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).

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Best Father in the World

by Barbara Latta

I grew up in the sitcom era of family programs where the mom stayed at home and the dad went to work every day. Mothers like June Cleaver (from Leave it to Beaver in case you are too young to know!) vacuumed in her pumps and pearls and the table was set with the best china while the family discussed the events of the day that needed solving. Whatever trouble the kids had gotten into were dissolved amid the talk that took place later in the den with Dad.

The Andy Griffith Show, Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best and The Brady Bunch gave us Dads who were the strong disciplinarians when needed, but had the gentle touch of an understanding counselor when emotions got a little too out of hand.

The Simpsons, Roseanne, and Married with Children, to name a few, portray the male figure as a weak, indecisive comical figure with bad habits. The unfortunate fact is too many families are like these TV characters. The attitudes of society have been formed by Hollywood and life has taken the example into real living.

While the 50’s and 60’s generation of TV dads was still unrealistic as far as achieving the iconic pedestal they were placed upon, the values represented said a lot about society. More families of that era stayed together, kids didn’t shoot each other at school, students respected teachers and churches were the foundation of the town.

I’m not saying every dad from an earlier time was perfect or that all dads of today are modeled after Homer Simpson. But the downhill spiral of morals in entertainment has affected family life. There are more domestic violence and child abuse cases today than ever before.

The reputation of God as our Father has suffered from these inclinations, as well. If God is ever mentioned in a TV show or movie, He is mimicked or cursed. Because of this mindset, those who did not have a good relationship with their earthly dad cannot comprehend how God can be a loving Father. The human traits of an abusive parent are translated to God and a relationship with Him is not sought.

God sent Jesus to exhibit to us what being a Father was like. Jesus told His followers, Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9) No one could be more loving or accepting than the One who created us all.

If you don’t know the best Father in the world, now is the time to get introduced and start a relationship that will last for an eternity.

Have a happy Father’s Day celebrating the daddy that can fill your heart with everything good; nothing missing, nothing broken, nothing incomplete.

He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).

Join the conversation and share your Father's Day thoughts. 

God sent Jesus to show the world what a Father was like (click to tweet)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

3 Keys to Controlling the Tongue

by Barbara Latta

Eyes may be the windows of the soul, but the mouth is the door that releases the soul’s contents.
3 Keys to Controlling the Tongue

Paul’s instruction to us under the influence of the Holy Spirit is, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6 NKJV).

Most of us grew up hearing taunts spit at us by other children on the playground. The usual response would be “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” While that sounds like a clever retort, nothing could be further from the truth. A wound made by a stick or stone can heal and later is forgotten, but words can stab at our hearts leaving a painful opening in our soul.

Wounded people wound others, and this can cause us to form barriers against relationships and violent responses can be the result. We can apologize for thoughtless comments, but the hurtful words remain behind and can’t be taken back.

Here are 3 keys we can use to control our words:

  1. Control Thinking—Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.” Our speech will reflect what has been going on in our minds.
  2. Be Prepared—2 Timothy 4:2 tells us to preach the word and be ready in season and out of season. If God is our focus, His words are what we will speak.
  3. Practice Discipline—James 4:6 says our tongue can defile our body. Controlling our speech requires discipline, but if restraint is our goal we have completed the first step. It will take practice, but if we will start small by thinking before we open our mouths, we are on the road to successfully keeping our tongue under wraps.

Wars have been started because of words. Peace has been accomplished through the spoken or written word. History has been altered because of rash, impulsive comments and treaties signed when control was exerted.

Roy Williams, University of North Carolina basketball coach, said, “Words start wars and end them, create love and choke it, bring us to laughter and joy and tears. Words cause men and women to willingly risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Our world, as we know it, revolves on the power of words.”

Not only do we need to watch our words to others, we need to speak positively over ourselves. When we put ourselves down we poison our soul and start to doubt God’s power in our lives.

Focusing more on what God says will redirect thinking which will also redirect what comes out of the mouth.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

5 Ways to Stay Joyful in the Journey of Life

by Barbara Latta

Life happens. We all endure hardships in our lives and trying times can be overwhelming. God tells us to remain joyful at all times (Philippians 4:4). But how do we do that when circumstances weigh heavily upon our shoulders and each step we take may seem like we are going uphill against a pile of rocks?
5 Ways to Stay Joyful in the Journey of Life

The answer to every problem we face is grounded in the word of God and this is no different. Here are 5 ways you can stay joyful in the journey of life no matter what obstacle comes your way:

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day Tribute to Little Known Heroes

by Barbara Latta

Memorial Day Tribute to Little Known Heroes
Memorial Day is a time set aside to remember the sacrifice of those who have given their lives for our country. Almost 1.4 million military personnel have been killed in battle since the Revolutionary War. Heroes are recognized and decorated as they should be, but most of those who died remain nameless and faceless except to their family and friends.

While we can never list all the heroic actions and names of those who fought and died, here are some little known stories of those who saved the lives of their fellow soldiers while preserving the freedoms we enjoy every day.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Wisdom from Biblical Mothers

by Barbara Latta

Wisdom from biblical mothers
Mother’s Day is a time to honor and remember our mothers for their love and sacrifice throughout the years. As mothers ourselves, our children will be bringing gifts to honor us. When our offspring show us love their words are appreciated more than we can express.

