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, December 29, 2013

The Highest Goal


Another year has come and gone and all the talk turns to New Year’s resolutions, setting goals, changing the way we do things, etc. All those things are good, but the problem is, hardly any of us keep them. And that brings the guilt and self-condemnation of failing.

Rather than make a list of unreachable goals, here is one target we can shoot for:

“Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it” (Colossians 4:17).

How is this accomplished?
First, we have to know we are all called to transform our minds and conform to the image of Christ. (Romans 12:1-2)

Second, by transforming our minds we can find out what specific task we are anointed for and put on this earth to do. (Psalm 37:4)

Third, we need to stay focused on that calling and not be swayed by things that draw us away. (Philippians 4:13-14)

If we fulfill the ministry we have received in the Lord, we will accomplish goals we have in every area of our lives without striving under our own willpower to reach them. It will be a by-product of living life in the Lord because He will give us wisdom and ideas we couldn’t come up with on our own. Therefore, setting the goal of Colossians 4:17 as our New Year’s resolution, we can fulfill many others, as well.

What about you? What has God called you to do this year?
 
Have a very Happy New Year!

 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all! May you experience the joy of Christ and the life and peace He gives.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Two Babies


“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

This past summer the world heralded the birth of Prince George, heir to the throne of England. His mother was given the best medical care in the world and all the comforts possible while delivering him. He was the most photographed baby on earth and the palace was inundated with well wishes from dignitaries and leaders around the globe.

Over two thousand years ago, another baby was born and His birth was heralded by angels, but only to a few shepherds who were watching their sheep at night. His mother lay on the ground around animal dung while her body was wracked with pain bringing Him into the world. Shepherds visited Him while the rest of countryside slept, unaware the King of the universe had just become man.

Magazines, newspapers, and gossip sheets were covered with pictures and stories about baby George, all scrambling to be the first to report the details of his birth. He was surrounded by the security forces of his country for protection and privacy and carried home in a luxury vehicle.  Mary and Joseph had to travel on foot to another country to keep the security forces of their country from killing their baby.

The stark contrast between an earthly king's birth and the birth of the Savior reflects God's heart. He did not come to rule on earth, although He will someday. He came to rule in the hearts of man. To do that He had to appear in the most humble way possible. He had to get down with the lowest of the low so He could elevate us to the highest acceptance of the Father.

 The priorities of the world are for glory and fame. The priorities of the spirit are humility and love.

Sometimes we get caught up in the busyness of the holidays. We have so much to do and so little time to do it. But the important thing to remember is the reason we are celebrating.

 What do you do to maintain peace in the midst of a chaotic holiday storm?

 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving in America

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, try to test your knowledge of the founding of our country and the beginning of the Thanksgiving celebration we have today.

The following post from www.wallbuilders.com outlines for us the truth about our history and contains many facts you may be unaware of.
 

The tradition of Thanksgiving as a time to focus on God and His blessings dates back almost four centuries in America. While such celebrations occurred at Cape Henry Virginia as early as 1607,[1] it is from the Pilgrims that we derive the current tradition of Thanksgiving.
The Pilgrims set sail for America on September 6, 1620, and for two months braved the harsh elements of a storm-tossed sea. After disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they had a prayer service and began building hasty shelters, but unprepared for a harsh New England winter, nearly half died before spring.[2]
Yet, persevering in prayer, and assisted by helpful Indians,[3] they reaped a bountiful harvest the following summer.[4] The grateful Pilgrims then declared a three-day feast in December 1621 to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends[5] America's first Thanksgiving Festival. This began an annual tradition in the New England Colonies that slowly spread into other Colonies.[6]
The first national Thanksgiving occurred in 1789. According to the Congressional Record for September 25 of that year, immediately after approving the Bill of Rights:


Mr. [Elias] Boudinot said he could not think of letting the [congressional] session pass without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings He had poured down upon them. With this view, therefore, he would move the following resolution:


Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. . . .


