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, May 13, 2018

Wisdom from Biblical Mothers

by Barbara Latta

Wisdom from biblical mothers
Mother’s Day is a time to honor and remember our mothers for their love and sacrifice throughout the years. As mothers ourselves, our children will be bringing gifts to honor us. When our offspring show us love their words are appreciated more than we can express.

But sometimes thoughts of all the mistakes we have made while raising our children attack us. None of us are perfect, but when we are focused on training our children in the fear of the Lord, God blesses our efforts. 
We can learn lessons from biblical mothers. Some listened to God and others didn’t, but we can discern wisdom from their lives and the consequences of their decisions, whether good or bad.

These women can show us the results of listening to God or ignoring His Word:

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Using the Potter to Reveal the Truth about Trials

by Barbara Latta

Using the potter to reveal the
truth about trials
Okay, you may be saying, not another story about the potter and the clay. If you have been in church for any length of time, you have heard sermons preached using Jeremiah and this illustration (Jeremiah 18).

This is not an attempt to re-preach that lesson; however, a recent illustration at my church showed me something else not usually seen in the potter and clay story.

A talented art teacher was our guest speaker and while he taught he created clay works of art on his potter’s wheel. Spinning the wheel with his foot, the talented hands worked the clay until the object in his mind formed on the plate. His statement that the clay is sometimes harder or softer sounds like us. Even though his hands were forming, the clay had to submit to the fingers pressing in on it. If the clay was too hard, the bowl he wanted to create did not turn out like he planned.

Creating a bowl was just the first step. If left in that state, the clay would dry but would be fragile. The artist held up a bowl that had been left in the air to dry and the edge had been broken off. When he tried to pick the bowl up by the rim, the clay, although dry, was not strong enough to withstand the pressure of his hands. The teacher flicked his finger against the rim of the bowl and the pottery made a dull klunking sound.

We all know pottery must be fired to complete the process. The next bowl on the table had been through one firing. The teacher flicked his finger against the rim and a ringing sound was heard. The firing of the clay had made the clay stronger and the sound happier.

However, that is not the final product. A second firing is necessary after a glaze is applied to create a beautiful color. But the second firing also created a more distinct and bell tone ring when flicked with the artist’s finger.

A lot of teaching has been used to say that when we go through “firings” of life we become stronger. That is not exactly true. If it were, we would all be the strongest of Christians because we all go through trials and difficulties in our lives. What makes us stronger is that when we go through those “firings” we overcome them. But if we succumb to the
Become ash or a singing vessel.
trial we become a pot of crumbled ash. Clay pots that go through firings can come out broken and useless. The difference is in the strength of the clay. Become ash or a singing vessel.

When we stand on the Word of God to withstand temptation, discouragement and difficulty we come out of the fire better than we were before and we have a song. A song of a stronger faith, a song of deliverance from our Savior and a song of victory knowing the next time we face something we have an arsenal of weapons in our fired clay.

When we realize these truths, we can view those fired times as an opportunity to become a strong vessel. Trials don’t make us stronger. Standing strong through the fire makes us stronger. God doesn’t send the trials. The difficulties come from our enemy because he wants to discourage us enough to get us to give up and stay away from the Word of God (Mark 4:17). That’s why when we stand on the Word, we can be in the fire without being consumed. And our song will keep on singing.

What does the pottery reveal to you? Join the conversation.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Will California bill AB 2943 ban the Bible?

by Barbara Latta

The chairman of the California LGBT caucus, Assemblyman Evan Low, has introduced AB
Will California AB 2943 ban the Bible?

2943 which would prevent “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” as illegal under the state’s consumer fraud law. Read about the bill here.

While the language of this bill doesn’t specifically ban the Bible, the wording is so vague the interpretation could mean anything any proponent of the bill desires it to mean.

In 2012, the California Assembly passed Senate Bill 1172 which banned health professionals from attempting "sexual orientation change efforts" (SOCE). AB 2943 stands to add more detail to 1172 by:

Prohibiting SOCE from being performed on anyone, not just children under 18;
Prohibiting SOCE as a sale or service.

