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).


Saturday, July 13, 2019

8 Ways to Hear and Receive From God


by Barbara Latta

Do you have difficulty making decisions? Does God sometimes seem silent and your prayers
8 ways to hear and receive from God
unanswered? Most of us have gone through this in our Christian lives. Sometimes God is silent for a season because what we are asking for may not be in His timing yet. The key is to not give up. We need to continue to seek Him and listen for His voice.

Here are 8 ways I have found helpful to hear from God:

  1. Be available. Presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice and renewing our minds in His Word places us in a position to hear from Him. (Romans 12:1-2). Putting ourselves in a worship mindset will take the focus off self.
  2. Leave the past behind. We can’t move forward when we live in the past and dwell on mistakes and sins. This hinders our ability to hear what God is saying now (Philippians 3:13-14).
  3. Ask for revelation knowledge. (Colossians 1:9-10). He will give us understanding when we ask for it.
  4. Know that His will is available through His Spirit. He does want to reveal things to us (1 Corinthians 2:10-16).
  5. Believe we receive our answer when we pray. Make sure prayers line up with His will and are not selfish (James 1:5-8).
  6. Be quiet, listen and get rid of distractions. (Psalm 46:10). We cannot hear God’s voice in the middle of TV shows, a radio blaring or social media streaming through the computer.
  7. Pray in the Spirit (Romans 8:26-27). Many times in scripture praying in the Spirit is associated with praying in tongues. When the Spirit of God is praying from our spirit to God the Father, our mind is bypassed, and our reasoning cannot get in the way.
  8. Let peace be the guide (Colossians 3:15). When trying to make a decision and unsure which way to go, test the options with which one gives peace in the soul. When God is directing, there will be calmness and not anxiety or confusion.

What are some ways you have found helpful to hear and receive from God? Share your thoughts.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

What Does It Mean To Be Created Equal?


by Barbara Latta

The Declaration of Independence states that all men were created equal. 
The Declaration of Independence states that all
men are created equal.


It’s obvious all people on the earth are not equal. Many are enslaved, reduced to poverty, suffer from social injustice and abuse. So where does equality come from and what does it really mean?

The signers of our independence document recognized God as the Creator of all men. As the sovereign Lord, He made mankind in His image.

Each person is born as a human being with the ability to commune with their creator if they so choose.

And that is the key. Choice.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28 NASB).

Adam and Eve had a choice and they chose to rebel against God.

That rebellious spirit has been passed on to every human born since that time.

Because of that rebellious spirit, those who choose to continue to disobey God exalt themselves in some positions of authority and inflict oppression on to others.

This is what causes humanity to be in classes of inequality today.

Oppression comes from other people. Dictators choose to inflict domination onto citizens; human traffickers take it upon themselves to think they can own another person because of their own selfish desires; socialism prevents citizens from owning their own property.

The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it (Psalm 34:1).

The signers of the Declaration of Independence
recognized God as the Creator of all men.
God created the earth and gave it to the people He created. But He intended that creation to be used for good and not evil. Romans 13:1-4 tell us that God ordained the authority of government because people choose to be rebellious. But because there are evil leaders who obtain high positions, wisdom is required as to how far obedience should go.

And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s,” (Mark 12:17).
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men,” (Acts 5:29).

The Founding Fathers of America recognized that God is the giver of rights. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a God-given gift. But because of the selfishness of mankind those rights are denied to parts of the world by ungodly leaders who want to be in charge. 

Those of us who live in the United States have been given a gift that most of the world does not have. America has been a light and supportive arm to the nations of the world who have been attacked and oppressed. If that light is put out, how can others be helped? We have a foundation that was built on righteousness and that’s why our enemy, Satan, opposes it.

People are created equal in God’s eyes. Inequality comes from mankind and because of sinful rebellion the rights of equality had to be fought for. That’s what the American Revolution was all about.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

How to Live Free of the Grip of Fear


by Barbara Latta

How to live free of the grip of fear
Angels bringing communication from God to saints of old always preceded their message with “Fear not.” While the visual image of a creature from heaven would be a terrifying sight to our natural eyes, God’s reassurance to the recipients of the words tells us He doesn’t want us to be afraid.

But how do we live free of the grip of fear?