Mr. Roger Sherman justified the practice of thanksgiving, on any single event, not only as a laudable one in itself but also as warranted by a number of precedents in Holy Writ. . . . This example he thought worthy of a Christian imitation on the present occasion.[7]


The resolution was delivered to President George Washington, who heartily concurred with the congressional request, declaring:


Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. . . . Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 . . . that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.[8]


National Thanksgiving Proclamations occurred sporadically following this one,[9] and most official Thanksgiving observances still occurred only at the State level. Much of the credit for the adoption of an annual national Thanksgiving may be attributed to Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of Godey's Lady's Book. For over twenty years, she promoted the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day,[10] contacting President after President until Abraham Lincoln responded in 1863 by setting aside the last Thursday of November, declaring:


We are prone to forget the Source from which [the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies] come. . . . No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God. . . . I do, therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States . . . to observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father Who dwelleth in the heavens.[11]


For the next seventy-five years, Presidents followed LincolnÌs precedent, annually declaring a national Thanksgiving Day. Then, in 1941, Congress permanently established the fourth Thursday of each November as a national holiday.[12]
As you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this year, remember to retain the original gratefulness to God that has always been the spirit of this, the oldest of all American holidays.


[Congress] recommended [a day of] . . . thanksgiving and praise [so] that the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and join . . . their supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ to forgive [our sins] and . . .to enlarge [His] kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Continental Congress, 1777 - Written by Signers of the Declaration Samuel Adams and Richard Henry Lee)[13]


[I] appoint . . . a day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty God. . . to [ask] Him that He would . . . pour out His Holy Spirit on all ministers of the Gospel; that He would . . . spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth; . . . and that He would establish these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue. (Governor Thomas Jefferson, 1779)[14]


I. . appoint . . . a day of public thanksgiving and praise . . . to render to God the tribute of praise for His unmerited goodness towards us . . . [by giving to] us . . . the Holy Scriptures which are able to enlighten and make us wise to eternal salvation. And [to] present our supplications...that He would forgive our manifold sins and . . . cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth. (Governor John Hancock, 1790)[15]



[1] Benson Lossing, Our Country. A Household History of the United States (New York: James A. Bailey, 1895), Vol. 1, pp. 181-182; see also National Park Service, "Robert Hunt: Jamestown's First Chaplain" (at http://www.nps.gov/archive/colo/Jthanout/RHunt.html).
[2] William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1856), pp. 74, 78, 80, 91.
[3] William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1856), p. 100.
[4] William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1856), p. 105.
[5] Ashbel Steele, Chief of the Pilgrims: Or the Life and Time of William Brewster (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co, 1857), pp. 269-270.
[6] William DeLoss Love, Jr, The Fast and Thanksgiving Days of New England (Boston: Houghton,, Mifflin & Co, 1895), pp. 87-90.
[7] The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United State (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, pp. 949-950.
[8]George Washington, Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Russell, Odiorne and Metcalf, 1838), Vol. XII, p. 119, Proclamation for a National Thanksgiving on October 3, 1789.
[9] See, for example: H.S.J. Sickel, Thanksgiving: Its Source, Philosophy and History With All National Proclamations (Philadelphia: International Printing Co, 1940), pp. 154-155, "Thanksgiving Day- 1795" by George Washington, pp. 156-157, "Thanksgiving Day -1798" by John Adams, pp. 158-159, "Thanksgiving Day-1799" by John Adams, p. 160, "Thanksgiving Day- 1814" by James Madison, p. 161, "Thanksgiving Day-1815" by James Madison.
[10] Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, James Grant Wilson & John Fiske, editors (New York: D. Appleton & Co, 1888), Vol. III, p. 35.
[11] The Works of Abraham Lincoln, John H. Clifford & Marion M. Miller, editors (New York: University Society Inc, 1908), Vol. VI, pp. 160-161, Proclamation for Thanksgiving, October 3, 1863, The American Presidency Project, "Abraham Lincoln: Proclamation- Thanksgiving Day, 1863" (at http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=69900&st=&st1=)
[12] The National Archives, "Congress Establishes Thanksgiving" (at http://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/thanksgiving/); see also Pilgrim Hall Museum, "Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamations 1940-1949: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman" (at http://www.pilgrimhall.org/ThanxProc1940.htm), Proclamation 2571: Days of Prayer: Thanksgiving Day and New YearÌs Day, November 11, 1942, referring to a Ïjoint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day.
[13]Journals of the Continental Congress (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1907), Vol. IX, p. 855, November 1, 1777.
[14] The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Julian P. Boyd, editor (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951), Vol. 3, p. 178, Proclamation Appointing a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, November 11, 1779.
[15] John Hancock: Proclamation for a Day of Public Thanksgiving (Boston, 1790), from an original in possession of the author.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lessons From A Turkey


