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, September 14, 2019

Kindness Can Change A Life


by Barbara Latta

Fruit of the Spirit series  – Kindness
Read the previous post here

Fruit of the Spirit - Kindness
King David had a covenant with his friend Jonathan. Even though Jonathan was dead, he still wanted to show kindness to the family of Jonathan because of love for his friend.

Then David said, “Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Samuel 9:1 NASB).

The fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 are traits we are indwelt with when the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us. But God never changes. Even though David lived under the Old Covenant and was not filled with the Holy Spirit the way believers are today, God still exhibited Himself through David because David loved God and followed His commandments.

The kindness of the Holy Spirit shone through David to extend to Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. He found this now grown son of Jonathan and brought him to live in the king’s palace and eat the king’s food. All because of kindness.

God extends His kindness toward us…so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7).

David’s favor toward Mephibosheth changed the life of Jonathan’s son. He was living in poverty and fear until the king showed him kindness. When God shows kindness to us, we are redeemed from the poverty and fear that sin brings, and we are brought into the King’s palace and we can sit at the King’s table.

Our Father shows great kindness to us by forgiving us and giving new life in Christ. When we allow Him to have control, that same kindness can be flowing out of us toward others.

The fruit of the Spirit can bring the world to the King’s table.

Feel free to join the conversation and share your thoughts.




Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Aftermath of September 11 Continues


by Barbara Latta

September 11, 2001 changed America.
Pentagon Memorial

That day changed life for thousands of people.

Loved ones were lost and families will never be the same.

Children were born that will never know their fathers.

2,763 people died at the Twin Towers.
189 died at the Pentagon and 44 at a field in Pennsylvania.

But people are still dying because of this tragedy.

First responders, clean-up crews and those who lived and worked nearby were affected by the dust and debris that remained in the area for months. As of June 2016, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s World Trade Center Health Program had enrolled over 5,400 people who had been diagnosed with cancers linked to the 9/11 attacks. More than 12,000 have related mental health issues and over 32,000 have been diagnosed with respiratory or digestive disorders.

Remembrance of those who died at the Pentagon
Our military forces continue to fight with costly consequences in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As we recognize Patriot’s Day this week, may we remember why we fight against terrorism.

All we need to do is look at the numbers—because each one represents a life.

If you have a remembrance of 9/11, please feel free to share.

TWEETABLE

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Words for the Work Week - Balancing Work, Rest and Play


by Barbara Latta

Balancing work, rest and play
Labor Day is a holiday observed in the United States to give workers an opportunity to be recognized for their labor. 

God gave Adam a job to do in the Garden of Eden before there were any weeds to pull or crops to grow. Productivity was His goal. After the fall, work became labor for survival. But God even had a plan for that. We don't have to toil in despair when we follow His guidelines for work. 

He shows us how diligent work is rewarded. Slothfulness does not glorify God and neither does running our bodies and minds into exhaustion. We should live a balanced life between work, rest and play.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Our Words - Are They Tools or Weapons?

by Barbara Latta

Sometimes silence is golden.
Words are tools or weapons


TV and radio programs pollute the airwaves with words of hatred, accusation and blame. The entire earth is filled with words that hurt other people and plant seeds of doubt and discouragement into minds.

God is listening.

His heart is hurting.

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice (Ephesians 4:30-31 NASB).

We can grieve the Holy Spirit in lots of ways, but the way we use our words must stab at the heart of God.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

What Is Salvation - Back to the Basics

by Barbara Latta

If you have been a believer in Christ for a long time, you may wonder why it is necessary to rehearse
what salvation means. And if you are exploring believing in Christ for the first time, hopefully this can illuminate answers to help you know Him better.

Maybe I am the only one whose mind does this, but there are times I can hear something in a sermon or teaching moment and it is something I have already learned. My mind shuts down and thinks it doesn’t need to listen again. But we never stop learning. No matter how many times a subject is taught, we can still glean knowledge from other teachers and have new insight into lessons.

When we go back to the meaning of salvation, it can refresh our minds to what God really did for us. For without salvation, where would we all be? Lost and without hope. So, here are a few aspects of salvation to never stop thinking about.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

How to Overcome Jealousy and Envy


by Barbara Latta

Humanity has been dealing with jealousy since the beginning of time. Our fallen nature promotes self
Jealousy
and without Christ, we are captives of this sin.

The Bible gives us several examples of people in the Bible who gave in to jealousy and the disastrous result.
  • Cain was jealous of Abel – resulting in murder and Cain becoming an outcast (Genesis 4:3-15).
  • Jacob and Esau – Jacob was jealous of Esau’s birthright; Esau was jealous after Jacob stole it – resulting in Jacob’s deceit to his father and he had to leave home; Esau lost his rightful place as the firstborn (Genesis 25:29-34; Genesis 27).
  • Joseph’s brothers were jealous – resulting in selling their brother and lying to their father (Genesis 37:18-34).
  • Miriam and Aaron were jealous of Moses – resulting in Miriam contracting leprosy (Numbers 12:1-16).
  • Eliab was jealous of David – resulting in him not being chosen as the next king because of what was in his heart (I Samuel 16:6-7).
  • Saul was jealous of David – resulting in torment from an evil spirit (I Samuel 18:6-11).
  • Michel was jealous of David’s relationship with God when he danced before the ark – resulting in barrenness (2 Samuel 6:16-23).
  • Absalom was jealous of his father, David – resulting in his death (2 Samuel 15:12; 2 Samuel 18).
  • Jesus’ disciples were jealous of each other – resulting in Jesus’s reprimand (Luke 22:24-30).

