God's Roadmap

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in his wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in his eyes (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 TPT).

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year

by Barbara Latta

May you and your family have a very safe and Happy New Year!

Thanks to all of you who have read and commented on this blog during the year. My prayer is that the posts for 2016 will be a blessing to you as I follow the leading of God about subjects He places on my heart. Feel free to leave a comment about anything you would like to read about. I would love to hear your questions.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

How to Walk by Faith When You Don' t Know the Next Step

by Barbara Latta

A popular Christmas song “Mary Did You Know?” brings to light the questions Mary could
have had in her heart. Did she know what would happen? Did she get more messages from God that are not recorded? How do you raise the Son of God? What did she tell her other children? What did she tell Jesus? Did she have to tell Jesus who He was or did He already know?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas

by Barbara Latta

May you and your family have a very Merry Christmas. I pray peace, comfort, and laughter will fill your home as you remember Jesus is the reason for the season.

Scene from The Nativity Story

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Single Parent Christmas

Today's guest post is by my friend and fellow writer, Terri Webster. 

by Terri Webster

Getting through the holidays can be especially difficult for single parents. Making new
traditions, discovering a new normal, and staying involved and connected were a few ways I dealt with the holidays throughout my single-parent years.

I remember my first Christmas as a single parent, 27 years ago. This memory is etched in my mind with countless others as if hanging on a museum wall.

My daughter was a toddler and her brother was six. The holidays that year were prefaced with the dissolving of my marriage to their father in November. Thanksgiving was a blur.
As I was attempting to pick up the shattered remnants of my life, reality of being a single parent suddenly draped over me like a sopping, wet blanket on a cozy fire.

My kids were going to be with their dad Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. To
add insult to misery, I was sure some of that time would be with his girlfriend, who just happened to be my best friend. It never occurred to me that my kids wouldn’t be with me Christmas Eve.

In the early days of our separation, and divorce, not a day went by that I didn’t throw myself
at the mercy seat of God for strength to get through each day. Sometimes I shook my fist at Him in anger for allowing my family to be ripped apart. When I quit blaming God, I found great comfort and strength, as I depended on His word daily like an IV drip.

When pouring my heart out at His feet during these scary changes, He showed me how to rise above my circumstances and discover new ways to celebrate the holidays as a family.
I went to church as planned that first Christmas Eve. During the dreaded drive home alone, I purposefully focused on the true meaning of Christmas. I thought about Jesus leaving the comforts of Heaven to come to our broken world and become the payment for sin. He made a way for me to have a personal relationship with Him that will last all of my life on earth and into eternity with Him.

I found a big surprise waiting on me when I got home that night. The gift of peace was waiting. Joy was there too, along with comfort. Exhausted, I fell into bed while listening to Christmas music. I woke up Christmas morning to my kids coming home, excited to go see our other family members.

One single mom says, “I always try and do little things with just my daughter and me, like
making funny videos, and acting silly. We’ll take a drive and I let her play whatever music she wants while we sing and dance in the car. I don’t have a lot of money so the cheapest things we can do that will make memories is what’s important to me. We go to my parents’ a lot, as it’s the one thing that has been constant and stable in my daughter’s life. She’s at the age now where she understands the true meaning of Christmas and knows it’s not about a lot of presents.”

The holidays don’t have to be about expensive presents and buying things you can’t afford.
Something else a single-parent family can do together is volunteer at a local food pantry, shelter or other outreach. This will surely put things into perspective if you have a roof over your head, know where your next meal is coming from and have several outfits to choose from every day.

Finally, whether it was December 25th, winter, spring, hot or cold, Jesus was born homeless in a stable. His parents had nothing to give Him that first Christmas. He lived on purpose. He died as penalty for our sin, then rose from the grave back to life so we could be with Him for eternity. That is the reason for the season and plenty to celebrate!

How do you handle holidays when you feel alone? Share your thoughts.

