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, July 16, 2017

Fulfilling the Great Commission

by Barbara Latta

Lessons on hitting the mark in life through archery.
A mission trip to the northern part of Tennessee called us to go. Our church, The Church of Joy, partnered with New Salem Baptist Church and the call of Jesus to feed the hungry, clothe the poor and preach the gospel to every creature was answered by a group of Georgia disciples.

Sunday morning worship included a message about reaching out to those around us. Giving money is necessary for missions, but going out to do the work changes more than the lives of those we minister to. It changes us, as well.

In Acts 20:35, Paul was quoting Jesus when he said it is more blessed to give than to receive and this week we experienced that blessing. Watching children of all ages gather to play games, listen to Bible lessons and feed their tummies with snacks and lunch made our hearts swell with compassion. Ministering at the Scott County Christian Care Center dug the wants of hurting people into our souls as we gave food to hungry families.

Seeing the needs first-hand grabs your heart and connects to the call Jesus gave. He commissioned His followers to go into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8). That means we start where we live and the love of Christ goes wherever we go. We walk in His footsteps and become His hands and His voice.
Scott County Christian Care Center volunteers.

We had to leave after a few days but the needs will still be there. Visions of the wondering eyes of the boys and girls who came to Kid’s Camp and the lonely faces of people who came to the care center don’t leave after we come home.

When we experience such vast lack we can become overwhelmed and feel as if we haven’t done enough. We say good-bye to those we came to love and the question, “What can I do now?” burns within our minds. But Jesus said if we give a cup of cold water in His name we have ministered His love (Matthew 10:42).

Now that we are home we can continue the mission by:
  • Meeting the needs of those around us (our Jerusalem).
  • Praying for those we left behind that the seeds we planted will be harvested (our Judea).
  • Supporting the ministry of the Christian Care Center financially and in prayer (our Samaria).
  • Support ministries that go around the world through giving and prayer. If the opportunity arises, we can go to these regions, as well  (The uttermost parts of the earth).

Feeding hungry kids with food and God's Word.
Our work for the kingdom will not end as long as we are on this earth. Until Jesus returns, we are to be about our Father’s business (Luke 19:13).

Share your thoughts and experiences with reaching out to those in need.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Flipping the Switch on the Darkness of Condemnation

 by Barbara Latta

Darkness is the catalyst that propels us toward light.

Several years ago my husband and I toured some caverns in the state of Virginia. The
Without light nothing can be seen.
stalactites and stalagmites were impressive and the constant dripping of water told the story of how these rock columns were formed. When all the tourists were in place, the park ranger told everyone to be perfectly still. He turned out the light and the darkness that pervaded the space was as thick as a solid brick wall. Nothing could be seen, not even my hand one inch from my face. 

The thought shot through my mind that without light we couldn’t get out of this hole in the ground. After a few seconds of total darkness panic had almost set in. Soon the guide clicked on multi-colored lights that had been strategically placed inside the cave and the moist cavern walls reflected the light like a rainbow. Sighs of relief were heard through the group as the lights came on. This darkness had been physically felt.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Revolutionary War Almost Ended in Mutiny

by Barbara Latta

The Country that Almost Wasn't

George Washington thwarted a mutinous attempt. 
When thinking about George Washington and the Revolutionary War we think of winning battles, crossing the Delaware on Christmas Eve and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The Newburgh Conspiracy, so called because the Continental Army was housed at Newburgh, New York in 1783,  is not one of the popular topics of discussion in our historical recollection of our country. But the Revolutionary War almost ended in mutiny.

The Articles of Confederation did not allow for taxation. Congress did not have a way to finance the war and relied on the states to make voluntary payments known as requisitions. Since the financial distribution was voluntary, payment was seldom made and the military suffered. Lack of supplies and no pay for the soldiers created unrest among the ranks.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Hardest Thing for a Christian to do is Rest

by Barbara Latta

Once we make the decision to give our lives to Christ a new life begins (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Church attendance is important
 but won't earn God's favor.
We know we have been saved from sin but then we receive well-meaning advice from older Christians.