With Thanksgiving Day just around the corner, we are all getting our menus planned and our shopping lists ready so our celebration meal will be as free of hassles as possible. However, it seems no matter how much planning I do, something always goes wrong and has to be fixed or improvised.
One year we had two friends coming over. I decided to try some different side dishes to go along with our traditional Thanksgiving fare of turkey and dressing. I found a recipe that seemed simple enough and would be a good compliment to the rest of the meal. The directions stated to heat some Catalina dressing in a skillet and saute baby carrots for a few minutes until heated through. Then sprinkle with parsley and serve.
When our plates were full and we started to eat, I bit into the “supposed to be good” carrots and felt like I was eating a tree limb. At this point, I was wishing no one else had these orange roots on their plates, but it was too late. We all had a laugh about it, but no one took seconds. They did, however, want to go outside and use them for skeet shooting.  Even though the recipe directions didn’t state to boil them first, common sense should have told me carrots are not going to be done in the few minutes they were in the pan.
Lesson learned: Don’t use an untried, new recipe on guests or for a special occasion.
My almost turkey disaster occurred just a few months after my husband and I were married. It wasn’t Thanksgiving, but he wanted me to cook a turkey and have his family over for dinner. I was petrified. I had cooked lots of chickens before, but never a turkey. I knew the giblets were inside the cavity of the bird and I removed them before cooking. I barely got the giant bird in the apartment sized oven we had, because he had bought a 20 pound turkey even though we were only serving six people. I was amazed at how good it looked when I removed it from the oven, steaming hot, smelling good, and golden brown. I placed it on my beautiful platter and carried it to the head of the table for my husband to carve.
The first few slices were smooth and juicy. However, the deeper into the bird he cut the more the meat was covered in pieces of something white. After a few “what is that?” comments, we uncovered the mystery. Even though I had remembered to remove the giblets, I didn’t know the other end of the bird contained a plastic bag of gravy. This time the gravy was inside the bird and not on it.(I always look for that packet now!)
Lesson learned: Look all through the bird for surprises.
Despite these mishaps, thankfully, we have been able to overlook them and still have good celebrations. What about you? What catastrophes or hazards have you encountered while preparing a special meal?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thank You Is Not Enough


America has many scars and battle wounds, but they have never kept us down. We have more victories than defeats, more heroes than cowards, more great leaders than traitors. We have a military force unequal to any, and it is all voluntary.

For this I say “thank you.” Those words are hardly enough to appreciate the giving of a life or the sacrifice of health. But they are all I have. To all veterans of our military, you are honored and appreciated.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, I would like to give a special tribute to all those who fought during this conflict. Sadly, you were not honored by some the way you should have been when you returned home, but thankfully those days are over.

May we never forget our heroes (which is anyone who was willing to serve) and may we always acknowledge what they have bought for us. Our country has fought many wars since the fight for independence in 1776. Each one cost many lives. Because of the bravery of thousands, we can be the free and independent nation we are today. We have been blessed because we were willing to stand up and fight for our freedom. God’s light has shone from America as a beacon to the world of His goodness because we made the sacrifices necessary to fight against evil.

Take some time this week to thank a vet.

I would like to honor the veterans in my family:

Ken Latta, US Navy                         Kenny Latta, US Army
Jonathan Latta, US Air Force          Lloyd Watson, US Navy
William Watson, US Army               E.J. Thornton, US Navy
Donald Thornton, US Navy             Billy Ray Thornton, US Navy
Jack Thornton, US Navy                 Hubert Watson, US Army Air Corp          

If you would like to honor some veterans here, please feel free to do so.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Is Your Salt Shaker Clogged?