Of course, supporters of the bill claim they are not trying to remove the Bible, but California State Assembly member, Travis Allen, who is running for governor, says it could.

Here is a portion of the transcript from the interview with Liz Wheeler of One America News Network and Assembly member Travis Allen:

Wheeler:   This is essentially criminalizing religious beliefs. And I don’t mean to speak in hyperbole here, but if this bill were to pass, would this prohibit the sale of the Bible, that teaches these things about sexual morality?
Allen:   Well, literally, according to how this law is written, yes, it would. This is, you know, PC culture, politically correct culture, gone horribly awry. This is really directly hitting at our First Amendment rights as American citizens. Now the Democrat legislators in this building, right behind me, the California state legislature, they want to tell you how to think, what sort of books that you can read, write and purchase.

The love of Christ has the power to transform every life.
While it is difficult to find an unbiased news agency, it is our responsibility as Christians and as American citizens to remain informed of what is going on in the world around us. These laws affect our lives and the lives of future generations.

So, what can we do?
  • Pray
  • Contact legislators
  • Support conservative legal agencies
  • Be willing to take a stand

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

Our fight is not against people, it is against the evil spirits in the world who deceive souls into acting out the lies whispered into their minds. The remedy is to proclaim the gospel, the love of Christ, who truly does have the power to transform every life who will submit to Him.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

9 Tips to Define Your Purpose in Life

by Barbara Latta

Do you ever get confused about your purpose in life?

How can you know your calling?
Are you confused about your purpose in life?

Do you question whether you are pursuing God’s will or not?

We can learn a lot from Nehemiah about fulfilling the dream God has called us to achieve.

For example, I feel called to write. I didn’t pursue this plan in my younger years, but I never had a settled feeling until I started to seek this goal. Each of us has reason to be here. Until we discover that objective we will not be fulfilled, and we are missing the ability to bless others.

These 9 tips can guide you to follow your destiny:

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Gun Control Doesn't Address the Real Issue, the Real Issue is...

by Barbara Latta
Gun control doesn't address the real issue

Waking up to the news of another shooting has become too common. Gun control is always at the forefront of politics and becomes more prevalent with every act committed with a firearm. The second amendment is defended by those who want to keep their guns, and those on the other side think confiscating all guns will stop murder.

If every gun was disposed of, murder and violence would still be prevalent. Cain killed Abel with a rock. Guns weren’t available and Cain still committed murder. When a person harbors hatred in their heart, violence will be the result. Bare hands can kill.

Cain became angry and jealous because God accepted his brother, Abel’s, sacrifice but did not accept Cain’s. Cain obviously didn’t follow God’s command about the sacrificial offering or his would have been accepted, as well.

God addressed the issue before the murder took place.

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Genesis 4:7)

God was telling Cain to take care of the issue in his heart before he acted on sin’s desire. Rule over it.

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5:21-22a).

So you see, it’s not a gun control issue—

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The Passover Lamb and the Eternal Change that Took Place in Jesus

by Barbara Latta

God had to show us choosing the lamb was personal.
Something so precious had to die so something so ugly could live.

Before the first Passover, the Hebrews were commanded to choose an unblemished lamb on the tenth of the month (Exodus 12). They were to take it home, nourish it, cherish it, feed it and let it live with them until the fourteenth of that month. By that time, the animal would have bonded with the family and become a pet.

Now it was time to kill it.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Palm Sunday Prophecies Fulfilled

 by Barbara Latta

Palm Sunday Prophecies Fulfilled
Old Testament Prophecy
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble and mounted on the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; and the bow of war will be cut off, and He will speak peace to the nations. (Zechariah 9:9-10).

New Testament Fulfillment
And brought the donkey and the colt and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats and the others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest (Matthew 21:7-9).

