God's Roadmap

Sharing God's roadmap of grace to avoid the pitfalls and potholes of life.

"Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart" (Proverbs 3:3).

Sunday, April 16, 2017

What happened between the crucifixion and the resurrection?

by Barbara Latta

Jesus surrendered His spirit into the hands of His Father.
Jesus breathed His last and surrendered His spirit into the hands of His father. God’s wrath against sin had been poured out on the innocent Son. Payment was final.

Jesus went into the realm of hell.

For You will not forsake Me and abandon my soul to Hades (the realm of the dead), nor let your Holy One undergo decay [after death]. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will fill me [infusing my soul] with joy with your presence (Acts 2:27-28 AMP).

He made an open show of triumphing in His victory. He stripped Satan of the power and authority that had been stolen from Adam. Christ paraded the fallen angel in front of the minions of hell and proclaimed evil’s defeat.

When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities [those supernatural forces of evil operating against us], He made a public example of them [exhibiting them as captives in His triumphal procession], having triumphed over them through the cross (Colossians 2:15 AMP).

Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him that day in Paradise. Paradise
Jesus led captivity captive.
was the place where the Old Testament saints went after death. They could not enter into heaven yet because the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin (Hebrews 10:4). But they died with faith in the future redemption and after Jesus died His blood was retroactive to them.  He led those in Paradise into their heavenly home.

Therefore it says, When He ascended on high he led captivity captive, and he bestowed gifts on men (Ephesians 4:8 AMP).

Death could not hold Him.

But God raised Him up, releasing Him and bringing an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in death’s power (Acts 2:24 AMP).

Because Jesus Christ took upon Himself our punishment we can now be free of the fear of death.

Death where is your victory?
O death, where is your victory? O death where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin [by which it brings death] is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55-57 AMP).

No more does there need to be a sin offering of an animal which only covered sin. Jesus Christ presented His blood on the mercy seat in heaven which eliminated sin once and for all.

He went once for all into the Holy Place [the Holy of Holies of heaven, into the presence of God], and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, having obtained and secured eternal redemption [that is, the salvation of all who personally believe in Him as Savior] (Hebrews 9:12 AMP).

Because of the Resurrection believers are now reconciled to God, not under guilt or condemnation any longer and are made partakers of His heavenly kingdom.

For He has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son in whom we have redemption [because of His sacrifice, resulting in] the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sins’ penalty] (Colossians 1:13 AMP).

What better way to celebrate Resurrection Day but by rubbing the devil's nose in his defeat and reminding him of the victory we have in Christ.

Share your thoughts.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Prince of Peace and Conquering King

by Barbara Latta

Among His other miracles, Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead.  People were thronging
Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Prince of Peace.
Him for a chance to hear him, see him and touch him. In our day we would say news had gone viral.

God His Father had made plans ahead of time for His Son’s entry into Jerusalem. A man was waiting. His donkey and her colt were tied and waiting for the royal rider to take possession. When two disciples came looking they found everything the way Jesus said it would be.

Jesus mounted the humble beast and she proudly carried her Creator into the city. Worshippers waved palm branches into the air and laid them on the ground before Him. Hands were raised in worship as palms of flesh mingled with the green tree branches.
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” voices praised.

Worshippers waved palm branches.
How quickly the tide would turn. Only a few days later, one of His own would betray Him and the shouts of adoration would sour. The palm branches littering the streets turned brown as quickly as attitudes toward the Messiah had mutated into doubt.

The same hands that been raised in worship curled into fists raised in hatred while the voices cried, “Crucify!”

Attitudes about miracles transformed into skepticism and hope slipped away when the Savior of the world became a prisoner. Confusion reigned and fear replaced faith as even his own circle of followers ran and hid.

Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey as the Prince of Peace. He left the city as a criminal carrying a cross. He submitted to the hands of sinful men to pay the price we all deserved.
When He returns He will be on a stallion as a conquering King.  Sinners will be the ones submitting to judgement because they didn’t accept the price He paid.

May we say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord", and raise our palms in adoration to our King.

