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, June 15, 2019

How Can We Conquer the Root of Rejection?


by Barbara Latta

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me!” This often-taunted phrase is a
How can we conquer the root of rejection
lie. Words can hurt worse than a physical injury and last much longer. The emotional scars left behind can take years to heal if the hurt is not dealt with properly. Rejection comes in many forms such as bullying from peers or abuse by those in positions of authority.

But we can have a great life in one area and still experience rejection in other areas of our lives and the effects can be just as devastating if left unchecked.

Rejection Isn’t Always Through Abuse
My home was very loving and kind. I didn’t grow up with abuse, foul language, yelling, drugs, alcohol or lack.
But there were times when I felt the ultimate rejection.

I was shy. I didn’t initiate friendships or participation in games and sports; therefore, when teams were formed, I was the last one chosen.

I wasn’t the cute kid who won the little beauty contests. No one ever told me I was ugly, but my ears always perked up when someone else was told how pretty they were. So, my mind said, “You’re ugly.”

I was skinny and was told quite often about my lack of flesh. My mind said, “There’s something wrong with you.”

I worked hard to make good grades and when another student surpassed me, the voices in my head would start again, “You don’t measure up.”

So, do you get my point? I was allowing rejection to form in my mind based on what others were doing or saying.

Rejection can grow a root in our lives if we do not deal with those feelings in a scriptural way. The fruit of that root produces:
  • Seclusion – we avoid the risk of relationships to prevent being hurt again.
  • Anger and aggressiveness – we shun and hurt others by our actions.
  • Depression – we wallow in self-pity and the endless cycle of hopelessness and despair grows and can cause physical sickness.
  • Hyper-sensitivity – we display hurts seeking for justification in our feelings and become easily offended.


The Rejection of Jesus
No one has ever experienced the amount of rejection Jesus faced. In every area of His life, He faced ridicule and abuse in some form.
  • Jesus was rejected by the religious leaders (John 11:53).
  • He was rejected by his hometown (Luke 4:28-29).
  • He was rejected by his followers (John 6:66).
  • He was rejected by the Twelve (Matthew 26:26, Mark 24:50.
  • He was rejected by his family (Mark 3:21).

In of all this rejection, Jesus stayed focused on fulfilling God’s will. As the Son of Man, he had the ability to feel the same emotions we feel; but as the Son of God He remained true to His purpose. He didn’t let the rejection of others sway what He knew He had to do. His spirit overcame His emotions (Mark 14:36). We have the same ability to overcome our feelings by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 16:33).

The Remedy
We can overcome feelings of rejection by:
  • Putting more value on what God says about us than what other people or circumstances tell us.
  • Surrounding ourselves with others who are committed to God. Jesus didn’t avoid sinners, but when he was around them he changed the atmosphere; he didn’t let the atmosphere change him.
  • Knowing that rejection is a part of life on this fallen earth. But our part is to reject those feelings instead of absorbing them.
  • Forgiving because Christ forgave us. All those who rejected Jesus were forgiven by Him. Even Judas—the one who never received the forgiveness extended to him.

Jesus gives us value.
The ultimate rejection Jesus experienced was rejection by His Father. “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46).  He did this so we could be accepted. This was the worst thing that had ever happened to Him. For all eternity Jesus had been in union with His Father. Even after He laid aside the benefits of His deity to come to earth, He still had the fellowship with God until His Father had to turn away because of the sin that had been laid upon His Son. Jesus was willing to endure the worst rejection of His life so we could be accepted. That shows us how valuable we are to Him.

Best-selling author and businessman, Harvey Mackay stated, “Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.”

Someone else’s treatment of us doesn’t reflect our value. Jesus said we were all worth dying for. That should make all the difference in the world.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.





Saturday, June 8, 2019

Lessons of Leadership and Influence from the Apostle Peter

 by Barbara Latta

Lessons of leadership and influence from the Apostle Peter.

The Apostle Peter gets a bad rap sometimes. We hear Sunday School lessons and sermons depicting his denial of Christ, his impulsive comments and rash behavior. But when those personality traits were placed under the control of the Holy Spirit, a fire for God was started that the firehose of persecution could not put out.

Peter became a leader in the early church. His influence persuaded thousands to follow Christ and the flame that burned within him radiated out to the point that even his shadow falling over people healed them.

What can we learn from this brash fisherman turned preacher about leadership and influence?