Terri Webster
Terri began writing in her private journals as therapy to cope with the pain and hardships of being a single mom. This grew into a passion to write with a purpose.
She published “Markers for Single Moms: Finding God’s Direction in the Chaos,” in 2013, facebook.com/markersforsinglemoms. She wrote and composed “When All Seems Lost”, performed by Sara Oliver, which is the inspiration for her next book, “Prayer Markers for Single Moms: When All Seems Lost.”
Other publications include stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul and numerous feature articles for a local newspaper.
Terri founded Spring Ministries, Inc., in 2011, and is a member of East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers. You can visit Spring Ministries on Facebook facebook.com/springministriesinc.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

God's Gift is Jesus

This week I was approached by a man in a wheelchair as I exited my car in a parking lot. He said he was a Vietnam veteran and he wanted some money to buy a hamburger. Rather than handing him cash, I told him I would buy his lunch. McDonald's was in the same parking area so he met me there and I asked him what he wanted. "All I want is a double cheeseburger," he said. 

He wouldn't go inside the restaurant, so I got the food and brought it back out to him. As I handed him the bag, I told him how much God loved him. I had a Bible in my car and I told him the best place to start reading to learn about Jesus. As I pray for this man, I am hoping the seeds I planted will take root in his life.

Share your stories of how you give Jesus to the world. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Miracle of the Manger and the Mercy Seat

by Barbara Latta

Have you ever made the connection between Old Testament shadows (Colossians 2:17) and New Testament fulfillment? 

Jesus’ purpose was already being displayed when he was born (John 18:37). The baby would have been rubbed with salt and oil (Ezekiel 16:4), wrapped in cloth resembling a mummy, and then laid in a manger (Luke 2:7). (Mangers were carved stone troughs not the wooden box we usually think of). Angels were proclaiming his birth.

Thirty-three years later, Joseph of Arimathea was given the body of Jesus to bury. He anointed the body with about one hundred pounds of spices, wrapped a linen cloth around the bloody sacrifice, and laid the precious gift to man on a stone slab in a tomb (John 19:38-40). 

On Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and went to the tomb and discovered it was empty.
Looking inside she saw two angels, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain (John 20:12). which paints a perfect picture of the Mercy Seat—a slab on top of the Ark of the Covenant covered with two angels one on each end.

Each year, on the Day of Atonement, the priest would sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat, representing that the sins of the nation had been atoned for that year. After Mary discovered the risen Christ, Jesus told her not to touch Him because He had not ascended to the Father. He still had to place His blood on the Mercy Seat of Heaven to atone for our sins. But this time atonement was forever. No more would there be a sacrifice made because the perfect blood had been given (Hebrews 9:11-15).

The blood shed during birth showed us He was the Son of Man, the blood shed at His death was as the Son of God who entered heaven and sprinkled His blood on the altar to atone for our sins forever.

Christmas is the manger bringing to us the blood on the Mercy Seat—the greatest gift of all.

What does that gift mean to you? Share your thoughts.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Why isn't peace on the earth?

by Barbara Latta

Glory to god in the highest and on earth, peace and good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

This verse is quoted each Christmas and  interpreted as if Jesus’ birth would bring peace to the earth. But the angels were saying that peace has been given from God to mankind because the Savior had been born to bring peace between God and man. The wrath of God against sin was poured out at the cross (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Jesus absorbed the wrath of God against mankind’s sin because God loved His creation so much He Himself paid the price which was death.

The angels proclaimed the birth of the Son of God to bring peace to men not peace to the earth. Jesus Himself said he came to not to bring peace but a sword; a sword dividing people who believe and those who do not (Matthew 10:34).

Shootings abound all over the country. Politicians call for gun control as if taking weapons away from people who are already breaking the law would cause them to obey the law to get rid of their guns.

After the tragedy in California this week headlines in papers have said “Why isn’t God doing
anything about it; He isn’t answering prayers.”

What these uninformed people do not realize is God gave control of the earth to Adam and Eve at creation (Genesis 1:28). They disobeyed God and gave the dominion God had bestowed upon them to Satan.

Satan retained that dominion on the earth until Jesus died and was resurrected. Christ went into hell to disarm the devil and buy back what mankind lost (Colossians 1:13). Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus gave His disciples the authority He had (Matthew 28:18-19).

The problem is we do not dig into the Word to find out what we have been given so therefore we do not use it. We act as if God is in heaven pulling the strings on puppets, so when something tragic happens it must be His fault.

God gave choice to man. Man can choose to do evil or good. When evil is the choice the populations blames God because He didn’t do anything about it. But God put us in charge of the earth (Psalm 115:16) and we are not doing enough to stop the spread of evil. We can’t simply fold our hands and pray to God to stop things. We need to pray for revelation
knowledge of what we need to do ((Ephesians 1:17), stand on the Word for protection (Psalm 91), and spread the gospel around the world to change people’s hearts (Mark 16:15).