The people of Jerusalem did not understand that the prophecies about the Messiah spoke of two appearances. He came the first time as the Savior and brought spiritual peace between God and man. But the last part of the prophecy in Zechariah spoke of His return, not on a donkey, but on a white horse as the conquering Judge who will rule with a rod of iron and bring political peace to all nations (Revelation 19:11-15).

Israel expected the Messiah to overthrow Roman rule.

The praise-filled words during the entry into Jerusalem had faded into curses and blasphemy as the crowd didn’t get what they wanted. Rome was still in charge and their Messiah had let them down. While He hung on the cross, Jesus heard mocking words, “He saved others, but He can’t save Himself.” What they didn’t understand was he didn’t come to save Himself; He hung there to save them.

Only those who believed witnessed the resurrection. Doubt caused unbelievers to continue to wait for the salvation from God they didn’t know had already transpired.

Unbelievers still doubt the validity of His deity and the truth of the prophecies. But the triumphant return is closer than ever before.

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Feel free to share your thoughts.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Declutter Your Space, Declutter Your Mind

by Barbara Latta

Spring gives us beautiful flowers and plants, soft rainy days and warm weather. This is the
Declutter your space and declutter your mind
time we come out of hibernation like a sleeping bear and the mood changes. I ache to get my fingers in the dirt and start the wee seedlings that will sprout into a beautiful garden. But I also see the things piled up over the winter months and spring cleaning lists start forming. I don't look forward to the work involved, but I do anticipate completing the goal of a more organized space. 

This year I chose two words as the focus of my life. One was to get a deeper revelation of the word love—as in the love of God.

The other was organize. I wanted to get my home and computer files de-cluttered and avoid the frustration of lost items. I was spending too much time trying to find things. A move last year didn’t help, because even with labeled boxes I was still on the hunt for items and frustration was mounting.

Organization expert Peter Walsh, author of Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight states that clutter could be preventing us from reaching our goals. “Clutter is anything that gets between you and the life you want to be living…that could be physical stuff …or any of those mental or emotional things that cripple you or put a hurdle between you and your goals…if you focus on the stuff you will never get organized because it’s not about the stuff.”

With that said, we need to examine our hearts and determine what is causing the pile-ups and messy stacks in our homes. Are we keeping things because of an emotional attachment, or are we following in Scarlet O’Hara’s footsteps and saying, “I’ll think about that tomorrow?” (I'm guilty!)

Keeping something we have no use for is creating clutter. Clutter in the space is also clutter in the mind. When spaces are neat and organized we will have more internal freedom which promotes clearer thinking.

Remember how much better you feel after cleaning out a closet or desk drawer? Just looking at that nice organized space fills us with the feeling of accomplishment.

Before bemoaning the fact of tackling the whole house or office, think baby steps. Start with one room and in that one room start with the desk, or file cabinet or dresser drawers. Matthew 25:23 tells us, You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things (NKJV). Starting small is the first step to organizing the entire space.

These tips are helping me as I start this project for the year:

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Women's History Month - Remembering Heroic Women

By Barbara Latta

While the names of famous founding fathers come to mind when thinking of the Revolution,
Women's History Month 2018
the influence numerous women had on the outcome of the war goes unnoticed. Without these heroic females, battles would have been lost, more soldiers would have died and many messages not transported across enemy lines.

We will never know every act of the thousands of women who gave aid to husbands, fathers, sons and soldiers during the birthing of our nation, but Women’s History Month is an apt time to remember their brave sacrifices.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

3 Keys to Staying Positive When Negativity Surrounds You

by Barbara Latta

Shootings, natural disasters and political criticisms from each side bombard the airwaves
To survive meltdowns we must re-focus.
each time we click the power button on any device. Our world is falling apart, but that doesn’t mean we need to follow and disintegrate. But how can we stay positive in a negative world and combat fear when tragedies abound?

Jesus told us, These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33 NKJV). For us to survive the meltdowns happening every day we must find ways to re-focus our attention on what is truly important.

