is discovered. It means to revere.

Fear God – hold in reverence
Fear not – do not hold in reverence

God is telling us to hold him in reverence and awe and using the same word in a negative context He tells us not to hold whatever we are afraid of in reverence and awe. Don’t give the fear any esteem.

There will be a final judgement and those not ready to stand before God should fear and tremble. But until that day, He is extending mercy and grace for those who don’t know him to have time to repent so they will not be included in that sentence.

That day will not be the thrill-seeking high of fear. It will be real to those who have refused the payment Jesus made. It will be a fear like nothing on earth has ever rendered.

While on earth, there is still time to repent. If you haven’t done so, He is holding out His hand to you now. The tab on this blog page titled “Knowing God” can help you make that decision.

And may you live a fear-free life!

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.