The earth will only have peace when the Prince of peace rules the earth (Revelation 21:3). Until then we must stand against evil and trust God for peace in our hearts. When more people have peace in their hearts, violence will stop.

God loves you and sent His Son to give us peace. Do you have peace in your heart? If not, all you have to do is ask Jesus to come in and forgive your sin. Then peace will be yours.

For more teaching on this subject, read Andrew Wommack's article, The War is Over.

Share your thoughts.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Avoid the Hectic Activity of Christmas by Focusing on the King

Christmas with the Kranks
 Several years ago the movie Christmas with the Kranks, based on the book Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, revealed a humorous look at the hectic activities of Christmas and all that is involved in trying to keep up with the traditions and expectations of other people.  Luther and Nora Krank, played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, are a couple who usually spend thousands of dollars on holiday decorations, cards, food, and parties. But this year Luther wants things to be different. He breaks the news to Nora that they are going to skip Christmas because their daughter, Brooke, is not coming home for the holidays. He produces cruise tickets to replace the yearly decorating frenzy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Revolutionary Thanksgiving Proclamation

by Barbara Latta

On November 1, 1777, the Continental Congress made a Thanksgiving Proclamation. This was the first observance of a national day of giving thanks.The entire document can be read by clicking on the link below.

Happy Thanksgiving!

George Washington in prayer

Continental Congress Thanksgiving Proclamation

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Withholding Thanks Hardens Hearts

by Barbara Latta

Self can become a god
One of the signs of the end times is being unthankful (2 Timothy 3:2). All one has to do is see a news report for a few minutes to know ingratitude and rudeness are prevalent in our society. The spirit pervading the air reeks of promoting and elevating self and selfish desires. Intelligence and technology have become a god and the “gimme” attitude has its hand out for more at the expense of others.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Build Bridges, Not Walls

by Barbara Latta

Bridges take us places and connect locations that otherwise would not be accessible. Emotional walls can close us to learning or receiving spiritual enlightenment; bridges keep us connected to God and open the path to fellowship with others. 

As a shy child, I had walls around me, but when I encountered the Holy Spirit, and through meditating on the Word of God, I became more open and bold. I am now more willing to talk to people and teach what I have learned.

How do you keep your bridges open?
Sidney Lanier Bridge
over the Brunswick River, Ga

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Are Pieces of Regret Drifting from your Life?

by Barbara Latta

Driftwood Beach Jekyll Island, GA
Ocean waves slap against the shoreline, then recede, slap, recede, slap. Each time the foam leaves the sandy shore pieces of fallen trees, branches, and other debris are left lying in the sand. Bleached from the sun and dried from the salt water absorbed on the floating journey, driftwood finds a new home on the north end of Jekyll Island, Georgia. Aptly named Driftwood Beach this stretch of sand has become a tourist attraction and popular venue for weddings.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Salute to Veterans

by Barbara Latta

Today we honor those who have served our nation in the armed forces. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard we thank you for all the sacrifices made to keep our country safe and free.

I am proud to have a military legacy in my family. My husband, Ken, our two sons, Kenny and Jonathan; my father, Lloyd Watson, my grandfather, William Watson, and numerous uncles all served in various branches of the armed forces.

Take this opportunity to recognize a veteran who is close to you.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sowing and Reaping

by Barbara Latta

Foggy beach at Jekyll
This week Ken and I attended the Georgia HOG Rally on Jekyll Island with our friends, Russ and Cindy McGee. The trip was fun despite the fact that we were on an island off the coast of Georgia and didn’t see the sun until the day we left to go home. That’s OK because at least we did not get rained on.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Are You A Mighty Oak or A Falling Nut?

by Barbara Latta

When we stand against opposition, wrong thinking, and the urge to give up we will become like the mighty oaks with the strength to shelter others from the storm and we can provide seeds to plant into their lives. Or we can give up and remain a nut on the ground that gets washed away in the storm.

Napoleon Hill said, 

"The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and scorching sun." 

I recently had a request to write an article about a subject I knew little about. I almost turned the offer down because I thought I couldn't do it. After some research and learning, I wrote the piece which caused me to stretch my writing muscles and encouraged my confidence. Had I given up I would have missed an opportunity to grow.