We live in a physical world and we have physical needs and physical attacks. But our reality is in the spirit world because that is who we really are. Worldly and material things will someday pass away, so when we focus mainly on what is happening to us in the physical realm we are neglecting the most important aspect of our being.

Here are 3 keys to staying positive when negativity surrounds you:

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Sin-filled Life and a Christ-surrendered Life - Contrasting Two Billy's

by Barbara Latta

Violence, murder and theft – a life of corruption and pain filled the life of the young man
Contrasting two Billy's
known as Billy the Kid as we read last week on this blog.

He was born November 23, 1859 as William Henry McCarty and took on the alias William Bonney and became later known as Billy the Kid due to his youth. During his short life this young man is credited with the killing of eight men and numerous escapades of theft, including cattle rustling.

Only 22 years later, young Billy was sentenced to hang for his murderous exploits and after escaping jail was killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett on July 14, 1881.
His deceptive personality was charming one moment and violent the next which confused those he traveled with into not knowing which Billy they would have from one moment to the next.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Writing Your Own Obituary Reveals Dreams About Life

by Barbara Latta

I took a trip last weekend and spent some time with dead people.

As a lover of history, I enjoyed exploring the historic buildings in west Texas and across the
Billy the Kid had a reputation for lawlessness
and murder.
border into New Mexico. Reading the plaques mounted on crumbling brick brings pictures to mind of all the people who walked through the doorways and the events that transpired under the roofs of the now ancient wooden beams supporting the antique structures.

One such building in Mesilla, New Mexico housed the courtroom where Billy the Kid was tried and sentenced to hang. He escaped the jail cell he was held in and that sentence was never carried out. He did, however, meet his demise when Pat Garrett later shot him. This young man was only 22 years old, and in that short lifespan he had made a reputation of lawlessness and murder.

Concordia Cemetery in El Paso is the burial place of over 60,000 people. Some were famous outlaws and murderers whose crime spree covered decades and left destruction in their wake. One of these was John Wesley Hardin, the man who is remembered for killing more people than any other gunslinger in the West. It is reported he once shot a man for snoring too loudly.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The True Nature of God is Love, Not Judgment

by Barbara Latta

Chocolate, roses, fancy dinners, and stuffed animals are the primary gifts given for
The true nature of God is love, not judgment.

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 does the action without the feeling.

The true nature of God is unconditional love, not judgment. 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 placed the judgment of His wrath upon His own Son so it wouldn't fall upon us. 

That was action, not emotion.
Happy Valentine's Day from Jesus

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. And that is where the action comes in. When we don't retaliate against someone who has mistreated us we are reflecting the true nature of God because that is what He did for us. He doesn't give us evil when we display evil. He empties Himself and pours out a love we can not experience through human emotion.

The valentine of heaven 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.

Happy Valentine’s Day—from Jesus.

What does this love mean to you?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Walking Dead Gives Lesson on Life

by Barbara Latta

“Blood thirsty rogues and unrepentant cutthroats,” said Ezekiel as a crowd gathered around
Leave the dead girl in the grave

him. His comment was meant to describe those who were pursuing him and his band of followers.

This Ezekiel is not the biblical prophet, but a character from the TV series, The Walking Dead. I admit I have never watched an entire episode, but I have seen enough to know the humans are fleeing from zombies.

A dead body powered by an evil spirit in a post-apocalyptic world is out to suck the life out of those who are still alive. If a zombie bites or scratches a human, that human is doomed to become one of the walking dead. Wouldn’t you flee, too? A decaying, bloody skin-covered skeleton with all the characteristics of death wants your life.  Yeah, run!

The Bible says if we are born again, we are new creations. Then why do we sometimes act like we are friends with a zombie?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

5 Reasons Multi-Tasking is Not an Asset to our Lives

by Barbara Latta

Multi-tasking is not an asset
"Too many priorities paralyze us," John Maxwell.