Saturday, June 15, 2019

How Can We Conquer the Root of Rejection?


by Barbara Latta

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me!” This often-taunted phrase is a
How can we conquer the root of rejection
lie. Words can hurt worse than a physical injury and last much longer. The emotional scars left behind can take years to heal if the hurt is not dealt with properly. Rejection comes in many forms such as bullying from peers or abuse by those in positions of authority.

But we can have a great life in one area and still experience rejection in other areas of our lives and the effects can be just as devastating if left unchecked.

Rejection Isn’t Always Through Abuse
My home was very loving and kind. I didn’t grow up with abuse, foul language, yelling, drugs, alcohol or lack.
But there were times when I felt the ultimate rejection.

I was shy. I didn’t initiate friendships or participation in games and sports; therefore, when teams were formed, I was the last one chosen.

I wasn’t the cute kid who won the little beauty contests. No one ever told me I was ugly, but my ears always perked up when someone else was told how pretty they were. So, my mind said, “You’re ugly.”

I was skinny and was told quite often about my lack of flesh. My mind said, “There’s something wrong with you.”

I worked hard to make good grades and when another student surpassed me, the voices in my head would start again, “You don’t measure up.”

So, do you get my point? I was allowing rejection to form in my mind based on what others were doing or saying.

Rejection can grow a root in our lives if we do not deal with those feelings in a scriptural way. The fruit of that root produces:
  • Seclusion – we avoid the risk of relationships to prevent being hurt again.
  • Anger and aggressiveness – we shun and hurt others by our actions.
  • Depression – we wallow in self-pity and the endless cycle of hopelessness and despair grows and can cause physical sickness.
  • Hyper-sensitivity – we display hurts seeking for justification in our feelings and become easily offended.


The Rejection of Jesus
No one has ever experienced the amount of rejection Jesus faced. In every area of His life, He faced ridicule and abuse in some form.
  • Jesus was rejected by the religious leaders (John 11:53).
  • He was rejected by his hometown (Luke 4:28-29).
  • He was rejected by his followers (John 6:66).
  • He was rejected by the Twelve (Matthew 26:26, Mark 24:50.
  • He was rejected by his family (Mark 3:21).

In of all this rejection, Jesus stayed focused on fulfilling God’s will. As the Son of Man, he had the ability to feel the same emotions we feel; but as the Son of God He remained true to His purpose. He didn’t let the rejection of others sway what He knew He had to do. His spirit overcame His emotions (Mark 14:36). We have the same ability to overcome our feelings by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 16:33).

The Remedy
We can overcome feelings of rejection by:
  • Putting more value on what God says about us than what other people or circumstances tell us.
  • Surrounding ourselves with others who are committed to God. Jesus didn’t avoid sinners, but when he was around them he changed the atmosphere; he didn’t let the atmosphere change him.
  • Knowing that rejection is a part of life on this fallen earth. But our part is to reject those feelings instead of absorbing them.
  • Forgiving because Christ forgave us. All those who rejected Jesus were forgiven by Him. Even Judas—the one who never received the forgiveness extended to him.

Jesus gives us value.
The ultimate rejection Jesus experienced was rejection by His Father. “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46).  He did this so we could be accepted. This was the worst thing that had ever happened to Him. For all eternity Jesus had been in union with His Father. Even after He laid aside the benefits of His deity to come to earth, He still had the fellowship with God until His Father had to turn away because of the sin that had been laid upon His Son. Jesus was willing to endure the worst rejection of His life so we could be accepted. That shows us how valuable we are to Him.

Best-selling author and businessman, Harvey Mackay stated, “Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.”

Someone else’s treatment of us doesn’t reflect our value. Jesus said we were all worth dying for. That should make all the difference in the world.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.





Saturday, June 8, 2019

Lessons of Leadership and Influence from the Apostle Peter

 by Barbara Latta

Lessons of leadership and influence from the Apostle Peter.

The Apostle Peter gets a bad rap sometimes. We hear Sunday School lessons and sermons depicting his denial of Christ, his impulsive comments and rash behavior. But when those personality traits were placed under the control of the Holy Spirit, a fire for God was started that the firehose of persecution could not put out.

Peter became a leader in the early church. His influence persuaded thousands to follow Christ and the flame that burned within him radiated out to the point that even his shadow falling over people healed them.

What can we learn from this brash fisherman turned preacher about leadership and influence?