You must go to church regularly.
You need to read your Bible every day.
Reading the Bible in the morning is best.
Reading the Bible at night is best because you need God on your mind before your sleep.
Give an offering every Sunday.
Examine yourself all the time in case you sinned.
Participate in the church.
God won’t fellowship with you if you have sinned so you must confess all the time.
Study your Sunday School lesson.
Quit all your bad habits.

The list could go on and on and can be confusing to a new Christian but trying to keep this list will not earn brownie points with God. Nothing will affect our relationship with God unless we let it. God does not relate to us on what we do and He doesn’t turn away from us when we don’t do what is right. But if we let our conscience condemn us, we can feel separated from Him because we feel unworthy to be in His presence. He is not the one who leaves, we are the ones who turn away.

I remember the Sunday School envelopes I would fill out as a child. Scores were applied to achievements such as attendance, studying the Sunday School lesson and attending worship. When I could check every box and made 100% I swelled with pride and thought surely God must be looking down from heaven with a smile on his face and putting a gold star next to my name on his roster. When I found out I didn’t earn God’s love and acceptance by what I do, I was set free from condemnation and guilt.

The hardest thing for a Christian to do is rest. We struggle to let go of works and simply accept grace.

Grace is God’s gift. No strings attached (Ephesians 2:8-9). The only requirement is to
God's gift of grace has no strings attached.
receive the gift. If we were in God’s favor because of reading the Bible, giving an offering or quitting bad habits, then our salvation would be based on us instead of Jesus. The good things we do benefit us and are a fruit of knowing God but are not how we know him.

Jesus paid the price. A very costly price. When we try to add to that sacrifice by our works we are saying Jesus didn’t do enough and we have to help Him out.

Resting in Him requires labor but a different kind of labor than our works tries to bring (Hebrews 4:9-10). We have to work to rest because most of our life on earth is performance based. Our humanity requires us to work at acceptance from employers, teachers and sometimes friends. We then approach God in the same way expecting to only receive favor from Him if we have been good enough.  

If you are struggling to earn God’s favor, rest in His grace and know you are accepted.
Join the conversation and share your thoughts.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Earthly Dad and Heavenly Father – Childhood Memories and the Role of Joseph in Jesus’ Life

by Barbara Latta

My Dad
His arms covered in sawdust and sweat, my dad would come out of his shop after working on another piece of wood he had created into a work of art. He had many hobbies over the years including scuba diving, leathercraft and archery, but woodworking was his favorite. Photography was another at the top of the list that he developed into a sideline business. He was busy week after week recording on film the memories of weddings, graduations, school functions and sports. My brothers and I were among the subject matter for photo practice and our images filled up numerous photo albums. I spent a lot of time with him in his darkroom watching the magic of glossy paper immersed in chemicals become a black and white photo. Ah, the days of film. Eastman Kodak never dreamed the days of celluloid would end.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

How Baby Boomers can reach Millennials with the Gospel

by Barbara Latta

The generation of Millennials and Gen Xers spans the period between the early 1980’s and
Millennials live on social media.
ending in the early 2000’s. Most Baby Boomers are afraid of them because older people don't know how to relate to the younger way of thinking so reaching Millennials with the gospel remains a challenge.

Millennials and Gen Xers grew up in a technological age while those in my generation groan every time a new gadget comes out that has to be learned. We do what we can get by, but Millennials and Gen Xers fight to be the first in line when a new advancement is released on the market.This group lives on social media. Their life would disappear without electronic connections. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

What has happened to a biblical worldview?

by Barbara Latta
The number of people with a biblical worldview has declined.