As a writer, I have many instances for envy to arise in my soul. When other writers are published and I am still waiting, these feelings could derail my progress if I let them. But God showed me what jealousy really is.

But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have selfish ambition there you find disorder and every evil practice (James 3:14-16 NIV).

I highlighted the words earthly, unspiritual and demonic because reading that can set us in our place. That really spoke to me when I read those words in the NIV. Jealousy is demonic. I don’t want anything demonic in my life, but the only way to keep it out is to be submitted to God and feed on His Word.

No matter what our position in life is, jealousy and envy can attack. We can compare ourselves to other parents, careers, possessions and titles, but the bottom line is jealousy comes from the devil.
The remedy for this is to find scriptures that help with overcoming these feelings. Here are a few I stand on:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit; rather in humility value others above yourselves (Philippians 2:3 NIV).

A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones (Proverbs 14:30 NKJV). Wow, I don’t want rotten bones!

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go for to you I entrust my life (Psalm 143:8 NIV).

God will show His plan to each of us when we ask Him to. His plan for me is not the same as His plan for someone else so I shouldn’t strive to have another person’s position or accomplishment.

These are just a few scriptures that are medicine to the soul when the sickness of envy attacks.

Feel free to share some of your favorite verses and join the conversation.






Saturday, August 3, 2019

Avoiding False Vines by Recognizing the True Vine of Christ


by Barbara Latta

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5).

Jesus used the analogy of vines and branches to teach believers about our relationship with the Father through the Son.

The agricultural society of biblical times understood Jesus’ comparison because they lived a planting and harvest lifestyle. Those of us who do not live on farms must delve a little deeper into the
Jesus is the true vine.
workings of seeds and growth to get the true meaning of Jesus’ message.

A visit to a friends farm showed us how large these vines can grow. Small, curly vines reached toward the sky hiding the larger stems and growth underneath. The aged vine had grown thick and woody like a tree trunk. Roots penetrated the earth and reached deep sucking up the moisture to nourish the branches. 

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser (John 15:1).

Jesus said He was the true vine. That means there must be false vines and we need to recognize what that those false vines are so we can avoid them. Staying in the true vine gives us life.

What are some false vines offered in life?

Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Gentleness of Christ


The Fruit of the Spirit series –Gentleness
by Barbara Latta

The fruit of the spirit
The harshness of parts of our world and society create the wrong image of gentleness. This trait from the Fruit of the Spirit may sometimes be overlooked because we attribute being gentle with weakness or letting someone run rough shod over us.

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).

Here are some examples of how Jesus used gentleness when dealing with sinners:
  • The rich young ruler – Jesus told him what to do to have eternal life. The way He demonstrated this fruit didn’t condemn the seeker, yet Jesus was able to expose the condition of the man’s heart. The youth made the decision to turn away and Jesus was saddened by his response (Matthew 19:16-23).
  • The adulterous woman – Jesus was gentle toward her, yet he didn’t condone her sin. She was given the option to stop sinning and we assume she went away and did what Jesus said (John 8:1-11).
  • The tax collector – Zacchaeus was not condemned for being a tax collector which was what the small man expected. Jesus invited Himself to the house of this sinner and because of His willingness to do so, Zacchaeus saw God looking back at him and he repented (Luke 19:1-10).
  • Peter - When this impulsive follower denied Christ, all the Savior had to do was look at His disciple and realization impaled Peter with the knife of regret. Yet after the Lord’s resurrection, Jesus restored Peter and made sure His follower knew forgiveness had been extended.

Every instance in the Bible where Jesus met sinners, He changed their lives by showing them the gentleness of the Spirit of God. Sin was not overlooked; rather, sin was repented of because of gentleness. You have also given me the shield of your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great (Psalm 18:35 NKJV).

Jesus changed the lives of sinners through gentleness.
But the Pharisees were treated differently because their hearts were hardened toward God. They had already decided in their hearts to reject Jesus so gentleness wouldn’t have worked with them. They had made themselves god by adding their own set of rules to the Law of Moses. Jesus knew what was in their hearts and He knew they were not going to change, so judgment was meted out to them (Mark 3:1-6, Matthew 23:1-36).

He was not gentle when dealing with the money changers who were abusing the Temple with their greed (Matthew 21:12-13).

We are told to restore those who have fallen with gentleness (Galatians 6:1-2). Someone coming out of sin doesn’t need judgment, they need restoration. This doesn’t mean sin is swept under the rug. If they are truly repentant, they have probably already beat themselves up with guilt. They don’t need others in the church helping them do more.

Restoring them in gentleness means giving them the Word of God to show Christ’s forgiveness. Showing kindness toward them without reminding them of their sin, and discipling them back into fellowship to grow in the Word will keep them out of future sin.

While someday there will be judgment extended to those who have rejected Christ, right now God is dealing with sinners with gentleness and mercy.

What does gentleness mean to you? Share your thoughts.













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.



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