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, November 26, 2017

The Birth of Jesus Changes a Life

Today's post is by Maria Johnson, a fellow writer and member of Word Weavers International. I know you will be blessed by reading her insight of how Jesus changed her life.

 by Maria Johnson

Just the Right Amount of Jesus

 “The reason for the season” is a marketing success story.  It’s an effective sound bite for
The birth of Jesus changes a life
those of us who “get it” to let everyone else know that we “get it” and that they should “get it”, too.
 

I realize the heart behind the message is sincere.  I’m saying the exact same thing when I encourage people to look to God’s Word for hope in mental illness. 

But we humans are flawed, and we have taken this valid encouragement and turned it into yet another requirement for doing Christmas “the right way.”  For those of us with anxiety issues, this can be yet another trigger during the holidays. 

What I try to do is think about what God did outside of the popular nativity story in Luke (Luke 2:1-20).  And I specifically try to think about not just what God did, but how what God did has changed my life.

God Became a Man

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
God has always wanted a relationship with man.  But once man sinned, we were cut off from Him because He is so holy.

He knew all along that we couldn’t make it all the way to Him.  So He came to us.  He came to me.

John 1:14 – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

There have been many times when I didn’t have the strength to do one more thing to be a “better Christian.”  I was in the pit of depression and saw no hope of ever getting out.

Jesus came to me.

The baby born in that manger, the one immortalized in plastic on so many front lawns, grew up and offered me compassion.

Matthew 11:28 - “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

When Jesus was born a human child, He brought God to the earth to meet me where I was.

Jesus Cleared a Path to God

Jesus cleared a path to the heart of God.
When God designed the tabernacle in the wilderness, two curtains separated the mercy seat, where God’s presence was, from the people.  The first curtain led into the holy place, where only the priests could come. 

Hebrews 9:3,7 – “Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place … But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.”

God had made a way to be in the midst of His people, but He still had to keep His distance because our sin could not exist in His holy presence.

When Jesus died on the cross and paid the price for our sins, that distance was no longer necessary.

Mark 15:37-38 – “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

I don’t have to go through a priest to get to God.  I don’t have to complete a checklist of tasks perfectly just to be able to talk with Him.  The only requirement now is accepting His sacrifice and His Lordship.

Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem provided hope that I could come into God’s presence.

Peace On Earth

Jesus didn’t come to earth to remove conflict. He couldn’t do that without removing free will. In the end, He will remove conflict, and those of us who used our free will to choose Him, will enjoy that eternal peace.

I have to be honest, though. The hope of eternal peace in the sweet by and by offers little comfort when I’m trapped by insomnia and all my worst fears are ravaging what little sanity I have left.

It’s then I have to remember that Jesus didn’t just come to set up a retirement plan.

What He brought instead, was a way to find peace in spite of conflict – whether that conflict is internal or external.

John 16:33 - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

When Jesus was born into the chaos of a stable, peace was born. That’s not just a baby in that nativity painting; it’s peace.

When I remind myself that I’m celebrating the birth of peace, it’s easier to let go of the need to “get Christmas right.” I can look back in thanks that He came, but then live my life today filled with all the benefits of why He came.


How is today better for you as a result of Jesus being born? Join the conversation.

TWEETABLES

Maria spent most of her life focused on the theatre, while also dealing with depression and bipolar disorder.  Through Celebrate Recovery, she has come to a place of stability and peace and is now serving as a mental health advocate.  Recently, God called her to focus on writing as her main priority and she started a Bible study blog,  God’s Word for Mental Health.

She lives in Covington, GA with her husband, son, dog, and cat.  A proud geek, she enjoys fantasy and sci-fi stories, super hero movies, and spreadsheets.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Giving Thanks in the Middle of War

by Barbara Latta

In the middle of the Civil War when brother was killing brother, the country was torn apart by
Giving thanks in the middle of war
hatred and most felt there was little to be thankful for, Abraham Lincoln made this Thanksgiving proclamation across the land.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

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, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!


Despite the strife and problems our country is facing now, we do not have the tragedy the Civil War brought to the land. We have much to be thankful for and as we come together with our friends and families this week, may we give honor and praise to God from whom all blessings flow.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!


Feel free to share your thoughts.



Sunday, November 12, 2017

He Trains My Hands for War

by Barbara Latta

If Christ be captain, no fear of defeat.
War is not a beautiful thing, but in our fallen world truth and justice demand defense.

God prepares selected men with a gift for war, for without it nations would crumble under the attack of evil and the gospel would not have a pulpit from which to be preached.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle (Psalm 144:1 NASB).

In 1745, the Reverend George Whitefield preached a sermon to troops during King George’s War. He addressed the soldiers from 1 Samuel 22:2 and based on this scripture encouraged the men to act like the soldiers of David. This great preacher is credited with the military motto: “If Christ be captain, no fear of defeat.”

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Authenticity of the Bible - Truth of Fable?

by Barbara Latta

According to Newsweek magazine, an article in a left-leaning Israeli newspaper has stated
Fewer Americans than ever before are trusting scripture as gospel.
that the Bible is not true because physical evidence cannot be traced back to Adam and Eve. The Newsweek feature quoted statistics about the Bible from an American viewpoint:

“The mounting evidence against the Bible means fewer Americans than ever before are trusting scripture as gospel. Only 35 percent of Americans read the holy book at least once a week, while 45 percent seldom or never do, a Pew Research Center report in April found. About 36 percent of Christians said the Bible should not be taken literally, while 40 percent say it is the word of God. In all, only 24 percent of Americans said the holy book was ‘the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word,’ a Gallup poll conducted in May concluded.”