  • Lesson: When the boat is sinking get out of it. God is there to hold our hand. When all the apostles were in a sinking boat, Peter is the only one who stepped out in faith to walk on water. Yes, he eventually sank, but at least he got out of the boat. He is the only person other than Jesus who has ever walked on water. The boat was sinking yet the rest of the guys stayed in the boat. That’s amazing. (Matthew 14:24-32)
  • Lesson: Stand up for what we believe. Peter took a stand when all the others could do was repeat what the crowds had said about Jesus. He stood out from the other disciples to declare that he believed Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus said the truth of that statement is what the church would be built upon. (Matthew 16:13-19)
  • Lesson: Allow the Holy Spirit to redirect passions. Peter’s impetuous actions implored Jesus to stay away from Jerusalem to avoid crucifixion and Jesus had to rebuke him (Matthew 16:22-23). He also drew a sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant in the garden of Gethsemane (John 18:10. Peter was probably trying to take off the man’s head and when the man ducked Peter’s sword caught his ear. Peter was impulsive with his words and actions, but his forcefulness was used in a positive way to expand the kingdom of God when under the control of the Holy Spirit.
  • Lesson: Don’t stay in regret; repent and move forward. When Peter failed, he repented. After denying Christ, he was tormented by what he had done and he wept bitter tears. He still loved His Master; that’s why what he did hurt so much. He still wanted to follow Christ. (Luke 22:54-62)
  • Lesson: Don’t fear consequences. Peter denied Christ when the Master was arrested, but this denier was the same one who preached on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 people were saved (Acts 2: 14-41). When he was later arrested he told his accusers he had to obey God and not men (Acts 5:29).
  • Lesson: Submit to God and allow humility to take over. Be willing to admit when we are wrong (Galatians 2:11-12). Peter was willing to take the criticism of Paul and allow correction. Peter didn’t take offense at this.  Peter later quoted Paul and said his words were scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16).
  • Lesson: Put Jesus first. Peter was willing to die for His Lord (John 21:18-19), (Matthew
    16:24).


I can identify with Peter in his failures. I haven’t always been obedient to my Lord. I have denied
Christ when I should have stood up for Him. I have allowed fear to control me instead of stepping out in faith. But I also want to learn from this wise follower of Christ and turn those failures into faith steps to influence the world around me.


What about you? What would you like to remember about Peter or one of the other early church leaders? Share your thoughts.





Monday, June 3, 2019

5 Ways to Handle the Offensive Opinion of Others


by Barbara Latta

The Bible tells us that words have power. Spoken thoughts can be used for good or harm. Our society has transformed into one in which those who don’t like what you say want voices silenced if words don’t agree with their philosophy. What is offensive to some is labeled hate speech and those who disagree say their critics are the ones who should be prosecuted.

Clicking the remote for the TV or booting up your 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 a key 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.

Here are 5 ways we can handle the offensive opinions of others:
  1. Realize our worth does not come from someone else’s opinion or actions. Our values come from God not the news media, entertainment industry or politics. To the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he made us accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV).
  2. Anchor our personality in Jesus and take possession of the inheritance He gave us. We have an inheritance in Christ that is far superior to anything this world can give. In him we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11 NKJV).
  3. Understand the words are a reflection of the condition of the heart of a person who probably does not know God. (In this case, I am referring to those whose words are vile, evil and blasphemous, not merely someone who differs from us.) They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart (Ephesians 4:18 ESV).  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions (2 Timothy 4:3 ESV).
  4. Allowing offense into our life doesn’t change the situation, but it can change us into an angry and bitter person. Do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you for many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 ESV).
  5. Don’t take the bait and get into an argument. The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult (Proverbs 12:16 ESV). Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words (Proverbs 23:9).
The best defense for offense is found in Philippians 1:1, "being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."

When we allow the Word of God to dominate us the atmosphere of anger will not thrive in our sphere of influence. We can't control other people, but we can control our response to them. When we stand strong and avoid being drawn into negativity, we are growing in maturity and spiritual strength. 

What's your best scripture for handling offense?










Saturday, May 18, 2019

3 Reasons Patience is a Positive Experience


by Barbara Latta
Fruit of the Spirit Series – Patience

3 reasons patience is a positive experience.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control Against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV).

You can read previous posts in this series here: love, joy, peace

As you can see in the verse above the New King James Version lists longsuffering as a fruit of the Spirit. This is also translated as patience in other versions. We don’t like to think of being patient when we want something, but to call it longsuffering makes it worse.