Recently I picked up a salt shaker, turned it upside down, shook and shook and nothing came out. I had the brilliant idea to open the top and look inside and find out what was wrong. It was full of little clogs that were too large to go through the holes. The salt had been in the dispenser so long without being used, it had clumped together and now had become useless.

Jesus tells us me I am the salt of the earth. I are here to season the world and make others want what I have that tastes so good. But if I don't get out of my salt shaker I become clogged and nothing comes out. Sometimes the clogs sneak up on me. I become too comfortable in my own little world and suddenly I realize I'm not making much of a difference.

How do I make sure my dispenser is shaking out the salt of the Word and not sitting there with no purpose?

  • I need to get out of the shaker. I can take a stand when something isn't right. I don't have to just go with the flow and have the same opinions everyone else has.

  • I can show love and kindness by finding ways to help others around me. I need to become aware of people's needs and meet them whenever possible.

  • Most of all, I need to stay in the Word so "my speech can be with grace seasoned with salt that I can know how to answer each one" (Colossians 4:6).

If I can keep my saltiness unclogged, I can make others hungry for the bread of life and thirsty for living water.

What about you? How do you stay unclogged?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blooms, Blossoms, and Dead Leaves


I took a deep breath of cool, fall air as the breeze blew against my face. Orange, red, yellow, and purple trees swathed the mountainside in a palette of color. God's handiwork called for us to stop and enjoy the view.

As I looked over the valley between the mountains the wind blew leaves from the trees in front of my face. I captured one and admired its brilliant color. This leaf was detached from its life giving source. It would soon wither and fade and become mulch on the ground as it decayed. It's purpose had been accomplished and it was time for the tree to let go and make room for the new growth spring would bring.

Our lives can become cluttered with dead leaves. We hold on to old things that still look good to us because it is familiar or has been a way of thinking for a long time. But new growth cannot begin until the old is detached and discarded. One of the things I have needed to change is a feeling of inadequacy. I have been asked to fill a leadership position in a group I am a member of and it will often require being a speaker or teacher. I have never thought of myself as a leader, but I can't grow and become what I want to be as long as the dead leaves of feeling unqualified stay attached to me. I have to depend on viewing my image based on who I am in Christ.

Even if what you are holding on to was once beautiful, like the leaves it's purpose could be now be dead. It's time for new growth. Blossoms and blooms can only appear when the dead has been discarded.


Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Peace in the Valley

Trust


It takes Time to develop.

It requires Resting your soul on the source of your life.

It means knowing you are Under the care of someone greater than you.

It means your life is Sustained.

It means total Commitment.

Only then can you have peace in the valley of life.



Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Filter of Grace

I have already talked about hearing God through the filter of religion. Man-made rules and traditions limit what God can do through us and for us because we don't hear what He is really saying. We listen through tainted spiritual ears.

Grace is God's unlimited supply of love, healing, prosperity, wholeness, mercy, and deliverance. Grace is Jesus.

He is a gift given to us through no effort of ours because we couldn't obtain anything from God no matter how much we tried. Also, because He has given all things of Himself to us, we cannot stop Him from giving. We can only refuse to receive.

God's Word came to us untainted, unfiltered, and eternal. He doesn't change, so what He said to the early church still applies to His church today. His grace is ours so we can live abundant lives and spread His goodness to the world.

Read the Bible as if you have never read it before. Forget about what you learned in Sunday School or heard someone else say over the  years. Start over with a fresh slate.

What do you hear?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Don't Forget To Remember

Have we forgotten the horrors? Have we forgotten the fear? Have we forgotten the threat?

On September 11, 2001, I was attending a ladies Bible study at my church. Someone from the office came in and announced to us that the twin towers had fallen and the Pentagon had been bombed. I immediately left and went home to see if I had missed any phone calls. My husband was in the Navy Reserve at the time and he was stationed in Saudi Arabia. In my mind if the Pentagon had been bombed, then other military installations could have been also.

People were afraid and that week many who hadn't been to church in years, or had never gone before were thronging to centers of worship. But in about two weeks, it all changed.

When it looked as if we were going to survive this, they went back to their routines and decided to let the government save us.

