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, 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.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Strong Soul Foregoes Revenge

by Barbara Latta

This tree is standing on the battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Despite the rock wall, the seed that fell on the ground decided to grow. As it grew the rocks pushed against the roots causing the tree pain. But the tree continued to press into the soil while the trunk was pushed upward. 

The tree sought no revenge against the rock wall. The oak didn't allow adversity to stop growth, or allow pain to seek revenge. Strong and tall now, the tree is using the rocks for support. 

Foregoing revenge in our soul will make us a strong as an oak. All the rocks that press against us, attack us, or hurt us are best left lying on the ground.

What are your thoughts?