Why should we want to suffer at all and especially long? No way!

But when we look at the correct meaning of the word, we can get a better picture of what God is telling us.

“Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Colossians 1:11 NKJV).

Scriptural patience is defined in Strong’s Concordance as, “forbearance or fortitude.” This gives us a different picture of waiting.

Patience is simply staying firm and steadfast in our faith without changing what we believe until our answer from God comes.

We can have joyful expectancy
When a woman is pregnant, she must wait for the baby to arrive at the perfect time. If the child was born too early, it would be dangerous and the infant might not survive. The process of growing brings the product of waiting to the perfect culmination. Even when the pregnancy is not evident to all, the mother knows the process has begun. She wants to hold and see this baby, but she knows she isn’t going to do it now. There is joyful expectancy because the outcome is known even though it is not in her possession yet. Yes, there are some uncomfortable moments. There is longsuffering with joy, but it is minimal compared to the gift she will behold.

We can have joyful expectancy when waiting for promises of God to be fulfilled in our lives the same way. Our waiting can be a positive experience rather than the painful image we have of longsuffering.

3 reasons patience is a positive experience

  • Patience shows we trust God: When we don’t see the answers to our prayers immediately, we sometimes question God. When we pray according to God’s will He is working, but we don’t always know what is going on behind the scenes in the spiritual world. God brings things into our lives through other people. When they don’t respond to His direction, what we wanted may be delayed. He may have to work in the hearts of someone else to accomplish His answer to us. All this time we are waiting and wondering where our answer is. But when we hold on to the Word of God, He will come through because He does not lie. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • Patience is an example to others: When someone isn’t treating us right, our restraint against them can be an example of the way God wants them to be treated. Showing patience with them can be an example of God’s character. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
  • Patience builds our faith: When we are experiencing a trial and waiting for an answer to prayer or the culmination of a seed we planted to sprout, we can look back at previous times in our lives where God has always fulfilled His promise. We can see that an answer did come, and it will materialize this time, too. (Galatians 6:9) 

When we pray, the answer to our problems is in the development stage the same way the unborn baby
is. All the solutions God has must come to fruition before they can be born. We can have joyful expectancy while waiting for the birth of our answers if we will see it from God’s perspective. We ask, believe, meditate on His word, and know He hears us (I John 5:14).

His glorious power gives us the ability to know our answer will be born at the right time.

What does patience mean to you? Share your thoughts.






Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Love of a Mother's Hands - Mother's Day 2019


by Barbara Latta

Mother's work tirelessly to care for their children. Washing, feeding, hugging and investigating, these hands are never idle. When we become mothers, we realize what our mothers did for us. This is a tribute to my mother and mothers everywhere.

The Love of a Mother's Hands


Loving hands held me when I was small, cuddled and fed me, and tucked me in at night.
Hands would pick me up when I would fall, soothe the hurt, and wipe away the tears.
Hands would feel my head when I had a fever and dispense bad tasting medicine with a spoon.
Those hands would be there all night in case the fever returned.

Hands would cook good food each day and wave a finger if I didn’t eat.
“What about all those starving children in the world?”
Hands would clean and scrub each day 
making our home sparkle and shine.

Hands would work at the sewing machine for hours, making clothes for me and even my dolls.
Hands would hold mine when I was afraid, pack my lunch, and wave good-bye when I went to school.
Those same hands would spank me when I was bad, but it was for my own good. It kept me from being bad again.

Hands would work hard to plant flowers, and then I would bring them in for a vase.
Those same hands just let me think that was okay.
Hands endured a pet turtle in my room and helped clean out the bowl, but those hands made the puppy stay outside.

Hands taught me to peel potatoes, to sew a stitch, and wash a dish.
They held the book while it was read and pointed to words I could learn.

Those hands grew older, moved slower and were sometimes swollen and filled with pain.
The wisdom of those hands held my babies and caressed their faces.
Those hands taught me to love.

My mother's wrinkled hands were laid to rest in death's repose
But are now raised to life to hold God's hand.
And those hands regenerated with youth
will welcome me when I pass through heaven's gates.

I will hold her hand again. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Please feel free to share a tribute to your mother here.


