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, September 30, 2018

The True Nature of God - Is it Judgment or Mercy?


by Barbara Latta

The true nature of God - is it judgment and punishment or mercy and grace?
The true nature of God - is it judgment or mercy?

Actually, it is both. But the difference is which one do we operate under?

The Bible gives us two covenants God made with mankind. The first which we refer to as the Old Testament, or Covenant, and the second is the New Testament.

Despite the fact that the New Testament tells us of Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection which gives us victory over sin, many people still refer back to the Old Testament when approaching God.

Hebrews 8:7 tells us, For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. The old covenant was a shadow of things to come and the new covenant is the fulfillment. That is not to say that we need to throw out Genesis to Malachi. These accounts are given for our learning and admonition (1 Corinthians 10:11).

But when we think God is still dealing with our sin and behavior the same way He did during Old Testament times, we are not approaching our heavenly Father using the power Jesus died to give us.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Guilt vs. Shame - What's the Difference?


by Barbara Latta

Guilt vs. shame what's the difference?
“Shame on you!”

How many times did we hear these words growing up? Well-meaning parents and teachers may have said these words in an attempt to correct bad behavior and prevent it from happening again. I suppose the thought was that if a child could be made to realize how wrong something was, it wouldn’t happen again.

But, without redemption, the fallen nature of man prevails.

God’s plan for perfection was thwarted in the Garden of Eden. Man’s oneness of spirit, soul and body became separated when sin entered the world. The conscience of man became his defining factor saying, “You did wrong.”

Blood was required so God brought the bloody skins of a slain animal to cover the guilt. The couple was forgiven.

But the shame continued. I can imagine the way their minds ran away with the accusations that came from the mouth of their tempter. “You are bad.” “Look at what you did.” “The human race is doomed because of you.”

How do we determine the difference between guilt and shame?

Guilt is tied to what we do. Guilt says, “I did bad.”

Shame is tied to who we perceive we are. Shame says, “I am bad.”

Guilt is from a wrong behavior. We can be forgiven, and the wrong actions are over.

Shame stays with us and locks onto the mind condemning us for the behavior that has been forgiven. Shame can cause addictions because the person is seeking to medicate the pain of past sins.

How do we get released from the prison of shame and guilt?  
  • Accept forgiveness. We admit we are guilty sinners, but because of the blood of Jesus, we don’t stay that way. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
  • Dwell in the presence of Christ to stay focused on the redemption we have been given. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine neither can you, unless you abide in Me (John 15:4 NKJV).
  • Transform thinking. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2).

Our identity is not tied to our behavior. A born-again person’s identity is tied to Jesus. Despite our sinful actions, we are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our spirit is born again. Our soul (mind and emotions) must remain focused on the Word to agree with who we are in the spirit.

We are not shame. We are righteous.

3 ways to be free of guilt and shame
Once we agree with this truth of the Word, shame drops to the ground and is powerless.

People who habitually live in sin have been referred to as shameless. What they really are is conscience-less. God gave us a conscience to direct us from right and wrong. Even a person who is not born again has a sense of good and evil. The problem is when wrong is continually adopted in life, the heart becomes hardened and the conscience no longer directs. Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2).

These people would have experienced guilt over their behavior at some point but continuing to ignore that guilt would have produced a lifestyle of hardness toward God. In that case, they may feel no remorse for their actions, or the remorse they have felt is so repressed they have accepted the words that they are worthless, so they continue to feed the lifestyle.

So, we do want to be shameless in the respect of identity. But we do not want to confuse this term with what is considered shameless behavior, which should be referred to as a hardened conscience.

Jesus left the Holy Spirit on the earth when he ascended to heaven. He is called the Comforter for a reason. He comforts, He does not condemn. He shows us the way, He does not shame us.

A victorious life depends on knowing who we are in Christ. There is no room for shame or guilt because it has been dealt with at the cross. Our place is to receive that truth and become free.  If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32).

Only the truth that is known sets us free.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts about freedom from guilt and shame.

TWEETABLES


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Tips for Disaster Preparedness


by Barbara Latta

It’s that time of year when hurricane warnings dominate the news. Florence is wreaking
Tips for disaster preparedness
havoc on the Carolina coast and no one knows which way she will go from there. Thousands are without power and flooding is rampant.

Disasters happen every year in all parts of the world. Wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes and flooding can occur anytime. Being caught unaware or unprepared can leave you and your family without the necessary provision for life.

In the event of a disaster that does not require leaving the home, we could be living for days or weeks without electricity. 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 tips for disaster preparedness can save a lot of complications and maybe save lives:

  • Store a supply of bottled water. Calculate how much is needed for the entire family, including pets, for at least one month. If there is time before the disaster strikes, fill bathtubs with water in the event water lines become contaminated. At least then there will be a supply of water for washing clothes, dishes or yourself.
  • Keep vehicle as full of fuel as possible at all times. If the entire community is evacuating, gas lines require long waits. Also, if there is no power, gas pumps will not work.
  • Put a first aid kit in vehicles along with flashlights, a blanket or two, and a small compressor for low tires.
  • Try to keep an amount of cash on hand in a safe, but easily accessible place. If ATM’s don’t work, neither will credit card machines in stores.
  • Pre-packaged food in sealed containers is available for purchase at many outlets. Buying a few month’s supply of this type of nourishment can provide what is needed in the event stores are over-run with a stampede of panicky people. These packages only require adding water and could be prepared on an outdoor grill or campfire.
  • Keep fuel levels as high as possible in propane tanks for grills.
  • Propane lanterns can last longer than candles and produce brighter light.
  • Buy a generator.
  • Refill medications as often as possible to have extra supplies available.
  • Pack a container such as a large plastic foot locker and keep important papers such as passports, birth certificates and other irreplaceable or hard to replace items inside. Pack extra medications, water, food, flashlights, and medical kits. The entire container could then be picked up and taken in the event of evacuation.

We never know what awaits us in the future and proper planning can save us a lot of headaches and pain. Most of the time we do not think of having emergency items stored away until it is too late to do so.

What other tips could you share for disaster preparedness? Share your thoughts. 

TWEETABLES



Sunday, September 9, 2018

Remembering 9/11


By Barbara Latta

Seventeen years ago our nation was paralyzed in a day like no other since December 7, 1941.  We watched in horror as Islamic terrorists flew planes into buildings murdering thousands of people.
Remembering 9/11

Because of heroic actions by some passengers on another plane, more tragedy was avoided as that man-driven airborne missile crashed into the ground.

Here are the statistics that have transpired because of that one event:

  • 2,996 killed
  • 6,000 injured
  • 1,000 died later from exposure to debris
  • 1,883 military have died in Afghanistan fighting the war
  • 3,836 military have died in Iraq


May we never forget those who lost their lives on that tragic day; and we should always remember those heroic firefighters and law enforcement members who gave their all in an attempt to save more.

Feel free to share your thoughts or post a memorial about September 11, 2001.



Sunday, September 2, 2018

God's Labor Day - Enter His Rest


by Barbara Latta
God's Labor Day - Enter His Rest

The first recognition of a day to honor the labor of American workers was in the late 1800’s. Later, a national holiday was enacted to commemorate the achievements and contributions of workers to the economy and society.

Labor Day has now become an extended weekend dedicated to shopping and barbecues—a day of rest from the labors of jobs and a time to enjoy family and friends.

Why is it so easy for us to rest from our physical work, but resting in God is an unattainable goal?