Share your thoughts.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Soldier's View of the Scourging and Crucifixion of Christ

by Barbara Latta

Quintus wiped his brow and looked over the bodies mingling with dust, rebellion and r
Jesus was whipped with a flagrum.
eligion. His position from horseback gave him a good view of the populous. Why couldn’t these Jews learn to live in peace under Roman rule? Now another religious zealot was on the way to his death because of ideals. This one claimed to be the Son of God.

What God would allow his son to be killed? Lightning bolts would fall out of the sky if a hand was raised against a son of Caesar.

If he wasn’t the son of a god, then who was he? Never before had Quintus seen a man endure scourging without crying out for mercy from his tormentors. The only sound uttered had been moans of pain but no begging for the lash to stop which had only brought on more stripes from Cassius. And Cassius was the most brutal soldier who wielded a flagrum.

The condemned man had stood before Pilate in all his bloodied glory wearing a dirty purple robe and the mockery of a crown. Prison guards had relieved their boredom with another victim to taunt. Woven thorns encircled his head piercing tender flesh and drawing more blood to run down the already mutilated face.

Now the prisoner struggled to walk up the Via Dolorosa on the way to Golgotha, the place of
Seven inch spikes were nailed Jesus to the cross.
execution. Quintus was tired and wanted this over with. Keeping these crowds from another up-rising was a full time job.

“Keep moving,” he yelled to the soldiers under his command. The man in the street fell under the weight of the 125-pound beam bearing down on the raw, bloodied shoulders.
“You there,” Quintus shouted to a man in the crowed. “Carry the crossbeam for him!” The man shrank back in fear as if he were the one about to be crucified. One of the soldiers grabbed him and pulled forward on the man’s arm slinging him out into the road next to the condemned one. The spectator reached down and helped the man lying on the ground. Tenderness replaced the fear in the man’s expression and he helped the victim up, putting the crossbeam on his own shoulders.

Finally, they could get moving again. Maybe the day would be over soon and Quintus could get some rest.

At the top of the hill, Quintus dismounted and surveyed the leering audience. The man’s condemners stood nearby.  He supposed they were there to watch and make sure the execution was carried out. Even the man’s own kind had turned against him.  

A guttural moan pierced the air as what was left of the body was thrown on the ground and his arms stretched out on the wood. Seven-inch iron spikes were placed against his wrist and the hammer came down hard splitting flesh and attaching the appendage to the crossbeam. The fingers drew up around the metal in claw-like positions as the nerves in the arms were pierced. The third nail was driven into the ankle joints and the beam with the sacrifice attached was raised and placed on the pole. One of the soldiers climbed a ladder and nailed a sign at the top of the cross. Women’s sobs were heard across the valley while the crucified man hung between heaven and earth.

No one being crucified ever refused the offered pain killer of myrrh-infused wine. The one called Jesus had turned his head away when the drink was placed near his face. Still no words left his mouth to condemn his captors, instead he forgave them. Forgave them? How could a man treated this way forgive anyone?

Thorns encircled His head in mockery.
The other prisoners were begging for mercy, one of them even taunting the man in the middle. Apparently the other one had a change of heart and finally silenced his partner in crime and begged for mercy from Jesus of Nazareth. How could this man hanging by nails give mercy to anyone? He needed mercy himself.

While those under Quintus’ command gambled for the man’s clothes, they all waited for the prisoners to die. Quintus watched the one called the Son of God. He had witnessed many crucifixions but he had never seen a man die with so much dignity and humility while in the midst of so much pain. The man raised his head and said, “I thirst.” Quintus didn’t wait for one of his soldiers to grab the wine, instead he pushed a spear into the sponge and dipped into the liquid and raised it to the man’s cracked and swollen lips offering what little relief he could. He was supposed to be supervising the execution of a criminal, yet now he was offering comfort to a condemned man.

 But something pulled him toward the massacred face and the eyes that were able to see beneath the puffed lids looked straight into his soul. Quintus almost dropped the spear but he held on lest some see him and think he was weak.

His gaze couldn’t leave the man’s body. The other prisoners had not been beaten like this one and yet they cried in agony. This man’s pain was obvious, but he looked up toward the sky and cried out to a Father begging to not be forsaken.

The sky grew so dark Quintus could barely see those around him. The ground shook and the man spoke his last words, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” The head hung against the lifeless chest and Quintus looked again at the sign bearing the title “King of the Jews.”