  • Lesson: When the boat is sinking get out of it. God is there to hold our hand. When all the apostles were in a sinking boat, Peter is the only one who stepped out in faith to walk on water. Yes, he eventually sank, but at least he got out of the boat. He is the only person other than Jesus who has ever walked on water. The boat was sinking yet the rest of the guys stayed in the boat. That’s amazing. (Matthew 14:24-32)
  • Lesson: Stand up for what we believe. Peter took a stand when all the others could do was repeat what the crowds had said about Jesus. He stood out from the other disciples to declare that he believed Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus said the truth of that statement is what the church would be built upon. (Matthew 16:13-19)
  • Lesson: Allow the Holy Spirit to redirect passions. Peter’s impetuous actions implored Jesus to stay away from Jerusalem to avoid crucifixion and Jesus had to rebuke him (Matthew 16:22-23). He also drew a sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant in the garden of Gethsemane (John 18:10. Peter was probably trying to take off the man’s head and when the man ducked Peter’s sword caught his ear. Peter was impulsive with his words and actions, but his forcefulness was used in a positive way to expand the kingdom of God when under the control of the Holy Spirit.
  • Lesson: Don’t stay in regret; repent and move forward. When Peter failed, he repented. After denying Christ, he was tormented by what he had done and he wept bitter tears. He still loved His Master; that’s why what he did hurt so much. He still wanted to follow Christ. (Luke 22:54-62)
  • Lesson: Don’t fear consequences. Peter denied Christ when the Master was arrested, but this denier was the same one who preached on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 people were saved (Acts 2: 14-41). When he was later arrested he told his accusers he had to obey God and not men (Acts 5:29).
  • Lesson: Submit to God and allow humility to take over. Be willing to admit when we are wrong (Galatians 2:11-12). Peter was willing to take the criticism of Paul and allow correction. Peter didn’t take offense at this.  Peter later quoted Paul and said his words were scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16).
  • Lesson: Put Jesus first. Peter was willing to die for His Lord (John 21:18-19), (Matthew
    16:24).


I can identify with Peter in his failures. I haven’t always been obedient to my Lord. I have denied
Christ when I should have stood up for Him. I have allowed fear to control me instead of stepping out in faith. But I also want to learn from this wise follower of Christ and turn those failures into faith steps to influence the world around me.


What about you? What would you like to remember about Peter or one of the other early church leaders? Share your thoughts.





Monday, June 3, 2019

5 Ways to Handle the Offensive Opinion of Others


by Barbara Latta

The Bible tells us that words have power. Spoken thoughts can be used for good or harm. Our society has transformed into one in which those who don’t like what you say want voices silenced if words don’t agree with their philosophy. What is offensive to some is labeled hate speech and those who disagree say their critics are the ones who should be prosecuted.

Clicking the remote for the TV or booting up your computer is all that’s necessary to be blasted with someone’s rant or latest offense. Our ears and eyes can become bombarded with negativity and the constant stream going into our minds can have a lasting effect if we are not careful to stop the flow. Even when we think we are not affected, a mood change can be a key we are letting poison control our emotions.

 We have the power to flip the switches on electronic devices, but we can’t turn off opinions spouted in our presence whether in the workplace, marketplace or school. Refusing to become offended is a choice we can make, but the power to make that choice requires discipline in the Word of God.

Here are 5 ways we can handle the offensive opinions of others:
  1. Realize our worth does not come from someone else’s opinion or actions. Our values come from God not the news media, entertainment industry or politics. To the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he made us accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV).
  2. Anchor our personality in Jesus and take possession of the inheritance He gave us. We have an inheritance in Christ that is far superior to anything this world can give. In him we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11 NKJV).
  3. Understand the words are a reflection of the condition of the heart of a person who probably does not know God. (In this case, I am referring to those whose words are vile, evil and blasphemous, not merely someone who differs from us.) They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart (Ephesians 4:18 ESV).  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions (2 Timothy 4:3 ESV).
  4. Allowing offense into our life doesn’t change the situation, but it can change us into an angry and bitter person. Do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you for many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 ESV).
  5. Don’t take the bait and get into an argument. The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult (Proverbs 12:16 ESV). Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words (Proverbs 23:9).
The best defense for offense is found in Philippians 1:1, "being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."

When we allow the Word of God to dominate us the atmosphere of anger will not thrive in our sphere of influence. We can't control other people, but we can control our response to them. When we stand strong and avoid being drawn into negativity, we are growing in maturity and spiritual strength. 

What's your best scripture for handling offense?