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Why Do Some People Reap Results From God's Word and Some Reap Little or Nothing?


by Barbara Latta

A trip to Home Depot had my gardening juices salivating at all the choices of beautiful plants I
wanted to get my hands into. I had a list of what I wanted because I knew what would happen if I went into the garden center without one. And I still picked up a couple of things that were not on my list simply because they were too beautiful to resist.

I had my muscle with me so after arriving back at home, my husband was the hole digger. I supervised, of course, and placed the plants where I wanted them to grow. To ensure healthy growth and beautiful blooms, we added topsoil and fertilizer to those in the yard and used specialty soil for the plants that grow in containers. I couldn’t expect to have an abundant harvest of flowers if all I did was stick them into the hard Georgia clay we are blessed with.

And wa-la, because of the good soil we used, we will have beauty to enjoy all summer long.

We can learn a lesson from planting experiences in reference to our relationship with God. Why do some people reap results from God’s Word and some reap little or nothing?

Jesus told a parable in Mark 4 relating how God’s Word is a seed we plant into our hearts. The difference in growth is the soil, not the seed. The seed is the same because the Word never changes, but some people see different results because of the condition of their heart when the Word is heard.

The types of heart ground Jesus talked about are:

Apathetic Heart: Some seed fell beside the road and birds came and ate them. These are like those who hear a message, but are not interested or don’t care. Satan can steal the word from their hearts before it has a chance to be understood.
Rootless Heart: The next seed fell on rocks without much soil, a plant grew quickly but because it had no depth the sun scorched it because there was no strong root. The Word can be received by these people and they are happy with the message they hear, but after temptation or trouble comes they give up because they have no deep roots in the Word and there is nothing to hold them up.
Distracted Heart: The seed that fell into thorns was choked up and didn’t yield a harvest. This group of people puts more emphasis on their problems and the desire for things than listening to the Word of God so the seed has no chance to grow in their lives.
Fertile Heart: The last seed fell into good soil and grew a large, abundant crop. These are the ones who spend time in the Word listening to God and praying so the seed of the Word produces results in their lives and every need is met.
This begonia was too beautiful to resist.

All of us who have been believers for any length of time have probably been in each of these groups at one time or another. The important lesson we learn from this parable is what Jesus said after sharing this story with his disciples:

And He was saying to the, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him (Mark 4:24-25 NASB).

We can learn from planting season as we watch seeds grow in gardens. Our heart is God’s garden and it is our responsibility to prepare the soil for the seed to be planted in so we can reap the harvest of understanding and living in God’s Word.

What are some ways you plant God’s Word as seeds? Share your thoughts and ideas.


Saturday, April 27, 2019

How Can Peace Fill Our Soul When Trouble Lies Ahead?


by Barbara Latta 
The Fruit of the Spirit Series – Peace

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

Shortly before He was to be crucified Jesus told his disciples, Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause I came unto this hour (John 12:27). Then only a few days later he told them not to let their heart be troubled (John 14:1). 

How can peace fill our soul when trouble lies ahead?

The Son's soul was troubled at what lay ahead, but He let peace abide and control Him so He could fulfill the Father’s will. Jesus was telling His disciples to have the same peace.

Even though they didn’t know what lay ahead, Jesus knew they would need those words. I’m sure I would have reacted the same way the disciples did. Their Savior, Teacher, Leader and Friend is arrested because He was betrayed by one of His own. Can you imagine the shock when they saw Judas arrive in the Garden with soldiers?

Their pulses must have raced at the thought of being arrested also. They scattered like a flock of sheep pursued by wolves. Thoughts of peace were the furthest thing from their minds. Survival was. They fled. They hid. They denied. Peace was impossible. Or so they thought.

After being filled with the Holy Spirit, the same man who denied Christ preached to a city filled with people and 3,000 were saved. The same one who tried to cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant wrote, For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile; Let him eschew evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:10-11). Peter found out the peace Jesus talked about before His crucifixion was real and was also possible to demonstrate.

Jesus tells us the same thing. When our thoughts are troubled and we are pursued by disaster and temptation, where does our heart go? Does fear reign or do the Words of our Lord eliminate the terror?

Because my mind wants to wander away when situations arise that are troubling, I use my favorite verse to eliminate worry, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 KJV).

As you think about the Fruit of the Spirit that God has given us, may you also take this Word with you this week, The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless His people with peace (Psalm 29:11).

What are your favorite verses about peace? Share your thoughts.