Son of God? Yes, Quintus thought. I think He really was.

Share your thoughts about Jesus, the Son of God.

Roman soldier's view of the crucifixion (click to tweet)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Diamond Mines and God's Love

by Barbara Latta 

A 7.5 carat diamond was unearthed this week in Arkansas at the Crater of Diamonds State
Gemstones are much sought after.
Park. I grew up 25 miles away from this site which is the only diamond mine in North America, and e
very time we go back to visit my parents our sons want to go look for diamonds. This is not a cave like the image the word mine portrays, rather It’s just a big field of dirt. 

Gemstones of all kinds are much sought after. Jewelry stores abound with sparkling ornaments in every color imaginable for us to adorn ourselves with. At one time all these precious stones were rocks hiding in the earth covered with dirt and darkness. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Don't give up because of the worn surfaces of your soul

by Barbara Latta

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them (Psalm 139:16 NKJV).

Electronic books are the latest process for reading.
Electronic books are the latest process for reading. The owner of a device can carry volumes within the weight of a few ounces and access stories with the touch of a finger. 

But nothing replaces the feel of a hard cover or paperback in the hand. I enjoy the texture of the pages as they are turned and the smell of the ink on the paper while a story comes to life.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

National Words Matter Week

by Barbara Latta

The second week of March commemorates National Words Matter Week.
Words are a natural part of our lives. It’s hard to imagine going through one day without saying a single thing. That’s why it is so important to have good communication coming out
Taunts like "sticks and stones" can hurt.
of our mouths.

Sticks and stones
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.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Power of Imagination

by Barbara Latta

Voyages to the moon and back were someone's idea.
Imagination. Some think the word only refers to child-like fantasies but places like Disneyland, voyages to the moon and back, and Henry Ford’s Model T were all products of someone’s imagination.

What is imagination? 
Imagination is the power to see with our mind. The ability to perceive mental pictures from words has created physical things. Building, toys, roads, bridges, art, and jewelry are a  that started out as ideas.

Using imagination helps develop minds and keep creative juices flowing. It is the power to achieve goals. Many athletes have shared how their success has come from visualizing the steps to victory before competing and they have been the ones to win the trophies. Jack Nicklaus said that he never shot a hole of golf without first playing the course in his mind. When on the ice, Wayne Gretsky visualized where he thought the puck would be going next.

David had meditated on God while tending his sheep and when confronted with a giant was able to bring him down with a stone because the greatness of God overcame the smallness of the thinking of Israel’s army.

Results of Negative Imagination
In the same way, imagination can be used in a negative way. Negative thoughts can create negative images which in turn bring about catastrophic results. As he thinks in his heart so
Take time to think about ideas.
is he
(Proverbs 23:7 NKJV). When encountering a challenge, if we let thoughts such as “I am going to fail,” or "I’m going to mess up” stir in our minds, actions will follow and failure will be the result.

The Israelites were forbidden from entering the promised land because they used their imagination in a negative way. They saw the inhabitants of the land and let fear form a mental picture of their defeat instead of dwelling on all the miracles God had performed to bring them across the wilderness.  Caleb and Joshua were the only two of the twelve spies to enter Canaan because of their ability to see victory instead of defeat.

Jesus Saw Victory
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). Yes, even Jesus used the power of his imagination to defeat the
Jesus saw the joy set before Him and endured the cross.
challenge of the cross. He saw the joy of resurrection, the victory of defeating the devil, and the waiting arms of His Father in heaven.

God gave us an imagination and he wants us to use this powerful gift in faith to accomplish the dreams he has put into our hearts.

How can we use this power effectively in our lives?
  • Realize our imagination is a gift we should use. Pray and ask God for the desires to match His will.
  • Make a list of dreams and goals we wish to have. Take 10-20 minutes out of the day and just sit and think. Picture accomplishing each goal and see yourself winning.
  • Think big. We can limit God by thinking too small. God who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.(Romans 4:17b AMP). Remember Abraham. God put a dream and a promise in his mind, but Abraham had to act on it when in the natural realm it looked impossible.

With God all things are possible. Share your imagination.