Saturday, May 18, 2019

3 Reasons Patience is a Positive Experience


by Barbara Latta
Fruit of the Spirit Series – Patience

3 reasons patience is a positive experience.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control Against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV).

You can read previous posts in this series here: love, joy, peace

As you can see in the verse above the New King James Version lists longsuffering as a fruit of the Spirit. This is also translated as patience in other versions. We don’t like to think of being patient when we want something, but to call it longsuffering makes it worse.

Why should we want to suffer at all and especially long? No way!

But when we look at the correct meaning of the word, we can get a better picture of what God is telling us.

“Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Colossians 1:11 NKJV).

Scriptural patience is defined in Strong’s Concordance as, “forbearance or fortitude.” This gives us a different picture of waiting.

Patience is simply staying firm and steadfast in our faith without changing what we believe until our answer from God comes.

We can have joyful expectancy
When a woman is pregnant, she must wait for the baby to arrive at the perfect time. If the child was born too early, it would be dangerous and the infant might not survive. The process of growing brings the product of waiting to the perfect culmination. Even when the pregnancy is not evident to all, the mother knows the process has begun. She wants to hold and see this baby, but she knows she isn’t going to do it now. There is joyful expectancy because the outcome is known even though it is not in her possession yet. Yes, there are some uncomfortable moments. There is longsuffering with joy, but it is minimal compared to the gift she will behold.

We can have joyful expectancy when waiting for promises of God to be fulfilled in our lives the same way. Our waiting can be a positive experience rather than the painful image we have of longsuffering.

3 reasons patience is a positive experience

  • Patience shows we trust God: When we don’t see the answers to our prayers immediately, we sometimes question God. When we pray according to God’s will He is working, but we don’t always know what is going on behind the scenes in the spiritual world. God brings things into our lives through other people. When they don’t respond to His direction, what we wanted may be delayed. He may have to work in the hearts of someone else to accomplish His answer to us. All this time we are waiting and wondering where our answer is. But when we hold on to the Word of God, He will come through because He does not lie. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • Patience is an example to others: When someone isn’t treating us right, our restraint against them can be an example of the way God wants them to be treated. Showing patience with them can be an example of God’s character. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
  • Patience builds our faith: When we are experiencing a trial and waiting for an answer to prayer or the culmination of a seed we planted to sprout, we can look back at previous times in our lives where God has always fulfilled His promise. We can see that an answer did come, and it will materialize this time, too. (Galatians 6:9) 

When we pray, the answer to our problems is in the development stage the same way the unborn baby
is. All the solutions God has must come to fruition before they can be born. We can have joyful expectancy while waiting for the birth of our answers if we will see it from God’s perspective. We ask, believe, meditate on His word, and know He hears us (I John 5:14).

His glorious power gives us the ability to know our answer will be born at the right time.

What does patience mean to you? Share your thoughts.






Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Love of a Mother's Hands - Mother's Day 2019


by Barbara Latta

Mother's work tirelessly to care for their children. Washing, feeding, hugging and investigating, these hands are never idle. When we become mothers, we realize what our mothers did for us. This is a tribute to my mother and mothers everywhere.

The Love of a Mother's Hands


Loving hands held me when I was small, cuddled and fed me, and tucked me in at night.
Hands would pick me up when I would fall, soothe the hurt, and wipe away the tears.
Hands would feel my head when I had a fever and dispense bad tasting medicine with a spoon.
Those hands would be there all night in case the fever returned.

Hands would cook good food each day and wave a finger if I didn’t eat.
“What about all those starving children in the world?”
Hands would clean and scrub each day 
making our home sparkle and shine.

Hands would work at the sewing machine for hours, making clothes for me and even my dolls.
Hands would hold mine when I was afraid, pack my lunch, and wave good-bye when I went to school.
Those same hands would spank me when I was bad, but it was for my own good. It kept me from being bad again.

Hands would work hard to plant flowers, and then I would bring them in for a vase.
Those same hands just let me think that was okay.
Hands endured a pet turtle in my room and helped clean out the bowl, but those hands made the puppy stay outside.

Hands taught me to peel potatoes, to sew a stitch, and wash a dish.
They held the book while it was read and pointed to words I could learn.

Those hands grew older, moved slower and were sometimes swollen and filled with pain.
The wisdom of those hands held my babies and caressed their faces.
Those hands taught me to love.

My mother's wrinkled hands were laid to rest in death's repose
But are now raised to life to hold God's hand.
And those hands regenerated with youth
will welcome me when I pass through heaven's gates.