Saturday, April 20, 2019

Why Do We Still Seek the Living Among the Dead?


by Barbara Latta

Resurrection Day. Or some call it Easter. The day the women in Jerusalem found an empty tomb where the body of Jesus was placed by Joseph of Arimathea.


Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, He is risen! (Luke 24:5).
Angels told the women why the tomb was empty.

Jesus had predicted his resurrection on many occasions, but the reality of what His disciples and the citizens of Jerusalem had seen outweighed His words (Matthew 16:21, Matthew 17:22-23).

They only saw the natural. Mockers yelled. Torture inflicted. Blood flowed. A body died.

His mother cried.
His disciples ran.
One of them betrayed.
Another one denied.

Now at the tomb, the women who loved and served Him heard the message that reiterated the Savior’s words of resurrection. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Did Jesus Really Die on Friday?


by Barbara Latta

We celebrate Good Friday as the day of the crucifixion.  Humanity’s sin was paid for when Jesus’
blood ran down the cross into the ground. His body was placed in a nearby tomb because of the Preparation Day.

The Bible says that the day after the crucifixion was the Sabbath and that the women came to the tomb to anoint the body on the first day of the week which is Sunday (Mark 16:1-2).

I was always confused about this because Friday to Sunday is not three days.

And Jesus clearly stated He would be in the ground for three days and three nights.

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40).

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Three Gardens of Doubt - Eden, Gethsemane, Our Minds

 by Barbara Latta

The First Garden

I don’t like snakes, but I know people who do. They like them because they know how to handle
them. These professionals are the experts and they know the nature of the reptile and how these creatures behave. They are not caught off guard by any attacks.

Adam and Eve were placed in a perfect environment. God walked and talked with them and He gave them everything they needed for physical enjoyment and nourishment. They lacked nothing.
Then a snake appeared.

Subtlety, lies, deception. Whispered words through the leaves of a tree that held beautiful, tasty food.
The words that went into Eve’s mind caused her to doubt the words her Creator had said.
She reached out and took the fruit. She saw it, held it, and believed the lie. She took a bite and mankind fell. They were caught off guard by the attack of doubt.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Finding Joy in the Journey and 10 Verses About Abiding in Joy

by Barbara Latta

The fruit of the Spirit – Joy

What is joy? Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness depends upon emotions and circumstances. We are happy when we get what we want, when we are having fun and when we are being treated right.

Joy, however, is not an emotion, but a fruit of the Spirit. Joy is deep within and is put in us at the new birth along with all the other fruit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. We may not always feel joy but that doesn’t mean the fruit is not existing in us.

Joy is the deep abiding assurance that God lives within us. Joy is the knowledge that we are loved, and God will never leave us.

We don’t have to feel the joy for it to be present. But we must make the decision to use it.
When situations are not pleasant, joy can circumvent what we are feeling when we stand in faith on the promises of God and rejoice that He is our Savior.

Jesus went to the cross in obedience to His Father’s will to save us. He looked forward to the joy He would have when He sat down at the right hand of God instead of focusing on the misery He was about to endure. Focusing on the joy gave Him strength.

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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

Here are 10 verses about abiding in joy:
  1. Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
  2. Therefore, you now have sorrow but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one an take from you (John 16:22).
  3. For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).
  4. Rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
  5. Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice! (Philippians 4:4).
  6. Rejoicing in hope patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer (Romans 12:12).
  7. Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8).
  8. Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart (Psalm 119:111).
  9. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10B).
  10. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand (Psalm 16:11 NIV).

The joy of the Lord is our strength, too. When we choose to operate our lives in the joy of the
Lord, the negative emotions we can feel will be overcome.

The Lord didn’t tell us to rejoice always, if it wasn’t possible to do so. And He is not telling us to rejoice that we have trouble, but that we can rejoice during the trouble because we have a Savior who has overcome the world.

When we focus on the joy of the victory of God instead of negative circumstances, we will win.



TWEETABLES

Saturday, March 23, 2019

How to Follow Real Promises in Life and Avoid Illusions


by Barbara Latta

Rainbows are illusions. Light shines through raindrops to divide the rays of light into prisms of multi-colored arcs producing the beautiful vision we see in the sky. Rainbows are a sign of God’s covenant. But some seek the illusion of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow instead of relying on the
promises of God.