What opportunities have come your way to make you grow like a mighty oak? 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Time Is Our Most Valuable Possession

by Barbara Latta
Time can't be bought with money
Spring forward, fall back. We gain an hour, we lose an hour. If you haven’t done it yet, today is the day. The day time is manipulated with the goal of …what? I’m not sure anymore, but I think when this was first instigated, it was supposed to save electricity by having more daylight hours available after people came home from work. If it were left up to me, the time would stay the same in the summer as in the winter. I wish we could just leave it alone.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

God Made Life Simple

by Barbara Latta

We can't make anything better than the way God already made it. Life is simple if we will let it be His way. 

I lose my glasses, cell phone, or keys quite often. After fretting and looking for hours, I finally give up and ask God to help me and always my lost item will show up. When I let go, the solution becomes simple.

Share some ways God has shown you His glory in simple ways.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What is hallowed about Halloween?

by Barbara Latta

Families can offer alternatives to Halloween
Millions of children will be prancing about in costumes on October 31 for some fun, laughter, and treats. To them this is a day for dressing up and enjoying a sugar high unlike any other day of the year. The origins of Halloween are rarely thought of as families venture out for trick-or-treat, but in reality this day is a celebration of death and evil.

Those words are not welcomed by most because pondering the holiday puts a halt to the fun. I have often wondered why people want to decorate their home with bats, witches, devils, vampires, and werewolves. What is fun about being terrified and giving glory to evil?

Over 2,000 years ago the Celtics celebrated a day called Samhain (pronounced sow-in) at the end of the summer when the fall harvest began. They thought ghosts roamed the earth to cause mischief and bring harm to the crops. The Druids (Celtic priests) would build fires and wear masks to ward off evil. People would also wear masks in an attempt to fool an evil spirit into thinking they were one of the ghosts and the mask wearers would remain unharmed. The Celts would leave food outside their doors to prevent evil spirits from entering. Thus treats to prevent being tricked.

In the 7th century, the Pope recognized all Christian martyrs by setting aside a day known as All Saints Day. This was celebrated on November 1. Therefore, October 31 became the hallowed eve of All Saints Day and evolved into Halloween.

All Saints Day honors Christian martyrs
Over the centuries customs from various countries have become intertwined with different traditions.  Even though all costumes are not scary, Halloween is still associated with death and evil. For this reason a lot of churches organize fall festivals to correspond with October 31 to provide an alternative for children to dress up, get candy and have parties.

When our children were small we made this choice because we didn’t want to celebrate a holiday associated with death and evil. It seems the public got “tricked” into believing emulating evil is harmless.

We can still have fun and let children dress up and gobble up bags of candy without giving glory to evil forces. We can leave the ghosts and witches behind and celebrate God’s goodness that He is Lord over all evil. One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

That’s something to shout about!

Share your thoughts about how Halloween is portrayed in your community.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

God's Glory is Evident in Creation

by Barbara Latta

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (Psalm 19:1).

How can we miss the magnificence of God's artwork? The shimmer of the moon glowing over crystal water, a towering oak blowing in the wind stretching its arms toward the heavens, or a simple snowflake different in every aspect from any other all give evidence of a creator.

To enjoy the colors, shapes, textures, sounds, and smells He gives us in creation are all gifts He has bestowed upon us. He could have made everything the same and we would never have known the difference. But in His love and majesty He gave us wonders to enjoy. 

Bask in creation and thank Him for his gift. 
John's Pass St. Petersburg, Fl
What are some of your memories of enjoying creation?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How do we pursue peace?

by Barbara Latta

War is everywhere. People are in strife and fighting among themselves. How do we find peace in the middle of the chaos that exists today?

We can’t look to government or other people to give us peace. Our hearts can only be at rest when our minds are stayed on God (Isaiah 26:3).

In the middle of every news report, natural disaster and human chaos if we will stop and think about our heritage from the Lord, peace can follow our thoughts. Anxiety over world events will only fuel our fear and worry. 

One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:6-7 which says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

What are your favorite scriptures for remaining at peace?
God is our peace

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Death Where is Your Victory?

by Barbara Latta

Peggy Scrivner Robinson
This week our family was hit with the news we all encounter at one time or another. We lost someone dear to us. My husband’s aunt joined those who have gone before her and was welcomed into the arms of Jesus.