Some blamed God and said, “why did He allow this to happen?” Well, He didn't.

Then how could it happen, you say, if God didn't allow it?

He gives us free choice. He doesn't control us unless we invite Him in to do the controlling. Demon possessed religious fanatics chose to be evil, follow evil, and do evil.

When our government decided to throw God out of all things public they were in effect throwing out our protection. Policies that say, “you can't pray, you can't show a Bible, you can't wear a cross or display a nativity scene,” are telling God we don't want you.

For example, If I walk outside in the rain and put up an umbrella, it protects me from the weather. But if I decide to throw the umbrella away, then look up at the sky, shake my fist, and say, “why are you allowing me to get wet?”, isn't that a little ridiculous?

The same liberals in our government who a few days after the attack stood on the Capital steps and sang in their hypocritical voices, “God Bless America,” are the same ones who now want to embrace Islam, roll out the red carpet, and invite it in. We are told to be tolerant.

Well, you don't make friends with rattlesnakes and expect to not get bitten.


We need to remember September 11, 2001 and not become complacent by closing our eyes again to the threat. We need to remain vigilant, we need to seek God, and we need to remember those who died and those who saved so many.

May God bless you and may God bless America. May we return to our roots and the reason we were founded as a nation. As we do this, we will be the shining light to the world and able to share the blessings God has given us.

Where were you on 9/11 and how has it impacted your life?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Looking Through A Religious Filter


Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” Matthew 15:3

It's important for us to use God's Word as the filter for our minds to prevent us from absorbing the negative attitudes of the world. But have you ever thought about how harmful religion can be to your thinking?

Religion? How can that be negative?

We all know there are many different religions in the world each with its own interpretation of how to appease God or in some cases many gods. We don't think about the fact that even Christianity has its “religions”.

When the church (Christ's body) was born after Jesus' ascension, the Bible says they were all of one accord. (Acts 2:1, 2:46, 4:24, 5:12,Philippians 2:2). All through the New Testament the believers all had the same mind set. They were followers of Christ doing what He taught them.

Over the centuries, the devil blinded people and tried to put out the light of the gospel. People stopped believing the truth and replaced it with human thinking and reasoning. But no matter how hard evil tried, the Word of God cannot be snuffed out. Men, such as Martin Luther, came to be enlightened and the traditional teachings passed down for years were questioned. This started the Reformation.

However, men's hearts continue to try to reason and twist the scriptures to make it fit into their mold. Many denominations have formed since the Middle Ages because their founders took a few scriptures out of context and built an entire doctrine on them.

Sometimes generations have passed without anyone questioning whether some belief is really the truth of the Bible. It's accepted because “that is the way we have always done it.”

Or we are told some things passed away with the apostles and it is not for today.

This is how our thinking is filtered by religion. When we accept teaching because it is from a certain denomination or person and not the Word, our thinking is going through a “religious filter”. It is keeping us from hearing what God is actually saying because our minds have been programmed for years thinking that just because a church believes a certain way it must be of God.

To hear God, we need to remove the filter that prevents His truth from being revealed.

Have you had any “religious filters” in your life?


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Holiday for Labor

Most of us enjoy the last holiday of summer with barbecues, shopping, and sleeping late because we don't have to go to work. But why do we have this holiday?

The industrial revolution brought many manufacturing jobs into existence. This caused a lot of abuse in the workforce from long hours, low wages, and unsafe conditions.

This video explains how wage earners changed the face of labor in
America.

 
What does Labor Day mean to you?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

School Days

It's that time of year again. It seems to come earlier every year. Whatever happened to going back to school after Labor Day like I did? (I'm telling my age now, aren't I?)

Our youngest son left last week to move to Colorado to attend Charis Bible College. Even though he has left home before while in the military, we had to watch him move away again. Helping him load his car and waving goodbye wasn't any easier this time. 

Whether it's the first day of kindergarten or college, it's still the beginning of a new adventure for kids and parents. Car pooling or school bus, sack lunch or cafeteria, clubs or sports? All these decisions have to be made and new routines started. By now you have probably already been through the sales, supply lists, and orientations, but there are a few more things to keep in mind as the school term begins.

  • Pray over your children every day.