But sometimes thoughts of all the mistakes we have made while raising our children attack us. None of us are perfect, but when we are focused on training our children in the fear of the Lord, God blesses our efforts. 
We can learn lessons from biblical mothers. Some listened to God and others didn’t, but we can discern wisdom from their lives and the consequences of their decisions, whether good or bad.

These women can show us the results of listening to God or ignoring His Word:

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Using the Potter to Reveal the Truth about Trials

by Barbara Latta

Using the potter to reveal the
truth about trials
Okay, you may be saying, not another story about the potter and the clay. If you have been in church for any length of time, you have heard sermons preached using Jeremiah and this illustration (Jeremiah 18).

This is not an attempt to re-preach that lesson; however, a recent illustration at my church showed me something else not usually seen in the potter and clay story.

A talented art teacher was our guest speaker and while he taught he created clay works of art on his potter’s wheel. Spinning the wheel with his foot, the talented hands worked the clay until the object in his mind formed on the plate. His statement that the clay is sometimes harder or softer sounds like us. Even though his hands were forming, the clay had to submit to the fingers pressing in on it. If the clay was too hard, the bowl he wanted to create did not turn out like he planned.

Creating a bowl was just the first step. If left in that state, the clay would dry but would be fragile. The artist held up a bowl that had been left in the air to dry and the edge had been broken off. When he tried to pick the bowl up by the rim, the clay, although dry, was not strong enough to withstand the pressure of his hands. The teacher flicked his finger against the rim of the bowl and the pottery made a dull klunking sound.

We all know pottery must be fired to complete the process. The next bowl on the table had been through one firing. The teacher flicked his finger against the rim and a ringing sound was heard. The firing of the clay had made the clay stronger and the sound happier.

However, that is not the final product. A second firing is necessary after a glaze is applied to create a beautiful color. But the second firing also created a more distinct and bell tone ring when flicked with the artist’s finger.

A lot of teaching has been used to say that when we go through “firings” of life we become stronger. That is not exactly true. If it were, we would all be the strongest of Christians because we all go through trials and difficulties in our lives. What makes us stronger is that when we go through those “firings” we overcome them. But if we succumb to the
Become ash or a singing vessel.
trial we become a pot of crumbled ash. Clay pots that go through firings can come out broken and useless. The difference is in the strength of the clay. Become ash or a singing vessel.

When we stand on the Word of God to withstand temptation, discouragement and difficulty we come out of the fire better than we were before and we have a song. A song of a stronger faith, a song of deliverance from our Savior and a song of victory knowing the next time we face something we have an arsenal of weapons in our fired clay.

When we realize these truths, we can view those fired times as an opportunity to become a strong vessel. Trials don’t make us stronger. Standing strong through the fire makes us stronger. God doesn’t send the trials. The difficulties come from our enemy because he wants to discourage us enough to get us to give up and stay away from the Word of God (Mark 4:17). That’s why when we stand on the Word, we can be in the fire without being consumed. And our song will keep on singing.

What does the pottery reveal to you? Join the conversation.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Will California bill AB 2943 ban the Bible?

by Barbara Latta

The chairman of the California LGBT caucus, Assemblyman Evan Low, has introduced AB
Will California AB 2943 ban the Bible?

2943 which would prevent “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” as illegal under the state’s consumer fraud law. Read about the bill here.

While the language of this bill doesn’t specifically ban the Bible, the wording is so vague the interpretation could mean anything any proponent of the bill desires it to mean.

In 2012, the California Assembly passed Senate Bill 1172 which banned health professionals from attempting "sexual orientation change efforts" (SOCE). AB 2943 stands to add more detail to 1172 by:

Prohibiting SOCE from being performed on anyone, not just children under 18;
Prohibiting SOCE as a sale or service.

Of course, supporters of the bill claim they are not trying to remove the Bible, but California State Assembly member, Travis Allen, who is running for governor, says it could.

Here is a portion of the transcript from the interview with Liz Wheeler of One America News Network and Assembly member Travis Allen:

Wheeler:   This is essentially criminalizing religious beliefs. And I don’t mean to speak in hyperbole here, but if this bill were to pass, would this prohibit the sale of the Bible, that teaches these things about sexual morality?
Allen:   Well, literally, according to how this law is written, yes, it would. This is, you know, PC culture, politically correct culture, gone horribly awry. This is really directly hitting at our First Amendment rights as American citizens. Now the Democrat legislators in this building, right behind me, the California state legislature, they want to tell you how to think, what sort of books that you can read, write and purchase.

The love of Christ has the power to transform every life.
While it is difficult to find an unbiased news agency, it is our responsibility as Christians and as American citizens to remain informed of what is going on in the world around us. These laws affect our lives and the lives of future generations.

So, what can we do?
  • Pray
  • Contact legislators
  • Support conservative legal agencies
  • Be willing to take a stand

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

Our fight is not against people, it is against the evil spirits in the world who deceive souls into acting out the lies whispered into their minds. The remedy is to proclaim the gospel, the love of Christ, who truly does have the power to transform every life who will submit to Him.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.