Social media is buzzing about the recent transgression of CNN’s Kathy Griffin. The deplorable act of holding up a bloodied effigy of President Trump can only be taken as a threat to his life. Many others in despair over the presidential election have taken similar actions with slurs and outrageous signs. Thankfully, enough viewers spoke up and she was removed from their lineup.  But she is already crying “victim” as if she were the one being attacked. Political correctness at its best.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Remembering Forgotten Heroes

by Barbara Latta

Many heroes have given their lives for others.
Heroes saved many lives during all the wars and conflicts fought during the life of the United States. So many lie unknown, but their acts of valor preserved freedom and the life of their comrades.

One of the unknown stories is of Airman 1st Class William H. Pitsenbarger, an Air Force Para rescue and medical specialist from Piqua, Ohio who served during the Vietnam War. On April 11, 1966, Pitsenbarger, known as Pit to his comrades, left the safety of a helicopter to descend into a jungle under intense fire to treat and care for wounded Army soldiers of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry of the 1st Infantry Division. After landing, Pitsenbarger ministered first aid to those he could find and dragged men behind trees and logs to get them out of the line of fire. He placed those who could be evacuated into wire baskets while others were ducking for cover. He refused to be evacuated himself several times. For two hours he crawled through dense jungle looking for wounded.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Using Faith and Spiritual Authority to Speak to the Mountain

by Barbara Latta

Have you ever lost something valuable and felt that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realized the item was gone?

I recently looked through my jewelry and discovered one of the blue diamond studs my
Faith restored a lost item.
husband had given me was missing. I searched all over the floor, under the dresser, under the bed and even went through the dust in the vacuum cleaner in case I had sucked it up. No earring. I totally emptied the entire jewelry box and ran my hands inside in case the earring was stuck in some of the seams. I still did not find it.

My heart sank. I kept telling myself it was just a “thing” and yes it wasn’t a matter of life’s importance, but because my husband had given the earrings to me they had special meaning. I also wasn’t thrilled about losing something of value.

The Bible says in Mark 11:23-24, “Have faith in God,” Jesus said to them. Truly I tell you that if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and has no doubt in his heart but believes that it will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours (Berean Study Bible).

I decided to do what the Bible said and took command of my situation and said, “I am standing in faith believing I am finding that earring. I call it to come back to me the way Jesus said to take authority over our mountain.”

I then stopped thinking about the loss and a couple of weeks went by. One morning I opened the jewelry bag and that blue earring was lying on top of the earring section. I know most people would say it was there all along, but I had scoured the entire container and the surrounding area when it was lost and the jewel was not there. My prayer was answered and I received a miracle.

I can identify with the woman who found her lost coin and the joy she felt when she spied
Our faith takes the message of the cross to the world.
her find (Luke 15:8-10).

How much more valuable a lost soul is to God. Heaven rejoices when a person comes to Christ and hell loses a citizen.  Our calling as believers is to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. We may not individually be going to foreign countries, but we can support those who do and also expand God’s kingdom in our own world—which is our neighborhood, to places we go and to people we meet.

Finding the lost requires our faith whether it is an item, or more importantly a lost person. Without faith we have no message to share because our belief in a risen Savior doesn’t make sense to the world. The reason we believe can shine from our life because we have used our faith.

Share some examples of how you have used your faith.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Challenges of Raising the Son of God

by Barbara Latta

The most miraculous birth was in Bethlehem.
Stories of mothers are woven throughout the Bible. Divine intervention delivered many babies from previously barren mothers. Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel all had children after all hope had been given up. Hannah prayed for a son and God intervened. Ruth married a man the population said would never want her because she was a foreigner but her son was the great grandfather of King David. But the most miraculous birth of all time took place in Bethlehem because a virgin conceived when the Holy Spirit came upon her and chose her to bear the Son of God.

What a responsibility to be laid upon young shoulders. Can’t you see her having to bite her tongue when neighborhood mothers were bragging on their children and she so desperately wanted to 
say, “Hey, mine is the Messiah?”  And how did the other children of Joseph and Mary react when they heard slurs cast against their parents about the birth of the firstborn?

If Mary had kept a journal, is this what she would write?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

How to Prepare for a Natural Disaster

by Barbara Latta

I posted this information several months ago, but with the advent of hurricane season and
Several people were killed by tornadoes last week.
recent disastrous weather events, we all need a reminder of stay ready for emergencies.