  • Pray for teachers and officials that make decisions about school policy.

  • Be aware of school zones while driving.

  • Be involved in organizations that support your school.

  • Let your voice be heard (in a respectful way) when policy challenges God-given rights.

As we navigate a new school year for children of all ages, let us remember to thank God for all His provision and protection.

Share your thoughts about school year challenges and promises you stand on.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Noiseless-ness

In our technologically advanced world, we have access to information at the blink of an eye. We can talk to someone across the world, and get news while it is happening. People in stores, cars, offices, and sporting events have cell phones growing as attachments to their heads.

Our computers, satellite TV receivers, ipads, ipods, i-everythings, have innundated us with more activity than we can handle and they generate new kinds of noise. Even when stopping at a traffic light, the boom box in the car next to us is vibrating music (is it really music?) we don't want to hear.

With all these sounds reverberating around us, how can we hear God?  
 
  • Turn everything off. "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).
 
  • Listen. "...and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire and after the fire a still small voice" (I Kings 19:12)

  • Respond. "Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard (Psalm 66:8).

Prioritizing a few minutes of absolute quiet each day will be refreshment to your soul. 
 
You are invited to share what you hear.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hardened Ground


Have you ever tried to dig a hole to plant something and found the ground so hard the shovel couldn’t penetrate it? Dirt can become like concrete after the sun bakes it for days and the weather has been dry. Hardened ground even resists moisture for a while.

Our hearts can become the same way. Most of us think of a hard hearted person as someone evil and without God. But we can all become insensitive to hearing the Holy Spirit in certain areas while allowing Him to speak to us about others. For example, we may be listening to His guidance about raising children, but resisting what He says about anger or gossip. In that way, we become hardened in those areas of our lives.

When Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water, they became fearful thinking they were seeing a ghost. When they saw it was Jesus, the disciples were amazed because He was walking on the sea. Mark 6:52 says, “for they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.” After seeing a miracle of the magnitude of multiplying loaves and fish they shouldn’t have been surprised at anything He did.  Their hearts were hardened against Jesus’s miracles because they were focused on the storm.

So, how can we make sure we have hearts willing to listen?

  • Find out what where the focus is. Is the problem speaking louder than the solution? Find a scripture for what is needed and stand on it (Psalm 119:147).

  • Keep priorities straight by putting God first (Matthew 6:33).

  • Be willing to listen and be obedient (Isaiah 1:19).

  • Seek God through prayer and fasting. Fasting disciplines our flesh so we are more sensitive to the spirit (Matthew 17:21).
Do you have something you would like to share that will help others?

(Detailed teaching in this area is available  at www.awmi.net  titled "Hardness of Heart,"  and www.creflodollarministries.org titled "Because of Your Unbelief,"part 3.)

 

 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Regret Lane vs. Restoration Blvd.

Last week my family attended a reunion in Texas. It's always good to see everyone after a long time and have fun together. It's also a time of reflection and remembrance of those who have gone from this world to the next one in Heaven.

Sometimes when reminiscing it's easy to get into the trap of "what if". We ask ourselves what could we have done to have spent more time with loved ones or appreciate them more. Or how could we have made better choices in our life.

But God doesn't want us to spend our life in regret or sorrow, rather to look ahead at the future He has for us.

He tells us in Joel 2:25-27, "So I will restore to you the years the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you, you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. Then you will know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame."

Even though our past years are gone, He tells us he will restore the years the locust has eaten. No matter what has happened or what we may regret, God can make all that up to us with our future if we let Him have control of our lives.

  • Our first step in navigating the highway of regret is to not wallow in it.

  • Next, when we are attacked with those feelings or thoughts, we can stop them by reminding ourselves of Joel 2:25.

  • Third, learn from past regrets and make any changes necessary for our present and future.

Remember, His people will never be put to shame.

Do you have an example of overcoming this curve in your life?


Sunday, July 7, 2013

History: True or False?

 Did George Washington really cut down a cherry tree and then admit to his father that he couldn't tell a lie? He may have cut down many trees in his lifetime, but that tale was actually written by Parson Mason Weems. He included it in a biography of Washington with several other anecdotes to make it more interesting to portray our first president's heroic feats. The story then became part of General Washington's legacy.