Death is a transition from a life held bound by the physical to a glorified, spiritual body that can do anything. We rejoice knowing our loved one is no longer held by the chains of this earthly life. But we still have to cope with the void left behind by their absence. It’s a ripping away of the soul because we have ties with those we love. It hurts. We know they are happy, but we grieve for ourselves because it’s painful to be without them. They are gone, but death leaves a shadow.

Jesus welcomes us to heaven
But in the pain we can have peace. While we allow ourselves to grieve, we should not wallow in mourning. We allow ourselves the memories, but not the despair of regret.
Remembering the joy that is before the loved one who has departed from this earth will bring us comfort if we will dwell on that fact instead of our loss. The separation is only temporary.

God knows our pain and He says it’s OK to cry. Just don’t forget that he will one day wipe away our tears.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” (Psalm 116:15 NKJV).

How has death affected your family? Share your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Remember Columbus Day

by Barbara Latta

Our calendar is filled with holidays and sometimes we tend to overlook some of the not so prominent ones which require us to shop for gifts or plan special meals. Columbus Day recognizes the bravery of a man who set out on a voyage into the unknown because he believed in a theory strong enough to risk his life to prove it.  The New World would have eventually been discovered by someone else, but who knows how long it would have been before another would have set out into the vast ocean to explore the world.

He is known to have said, "You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."  

We too can never cross into bigger and better things without letting go of the familiar so we can enter into new horizons.

Have you experienced a new horizon in your life? Share your thoughts.
Columbus braved the unknown

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Am I Living A Seasoned Life for Christ?

by Barbara Latta

Imagine sitting in front of a juicy steak still sizzling from the grill surrounded by a steaming baked potato topped with butter melting down the sides.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Autumn of life brings spring growth

by Barbara Latta
We need to let go of dead leaves in our lives.

Autumn leaves are beautiful. Our eyes see the color and magnificence of the season's change, but beneath the surface death and decay are lurking. The leaves fall to make room for new growth.

For us to expand and grow, we have to release beautiful things we no longer need. Growth requires releasing anything that no longer has a purpose. 

Feel free to share your thoughts

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Have Not Yet Begun to Fight

by Barbara Latta

On September 23, 1779, John Paul Jones, in command of the Bonhomme Richard, encountered the British ship Serapis. After numerous cannon hits into the Richard, the British commander asked if Jones was ready to surrender. It was then the famous rally “I have not yet begun to fight,” was heard across the ocean waves into the ears of the disbelieving British crew. Even though it seemed all hope was lost for the American ship, a crew member tossed a grenade down an open hatch on the British vessel causing an explosion. The Americans boarded the now crippled Serapis and overtook the crew as they watched the Bonhomme Richard sink into the sea.

Our country may be crippled with corrupt politicians who want to strip us of our rights and inflict unconstitutional policies, but we do not have to give up. We can learn from John Paul Jones that we can still win if we continue to fight. 

United States Capitol Building

Rally around your representatives and make your voice heard. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

7 Keys to Emotional Health

by Barbara Latta

Why are pharmaceutical companies bombarding the airwaves with new drugs promising to elevate mood and make your day better? Because the majority of the population wants quick fixes for their problems with little or no effort to solve the cause. I have heard some
Pills can't solve problems
advertisements for weight loss pills which promise to drop weight like a deflating balloon while the consumer continues to eat whatever they desire.  Others promise instant relief from depression by asking the doctor for their product. Medication may affect body chemicals, but a pill cannot make someone happy.

Lifestyle alterations are necessary for any productive changes in our lives. These 7 keys can implement better emotional health and peaceful lives.

1.Forgive – Harboring unforgiveness can cause physical symptoms in our bodies such as ulcers, headaches, and high blood pressure. Many examples are recorded of people who have been healed of diseases after truly forgiving another. “Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Colossians 3:13).

2.Reduce stress – Examine your schedule and cut out any unnecessary activities. We all have job responsibilities and family issues, but children do not have to participate in every event the school or community offers. Limit clutter on your calendar. “And whatever you do,
Cut activities
do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23).

3.Examine thoughts – Dwelling on negative issues and problems brings more depression. You will keep him in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on you” (Isaiah 26:3).