Multi-tasking has become the buzz word for resume' writing. The more we appear to be able to do, the better we think we will appear to a potential employer. The idea is that we accomplish more in less time, but the truth is doing more than one thing at a time divides our attention and nothing gets 100% of the effort.

Here are 5 reasons multi-tasking is not an asset to our lives:

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sharing Inspiring Blogs to Read and Follow

by Barbara Latta

I thought a good way to start the year would be to share some of the blogs I read and follow for advice, inspiration and direction. The internet brings a whole new world to our way of gathering
Sharing Inspiring Blogs to Read and Follow
information and experiences.
You will be blessed by reading any of these blogs. 

Lisa Hetzel is a living kidney donor. She writes about the importance of organ donation and answers questions and dispels myths about transplants. 

Terri Webster has set up a foundation for women in various stages of need and writes to encourage and inspire hope in those who are hurting.

Bobbie Iliff shares her story of finding Christ and filling her life with living water. She will be hosting Free Beauty Treatments to Pamper and Nourish Your Soul on February 10, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the Monroe-Walton Center for the Arts in Monroe, Georgia. 

Julie Garmon has written numerous articles for Guideposts and shares lovely thoughts and encouraging posts about learning from friends, life and love.

Edie Melson shares instruction and direction about writing, social media and marketing. Her classes and blog are the inspiration that started this blog of mine.

Lori Hatcher shares posts and devotions teaching us to have a closer walk with God and listening to His voice. 

Putting On the New is a website sharing daily devotions from a different writer each day and one that I contribute to each month. 

LaTan Roland Murphy is a worship leader and interior decorator who brings decorating tips into our worship life showing us how to make everything beautiful. 

Christa Hutchins gives instruction on finding your purpose for a ministry or business and keeping everything organized. 

Cindy Sproles writes Appalachian fiction and is the co-founder of Christian Devotions. She writes from the heart about God's remedy for life's struggles.

There are many more that help me in my writing journey and my devotional walk with God. I hope you will visit these sites and see what helpful and encouraging words you can encounter for your life. Click on the name and you will be taken to their site. 

Please feel free to share any blogs or devotion sites that inspire you.

Happy January!

Inspiring Blogs to Read and Follow (click to tweet)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Can A Peaceful Mind Exist in the Middle of Chaos?

by Barbara Latta

(At the end of this blog post, you can enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card)

Every year that goes by disasters and tragedies are rampant. Because we live in a fallen,
Can peace exist in the middle of chaos?
sinful world we know these events will continue to unfold. How can we keep a peaceful mind when surrounded by chaos, destruction and evil?

Peace isn’t going to come knocking on our door and plop down in our heads. A decision must be made to keep our minds on the things of God and not of this world. While we do live in the atmosphere of sin, we do not have to let it corrupt our minds.

Here are some words of wisdom from our heavenly Father to keep fear at bay and peace at the forefront:

Focus on the Prince of Peace.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world (John 16:33 NKJV).

Stay away from bad influences. This doesn’t mean we totally isolate ourselves from the world. Jesus went where sinners were, but He went there to change their lives not to let them change His.
Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Don’t worry about anything. Worry doesn’t solve any problem, it actually can compound it by causing physical and emotional symptoms.
Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Matthew 6:27).

Be thankful. We are not instructed to be thankful for bad times but to be thankful we have a heavenly Father who is the answer to anything that comes against us.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus ( Philippians 4:6-7).

Monitor what is heard through media and politics and prevent bad reports from altering stands on issues. Political persuasions and moral attitudes should remain grounded in the Word of God.
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world and not according to Christ (Colossians 2:8).

Psalm 91:14
We are promised God’s protection when we stand on His Word and claim it.
Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high; because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation (Psalm 91: 14-16).

Peace is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and has been given to us by God. When we dwell in the spiritual realm, spiritual fruit grows and weeds die.

By implementing promises from the Word of God a peaceful year can reign despite the circumstances around us.

Feel free to share your thoughts and your remedy for remaining in peace.

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