Thousands are lured to find their pot of gold through lotteries or get-rich-quick schemes. Statistics show that the few who do win big don’t improve their lives; in some cases the quality of life is worse because their heart doesn’t change. The same habits and attitudes are still active, and a large amount of money or prizes does not change their motives. They usually end up poor, maybe in more debt than before. They followed the illusion and when the illusion faded all was dark again.

Others look for their rainbow by taking the easy way out through lack of discipline. Compromise. Cheating. Lying. Stealing. Whatever takes the wide road that promises life will be better if you just travel this path. There are many illusions in life. The pot of gold humans search for is not always about riches.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Honoring Heroic Women for International Women's Month


by Barbara Latta

March is recognized as International Women’s Month and most posts will focus on political and economic achievements of women throughout the centuries. I would like to focus on those who have made progress in the spiritual realm by their obedience to God’s Word.
These are merely a few of the women who have made sacrifices for the kingdom of God. Some are known, some not so known, but to God they are all famous in His eyes. They left all and followed, much like the twelve Jesus called.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

How Do We Walk in Love in a World Filled with Hate?


by Barbara Latta

The Fruit of the Spirit – Love

How do we walk in love in a world filled with hate? Die to self. 

That’s one thing Lucifer didn’t do. He exalted himself bringing hate and evil into the world. Ever since Adam and Eve gave in to the temptation to exalt themselves in the same way, selfishness has dominated fallen mankind. And love cannot be shown when self is in the way.

How do we die to self?

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Are Christians Intolerant?

by Barbara Latta
Intolerance is a word batted about like a tennis ball in the realm of politics, news and social media. A
stand against certain behaviors draws accusations of intolerance. However, those screaming these accusations are rarely, if ever, tolerant of those with differing opinions.

Because some actions and attitudes are labeled as sin, the question arises, “Are Christians intolerant?”

Let’s look at what Jesus said and did.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Growth is Determined by the Depth of the Roots


by Barbara Latta

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf does not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper (Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV).

A science demonstration I watched showed two clear bins on a table. Both contained potting soil, but one only held a few inches of dirt while the other one was nearly full. Seeds were planted in both pots at the same time. They were both watered and fertilized the same amount. In a few days the bin with the shallow soil was sprouting little green sprigs. The other one still had nothing on the surface but dirt.

In a couple of weeks, roots were seen stretching their way through the soil of the deeper pot, but still no evidence above ground.

The shallow pot had a tall, green plant. It’s roots could be seen through the clear sides and they were down to the bottom, crowding each other and filling the dirt.  But in a short time, that plant began to wither and die.

The deeper soil began to produce a small plant. But beneath that plant deep roots could be seen that were twice the size of the product on the top.

You see, roots had to be put down before life-sustaining growth could be maintained.

The plant in the shallow soil died because it’s growth was determined by the depth of the roots.

Jesus told a parable of a sower sowing seed in Mark chapter 4. Some of the seed fell on stony earth and could not put down deep roots so the sun scorched it and it died.

The seed that fell on good ground produced a crop. Ground that allowed roots to grow and reach water and nourishment.

Jesus goes on to explain the parable telling His disciples the seed that fell on stony ground is like those who hear the word of God but have no root in themselves so they fall away when Satan tempts and attacks.

Like the plant in the science experiment, our spiritual growth will be determined by the depth of our roots.

The way to grow deep roots is to eat:
I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger (John 6:35a).

And drink:
But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:26).

Physical life depends upon food. Our spiritual life depends upon continually dining in the Word of God. His Word is the seed we sow into our minds and it becomes nourishment to the soul.

One of my favorite seeds is Ephesians 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

Are your roots as deep as you want them to be? May we all, as the body of Christ, be a fruitful garden, springing up bearing the fruit of the Spirit to feed a hungry world.

Feel free to share some of your favorite spiritual seeds.







Saturday, February 16, 2019

Follow the Diet of Redemption to Lose the Weight of Condemnation


by Barbara Latta

The new year is full of advice for losing weight. Diet plans abound and most New Year’s resolutions
involve a person’s goal of shedding a few pounds. Unfortunately, very few stick to the diet because they involve too much self-control and willpower. Losing weight requires a change of lifestyle, not a temporary diet restriction.

But the kind of weight we really need to lose is the burden of condemnation. If you are a human, (and I assume you are if you are reading this!), condemnation has gripped you at some point in life. It’s a fact of human nature. Because we were born in into the fallen nature of Adam.