What about Thomas Jefferson? Did he father one of Sally Heming's children? Even though DNA testing was done several years ago, and the results reported in the news media at first confirmed this, it was later recanted. Of course, the retraction was not as publicized due to the embarrassment of the those doing the study. In fact, Jefferson's DNA was not even used in the test. Kind of hard to prove something that way, isn't it?

These are just two examples of some in our society who try to change history and pass down stories and traditions as fact. 

In September of this year, Mount Vernon (George Washington's home in Virginia) will celebrate the opening of  his Presidential Library. This will contain many of his documents and books collected while he was serving as the leader of our country. You can learn more about him on the website www.mountvernon.org.

Another helpful site for the truth about our history on any subject is www.wallbuilders.com. David Barton has collected thousands of original documents and his book, The Jefferson Lies, puts to rest many of the myths about Thomas Jefferson. Believing falsehoods about our roots is a curve in the road we need to navigate by dispelling myths and lies and standing for the truth.

Happy Birthday America and may God continue to bless our country.

Have you found some myths about our history you would like to share?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weeding the Garden

Rain, rain, rain. We haven't had this much rain in about two years. Our yard is so green and is growing faster than we can cut it. It's nice not to have to water flowers every day.

But along with the flowers and grass we want, we also get culprits we don't want. Weeds. I spent part of my weekend pulling weeds out of all my flower beds and putting down new mulch. Hopefully, that will help curb their growth.

We get weeds in our lives sometimes too. They can creep in unaware and unless we get rid of them while they are small, we can have a full blown problem. Just like weeds in a garden can take over the plants, weeds in our minds can take over our lives.

So how do we get rid of those invaders that pop up in our thoughts?

1. Recognize a weed as soon as it appears. A bad thought, attitude, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc. are all weeds in our minds.

 2. Take control of our mind because that's where the seeds get planted. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

3. Realize that when something pops into our minds it's not a sin unless we act on it. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

What other scriptures do you stand on to keep those weeds out of your life?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Navigating Sick Computers

We do things for our bodies to keep them healthy like eating right, taking vitamins, and exercising. We try to protect ourselves from bacteria and viruses by avoiding places where they are and by cleaning surfaces and washing our hands. Sometimes that is not enough and we still get sick.

Unfortunately, the same is true in the computer world. Viruses are out there and we can contract them even when taking all the known precautions. Recently one of our computers obained a virus that totally wiped out the hard drive. After several hours of work, it was restored.

One of the computer programmers we had on the phone told us this little trick to get your computer restored back to its original settings. It finally worked on ours so I would like to share it.

When turning your computer on, before the screen even lights up, tap the F11 key repeatedly. Then your blue screen should come on with a menu asking if you would like to restore your computer to its original settings. As far as I know, this works on all brands of computers.

Maybe you will never need to do this, but if you do I hope this helps.

Do you have some other tips to share on bringing a sick computer back to health?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Salute to Dads

Dads come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. Where would be without them? In honor of this special day I would like to share some humorous quotes about fathers from some famous people over the years.

Ken Latta

"She got her looks from her father. He's a plastic surgeon." Groucho Marx

"When I was a kid, I asked my father, 'Will you take me to the zoo?' He answered, 'If the zoo wants you, they can come and get you'." Jerry Lewis

"I have found the best advice in raising children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it." Harry S. Truman

"Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher's mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain you gotta call the game and start all over again." Jimmy Piersal


Lloyd Watson
"To have be a successful father, there's one absolute rule: when you have a kid don't look at it for the first two years." Ernest Hemingway

"Human beings are the only species that allows their children to come back home." Bill Cosby

Kenneth Latta
Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there, especially the three in my life: my husband, Ken; my dad, Lloyd Watson (who went to heaven this year); and my father-in-law, Kenneth Latta. Thanks Dads for all you do.


Do you have some Dad stories or quotes you would like to share?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hacked

"Something is wrong," I told myhusband after checking our bank account online. The balance of $17.00 told me I had spent more money than I thought, or someone else had.