4.Stop the comparison trap – Media thrives on the human desire to look or perform better than someone else. We all have our good and bad points, but comparison results in never being satisfied with who we are. This doesn’t mean we never try to improve, but if we have to be better than someone else before we can be happy we need to re-examine our motives.  We don’t have to own more than someone else, either. Our life’s value is not in our possessions. We don’t need a TV in every room or a new car each year. Is the stuff that will someday be in a rust pile worth fretting over? “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).

5.Have fun – Learn to relax by unplugging from electronics or anything that is a time stealer and give the mind a vacation for a set time each day. Having fun doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation. Laughing together and playing games with the family instead of watching TV can bring amazing results. “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a
Make time for fun
broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

6.Get enough rest and eat healthy – While all sickness is not caused from eating habits, consuming junk food or too much sugar brings unhealthy results. Physical ailments can result in emotional down turns. “And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).

7.Put God first – This is the most important. If our lives are
Put God first
prioritized to listen to God and follow His Word, we will be receiving instructions to keep ourselves from falling into pits of depression and despair. Making time in prayer and Bible study will set us up for success during the remaining hours of the day.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:34).

What are some other keys you can add to this list? Share your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Discipline Bridge

by Barbara Latta
Discipline is our bridge to reaching goals.

I have heard the advice of so many writing mentors ringing in my ears, "butt in chair." Nothing will be achieved without disciplining myself to sit in the chair and finish the story, article, or devotion. We will only realize our goals when we cross the discipline bridge.

Share some of your goals and how discipline helped your reach your objective.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Will I Stand During Adversity?

by Barbara Latta

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8 NKJV).

Our world is full of values and attitudes that are contrary to God’s instructions. Morals, finances, relationships, child discipline, and education are just some of the issues our society sets standards for.
Which way will we go?

Our question as believers is, “Which parameter will I live by, the world’s or God’s?

We once toured the Dinosaur Resource Center in Colorado. Relics from the past were hanging from the ceiling, mounted on displays, and enclosed in glass cases. The evidence of these enormous creatures roaming the earth is undeniable.  

Evolutionists claim these animals existed millions of years ago. However, biblical scholars date the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden at approximately 6,000 years ago. So how can the claim of millions-of-year-old fossils fit into the Genesis account of creation?   I researched information on creationist websites which back up their scientific findings with scripture. Physical evidence showed me how the flood of Noah could do all the things to the earth in a short time that evolutionists say took millions of years.

This is just one example of things we encounter regularly that can make us question the truth of the Bible. Newspapers, magazines, movies, TV shows, textbooks, and just someone
Dinosaurs do not prove evolution
else’s opinion can inundate us with ideas that can cause doubt and unbelief.  Someone once said, “If you don’t believe something, you’ll fall for anything.”  

How can we be a light to the world if we don’t have a good foundation of what we believe? Each issue of today needs to be examined in the light of God’s Word so we can know the truth instead of someone’s opinion; then when our beliefs are challenged we won’t falter.

A few days ago a Kentucky court clerk named Kim Davis experienced this test first hand. The world says she failed, but God says she passed the test of faithfulness. She stood strong on His Word in the face of adversity and she will be tested again because this persecution is not over.

A life free of trials would be a comfortable existence; but Jesus said if the world hated Him, they will hate us (John 15:18). “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV).

The Bible should be our standard
Before He left the earth, Jesus encouraged his disciples with these words, “when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads,because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28 NKJV).

Society’s standards change with each person’s politically correct opinion. However, if you are established in Christ, you will not be deceived.

Do you know the foundations for what you believe?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Do We Really Remember 9/11?

by Barbara Latta

9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon

Muslims attacked and killed thousands of Americans on September 11, 2001. We said we would never forget. Yet in 2008 this country elected a Muslim as President of the United States. The government twists and turns to protect the rights of this group under the guise of freedom of religion, yet Christians are targeted and forced to give up rights due to new laws that have been passed.  Muslim bakers are not forced to make wedding cakes for homosexual marriages, but Christian-owned bakeries must go out of business for refusing the same thing. 

This week a Muslim flight attendant complained her religious freedom was violated because she was required to serve alcohol to passengers. Why would you apply for a job you knew had job requirements your religion prohibited? Sounds suspicious to me.
Memorial plaque at the Pentagon

A court clerk in Kentucky is in jail because of her beliefs, but a Muslim will get protected. It hasn't happened yet, but probably will because the government is too cowardly to stand up against them. This is clearly discrimination.