Tornadoes in Texas killed several people and caused widespread damage to property. Flooding in several states, including my home town in Arkansas, abounded last week. Most of the time we do not think about the possibility of evacuation, but a few tips and preparedness can save us a lot of heartache if we will plan ahead.

In the event of a disaster that does not require leaving the home, living for days or weeks without electricity can be a possibility. Pre-planning can avoid scarcity and empty shelves. If homes do not have electrical power, neither will the stores, banks, ATM’s or gas stations.

The following steps can be a start in the preparation process:

Sunday, April 30, 2017

How to Grow an Abundant Spiritual Crop

by Barbara Latta
Seeds must be planted in the right type of soil.

Planting season is here. Gardeners are plowing fields making soil ready to receive the seeds that will bring a harvest in a few weeks. Water, fertilizer and sunshine will be applied to the ground where the seeds lie waiting for the nourishment they need to grow. Seedlings sprout and soon large plants produce vegetation or flowers for the gardener to enjoy.

The one who sows the seeds has to plant in the right kind of soil to expect a return on the planting. No one would expect to grow a garden planted on rocks, inside thorn bushes or in only an inch or two of dirt. Yet some Christians can’t understand why they are not receiving spiritual nourishment when they don’t have good soil to plant the Word of God into.

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.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

5 Ways to Avoid Becoming Offended by Others

by Barbara Latta

We have the power to refuse to become offended.
Clicking the TV remote or booting up the 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 the key to tell us 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. I am not referring to opinions that merely differ from ours, but the destructive, vile and blasphemous words spouted in public and over the airways in the last few months.

Here are five ways to handle offensive opinions of others:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Unconditional Love of God

by Barbara Latta

Our tokens of love are emotional.
Chocolate, roses, fancy dinners, and cards are the primary gifts given for Valentine’s Day. These are physical reminders of affectionate feelings for another person. But after the day is over, do we revert back to old ways and forget the loving things said and done because of a special holiday?

Our tokens of love are emotional. Feelings aren’t wrong, but we can’t depend on them to guide our lives. Sometimes we don’t feel like being loving, we would rather be grumpy or rude. But real love performs the action even when the feeling is absent.

God’s love is unconditional. He loved us while we were still dirty, rotten sinners (Romans 5:8). He showed the one and only kind of real love when he gave Jesus to us as a gift wrapped in a little baby to grow into the man who would have all the foul sin of the world placed upon him.

He loved us without us loving Him.

God loved us without us loving Him.
Because He loved us, we can love Him (I John 4:10). And because He loved us, we can love others. Not with a feeling, but with a showing, a doing, a becoming what He made us to be.

Our works don’t bring us into a relationship with God. Faith does that. Receiving grace does that (Ephesians 8-9). But to bring someone else into that grace requires showing them the love of the Father. The action comes in by not retaliating against someone who has mistreated us, being kind to someone who was rude in the shopping line and keeping our mouths in line with the word when we get “blessed” out. These are the actions of love despite the opposite feelings rising within us.

Heaven's valentine wasn’t a card sent through an angelic mailbox. It was blood running down a wooden cross to soak into the cursed earth. One drop would have been enough, but He used it all to show us He goes over and beyond and does much more than we need.  He paid the highest cost and we were given the freest gift. 

What does this love mean to you?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Developing Habits Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

by Barbara Latta

Make the progression toward a goal become a habit.
We are three weeks into the new year and hopefully you have written down the goals you want to achieve before December 31 rolls around again. If you made a vision board you now have a visual aid to focus on what you want to do. Now we need to find a way to make the progression toward achievement become a habit as we seek the finish line of the goal.

Once upon a time, it was thought that a habit could be formed in 21 days, but research has shown development is closer to 66 days. Once we have built our goals into a format we can work on every day, we will be making habits that can be a foundation for rising higher in our lives. This can also be a foundation ready to build on for next year’s goals.