We had been hacked. While we were enjoying a leisurely lunch with my friends at East Metro Atlanta Christian Writiers, our bank account was being emptied by someone in another state.

We immediately contacted the store where the transactions took place and the police departments of the respective cities, as well as our local authorities. Our debit cards were cancelled by our bank and we were left wondering how this could have happened.

We are always careful, but now we will need to take stricter precautions when making purchases. For example, I will not pay restaurant bills with a debit card any longer if it requires the card leaving my presence while it is run. I will use cash or a credit card. I don't store card information when paying a bill by phone or debit card, but now I think I will just mail them a check. Even when they say the information is secure, someone seems to find a way to hack in.

What are some ways you protect your finances?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

I love to watch re-runs of "The Andy Griffith Show." I grew up during its era and can identify with the small town atmosphere because my home town was like Mayberry. One of the episodes was about Opie finding a dog he wanted to keep. When Andy asked why there was a rope around its neck Opie replied, "Well, that kinda helped him to follow me." More dogs kept appearing to join the first one until the courthouse was full of various breeds and sizes of dogs.

Peanut, Buster, Kato, and Weenie
Our house was like that this week. We have two dogs and our son and daughter-in-law came to visit and brought their German Shepherd and Chiweenie. (That's a contrast, I know.) Well, when they arrived in the middle of the night our dogs announced the news with a barking frenzy and door clawing welcome.

After that, it was scheduled mayhem. Three dogs have to be walked on a leash to keep them from running away, one is not completely potty trained, and the other one wants to bark all the time. Poor Kato, the German Shepherd is so old he just doesn't care anymore as long as the other ones leave him alone!

Despite all that we have a good time together.We love our dogs and laugh at their antics and cry when we lose one of them. Our family's visits together always involve our pets.

We wouldn't have it any other way.

How do you navigate your life with pets?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Remember

Andersonville National Cemetary
Memorial Day. A time to pay homage to those who have paid with their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. It takes only a visit to a national cemetary to see the evidence of the cost. As we enjoy the benefits of their sacrifice, let us never forget to appreciate what we have.

In honor of those who have lost their lives fighting for the founding of this nation and the continued defense of its freedoms (military, police, and fire departments), I dedicate this poem.

A Hero's Tribute
Andersonville National Cemetary
The plane's engines hum as it rolls to a stop
The rear hatch opens and the door slowly drops.
Uniforms march two by two, side by side,
Gloved hands raise to salute those who died.
Flages drape the coffins as they are carried away
Comrades in arms they will be to this day.
Heroes of war who have paid the price
Coming back home to their loved ones cries.
They are moved to the grave as the bugler plays taps
Young children watch from their mother's laps.
The rifles' repeat echoes off the banks
Our heroes are resting as the nation says "thanks."
 
Do you have a Memorial Day story to share? Remember your hero here.





Sunday, May 19, 2013

Construction vs. Destruction

Construction barrels. It seems they are everywhere. No matter where I go,
the road is being worked on and all the traffic is re-routed and hazards have to be navigated. But where would we be without progress, right? We would still be on the old broken down, pot-hole filled asphalt we were complaining about before.

When we come across these road projects in our vehicle, we have to slow down or mayhem will result. You cannot navigate a highway full of concrete barricades and heavy machinery while traveling at high speed without a tragedy occuring.

The same thing is true in our decisions. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."

If we plunge ahead when making decisions, whether large or small, we can run into a lot of trouble. For example, if I am facing a decision about a major purchase and I rush into it because it sounds good, but I don't have peace about it, I just ran into a construction barrel.

Just as those warning signs are on the highway to slow us down because of danger ahead, that check in our spirit is a warning sign to lean on the Lord and not our own understanding. Doing things our own way if we don't have God's peace about it can lead to destruction.

After road repairs are completed, all the barricades are removed and we travel on a smooth surface free of potential hazards. All the warnings and slow travel were worth it now that it is over and we can enjoy the benefits of the new highway. Likewise, once our decisions are made in with the light of God's reflection, all the carefulness and time we put into it will be worth it.  We can enjoy the result of making choices according to our trust in Him.

What are some hazards you have faced when making difficult decisions?