I will hold her hand again. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Please feel free to share a tribute to your mother here.


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Why Do Some People Reap Results From God's Word and Some Reap Little or Nothing?


by Barbara Latta

A trip to Home Depot had my gardening juices salivating at all the choices of beautiful plants I
wanted to get my hands into. I had a list of what I wanted because I knew what would happen if I went into the garden center without one. And I still picked up a couple of things that were not on my list simply because they were too beautiful to resist.

I had my muscle with me so after arriving back at home, my husband was the hole digger. I supervised, of course, and placed the plants where I wanted them to grow. To ensure healthy growth and beautiful blooms, we added topsoil and fertilizer to those in the yard and used specialty soil for the plants that grow in containers. I couldn’t expect to have an abundant harvest of flowers if all I did was stick them into the hard Georgia clay we are blessed with.

And wa-la, because of the good soil we used, we will have beauty to enjoy all summer long.

We can learn a lesson from planting experiences in reference to our relationship with God. Why do some people reap results from God’s Word and some reap little or nothing?

Jesus told a parable in Mark 4 relating how God’s Word is a seed we plant into our hearts. The difference in growth is the soil, not the seed. The seed is the same because the Word never changes, but some people see different results because of the condition of their heart when the Word is heard.

The types of heart ground Jesus talked about are:

Apathetic Heart: Some seed fell beside the road and birds came and ate them. These are like those who hear a message, but are not interested or don’t care. Satan can steal the word from their hearts before it has a chance to be understood.
Rootless Heart: The next seed fell on rocks without much soil, a plant grew quickly but because it had no depth the sun scorched it because there was no strong root. The Word can be received by these people and they are happy with the message they hear, but after temptation or trouble comes they give up because they have no deep roots in the Word and there is nothing to hold them up.
Distracted Heart: The seed that fell into thorns was choked up and didn’t yield a harvest. This group of people puts more emphasis on their problems and the desire for things than listening to the Word of God so the seed has no chance to grow in their lives.
Fertile Heart: The last seed fell into good soil and grew a large, abundant crop. These are the ones who spend time in the Word listening to God and praying so the seed of the Word produces results in their lives and every need is met.
This begonia was too beautiful to resist.

All of us who have been believers for any length of time have probably been in each of these groups at one time or another. The important lesson we learn from this parable is what Jesus said after sharing this story with his disciples:

And He was saying to the, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him (Mark 4:24-25 NASB).

We can learn from planting season as we watch seeds grow in gardens. Our heart is God’s garden and it is our responsibility to prepare the soil for the seed to be planted in so we can reap the harvest of understanding and living in God’s Word.

What are some ways you plant God’s Word as seeds? Share your thoughts and ideas.


Saturday, April 27, 2019

How Can Peace Fill Our Soul When Trouble Lies Ahead?


by Barbara Latta 
The Fruit of the Spirit Series – Peace

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

Shortly before He was to be crucified Jesus told his disciples, Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause I came unto this hour (John 12:27). Then only a few days later he told them not to let their heart be troubled (John 14:1). 

How can peace fill our soul when trouble lies ahead?

The Son's soul was troubled at what lay ahead, but He let peace abide and control Him so He could fulfill the Father’s will. Jesus was telling His disciples to have the same peace.

Even though they didn’t know what lay ahead, Jesus knew they would need those words. I’m sure I would have reacted the same way the disciples did. Their Savior, Teacher, Leader and Friend is arrested because He was betrayed by one of His own. Can you imagine the shock when they saw Judas arrive in the Garden with soldiers?

Their pulses must have raced at the thought of being arrested also. They scattered like a flock of sheep pursued by wolves. Thoughts of peace were the furthest thing from their minds. Survival was. They fled. They hid. They denied. Peace was impossible. Or so they thought.

After being filled with the Holy Spirit, the same man who denied Christ preached to a city filled with people and 3,000 were saved. The same one who tried to cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant wrote, For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile; Let him eschew evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:10-11). Peter found out the peace Jesus talked about before His crucifixion was real and was also possible to demonstrate.

Jesus tells us the same thing. When our thoughts are troubled and we are pursued by disaster and temptation, where does our heart go? Does fear reign or do the Words of our Lord eliminate the terror?

Because my mind wants to wander away when situations arise that are troubling, I use my favorite verse to eliminate worry, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 KJV).

As you think about the Fruit of the Spirit that God has given us, may you also take this Word with you this week, The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless His people with peace (Psalm 29:11).

What are your favorite verses about peace? Share your thoughts.