A Christian man has been in prison for three years because of his faith. He is an American citizen, but rather than bargain for his release, the Obama administration gives a nuclear weapon to Iran. 

We are told to be tolerant of Islam. Why should I tolerate beheadings, planes blowing up, children being raped, and villages burned? ISIS runs rampant because no one, including our government, will do anything about them. 

Do we really remember 9/11 or do we just not care anymore?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Bitterness and Unforgiveness Steal From Life

by Barbara Latta

Last week we talked about the difference between our spirit and our soul. We found out our soul contains our emotions and decision-making abilities. Today we will further examine the consequences of letting our feelings control our actions by delving into bitterness and unforgiveness.

Summer in Georgia means lots and lots of peaches. One of the favorite things Ken and I
Ken enjoying peach ice cream
love to do is ride our motorcycle to the peach orchards and enjoy peach ice cream. We always bring home a bag of fruit as big as our tour pack will hold. Most of the time the fruit is perfect, juicy, and sweet, but on one occasion I bit into the blushing flesh and received a painful surprise.

The fruit I ate left a bitter taste in my mouth and made me long for the sweetness of relief. What looked good on the outside was deceiving because the first bite revealed what was on the inside. The taste lingered long after I spit it out. 

Bitterness can build up from hurts and rejection over time. We may look good on the outside but the inside is as bitter as the fruit I ate. We think we are protecting ourselves from further hurt, but all it does is damage us and those we love.

When I was a child, I harbored bitter feelings toward a teacher I had in school because of the strictness of her methods. My grades fell and my opinion of myself fell even further. Years later, after I was an adult, I was still harboring these feelings because the cost from this experience during my school years was great and had lasting implications. It took a long time before I realized my emotions were actually bitterness and blame, and my way of dealing with the hurt was to talk negatively about the teacher. When I finally realized what was growing within me, I turned to the Word and knew I had to forgive in my heart.

What is the difference in bitterness and unforgiveness?

Unforgiveness causes pain to everyone
Bitterness leaves rottenness in our emotions which result in sarcastic comments, mood swings, withdrawal, self-pity, and physical maladies. Diseases such as ulcers, increased blood pressure, and admission to mental hospitals have been related to harboring bitterness in a person’s soul.

Unforgiveness means a person is out for revenge. They are seeking to harm or pay back someone who has hurt them. They feel the offender is getting away with something and life isn’t fair. But God says in Hebrews 10:30, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Forgiveness is obedience to God by releasing our right to punish someone for the wrong done to us. To put it simply, unforgiveness is the action, bitterness is the feeling.

We can hold bitterness and unforgiveness in our souls in different ways.
  • Against others—when people hurt us we want revenge so we simmer in the bitter soup of pain.
  • Against God—while God never does anything against us, He is often blamed for circumstances that are caused by our disobedience or by things others do. We blame Him for not stopping what was happening. Even though He is not guilty, we are angry with Him.
  • Against ourselves—we can punish ourselves for something we regret until we have internally flagellated ourselves. Somehow our mind reasons we deserve punishment so we will inflict it. How can God possibly forgive such a wrong? By doing this we are saying our sin is greater than God’s power to forgive or Christ’s blood to cleanse. Romans 5:20b says, “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.”

We hurt others and they hurt us. We all are guilty of committing acts that need to be forgiven.
But we don’t see the need of others when we are the ones who have been offended. If Jesus forgave when He had never done a wrong to anyone, how much more should we? He
Christ forgave us at the cross
didn’t ask for punishment for the ones who beat Him, stripped Him, and nailed Him to a cross even though He wasn’t guilty of anything. He has forgiven our sin. Who are we to hold a sin against another? “Even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Colossians 3:13).

Our feelings will come and go. Releasing hurts to God may have to be a daily occurrence until we are totally free. Bitterness needs to be spit out like the bad fruit I ate had to be discarded. I had to taste sweet fruit to remove the bitter taste. Eating the sweet fruit of God's word will remove the bitterness from your soul.

Every experience that has left a painful thorn in your life was healed at the cross of Christ.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3).

Feel free to share your thoughts.