But God.

God had a plan that included redemption before the foundation of the world.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, redemption means the action of gaining or regaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt.  Adam incurred a debt. Jesus paid it off. That means done, complete, nothing owed.

Have you ever felt so badly about something you did that you ran from God? You felt so condemned the thoughts of “how can you approach God now after having that thought or doing that act?” I have. I let my mind condemn me until I wouldn’t read my Bible or pray for weeks because I felt so unworthy. 

Well, of course, I wasn’t worthy. None of us are. But Jesus is. When we are born again, He is in us so He makes us worthy to approach God. If we don’t approach our Father when we have sinned, who else can we go to? We can’t clean ourselves up enough. But the truth is we are already clean on the inside, no matter what sin we may have committed. The sin is in the mind or body and that’s where the Word cleanses us (see John 13:10).

Jesus came to earth as the second Adam and fulfilled what Adam should have done when tempted. Adam should have kicked the serpent out of the garden and completed God’s plan of perfection on earth. God had given him the right and authority to do that.

But Adam submitted to temptation and sin entered the world and thus the bloodline of mankind.
Jesus completed God’s plan. He didn’t give in to temptation. He didn’t sin. He became the perfect sacrifice with his blood, and He gave to us the power to be cleansed from the fallen sin nature.

But because we still have a mind of our own, we can still give in to temptation and sin. But that doesn’t mean the debt returns. Our debt is cleared. For all time (Hebrews 8:12).

But the mind will still condemn us.

The devil will condemn us.

 Other people will still condemn us.

When we give in to the attack of condemnation, the burden of sin weighs us down. That’s why it’s important to feed on the Word of God from spiritual birth so that we are following the diet of redemption. Then we will recognize those lies of condemnation and they cannot get a stronghold in our minds.

Knowing our inheritance shows us what God gave us at salvation.  Here a diet plan (all references from NKJV):
  • There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).
  • For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:10).
  • The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned (Psalm 23:22).
  • Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God (1 John 3:21).
  • Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more (John 8:11b).

Just like losing physical weight requires a change of lifestyle, losing the weight of condemnation requires a change of mindset. When we follow the diet of redemption, we lose the weight of condemnation.

Join the conversation. Feel free to add to the diet plan of redemption.

TWEETABLES




Saturday, February 9, 2019

5 Characteristics of the Heart of God

by Barbara Latta

When God sent His Son to earth to redeem mankind from sin, He sent His heart.

Because Jesus is the image of the Father.

Our finite human minds cannot comprehend the love of God because our love is usually conditional unless we are truly letting the Spirit of God shine through.

The rock in the picture was found by my mother. As she and my dad were walking one day, the heart shape caught her eye, so she kept that rock as a reminder of the love she and my dad had. It stayed on their fireplace mantle until she died, and I kept it as a reminder of her.

But this heart-shaped rock also reminds me of 5 characteristics displayed by the heart of God.

He is:

Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Origin of Groundhog Day and the Significance of Shadows


by Barbara Latta

February 2 is the day recognized as Groundhog Day. Attention is turned to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania each year to see what Phil, the famous groundhog, will do. Or in the case  of Georgia, it's General Beauregard Lee. 

Did you know that the origin of Groundhog Day has Christian roots? It began with the tradition of Candlemas where clergy would distribute candles needed for winter and place a blessing on them. These candles represented how long and cold winter would be. The Germans took this tradition further by selecting an animal, the hedgehog, to predict weather. When settlers arrived in Pennsylvania the hedgehog was not available, so they decided to use a  groundhog because they were plentiful in that area.

The legend is that if the groundhog comes out of hibernation and sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. No shadow means an early spring. Spring brings to mind new life as trees and flowers bloom and animals give birth to young. There is relief from the harshness of winter.

Shadows can be misleading.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

What are the Ramifications of New York's Change in Abortion Laws?


by Barbara Latta

The news coming out of New York in the past week has been shocking and alarming. The
Reproductive Health Act was voted on and passed and Governor Cuomo signed it into law on January 22, 2019.

The fact that New York proposed and voted on this law was due to their fear that Roe v. Wade would be overturned because we now have a president who is more forceful and outspoken against abortion than any of his predecessors.

So what does this law really mean and what will it allow?