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).


Saturday, December 21, 2019

The War is Over...Between God and Man


by Barbara Latta

Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:8-14).

Peace on earth is often associated with Christmas because of this message in the book of Luke. But political peace was not the focus of the proclamation from the angel.

The Romans still had a stronghold on the tiny country of Israel when the announcement was made. The land was trampled years later, and the temple desecrated. 

War has remained for centuries (Mark 13).

So where is this peace the angel shouted from the heavens?

They were not declaring peace on earth, but peace toward men from God. The enmity caused by sin was over.

Jesus Himself said He did not come to bring peace but a sword (Matthew 10: 34-39) and He told his followers there would always be wars and rumors of war. One of the signs of the end times is people will be fighting among themselves more and more. (Matthew 24).

The life and teachings of the Son of God causes division among people because to follow Him one must give up their own way of life and surrender to His. This causes a dying of the flesh and sometimes a dying of relationships. Division and enmity can be the result.

But Jesus’ peace dwells in the hearts of men when a selfish heart kneels in surrender to Him.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (John 14:27) – this is the peace the angels were
talking about.

Men fight among themselves because they do not have peace within. When a heart is in turmoil, a person tries to compensate with actions to try to fill the void. Addictions and evil behavior can result.  But only Jesus can calm the soul and bring peace to life.

Without peace we feel condemned and shamed. Guilt resides and reminds us of past sins. Paul wrote “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). We are not under condemnation for sin any longer. When we do sin, God does not condemn us because Jesus took the punishment once and for all time.

And this is why Jesus was born.

May you celebrate Christmas with peace in your heart because the war is over. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.


Saturday, December 14, 2019

Breaking Tradition Regarding the Location of the Bethlehem Manger


by Barbara Latta

Our information regarding the birth of Christ is limited to the details laid out in Matthew and Luke. Isaiah spoke of the virgin birth in Isaiah 7:14 and Micah 5:2 lets us know his birthplace will be Bethlehem. But there is another verse in Micah that is sometimes overlooked that tells us a more specific location and breaks tradition about the location of the Bethlehem manger.  

And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, even the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem (Micah 4:8 NKJV).

Movies and Christmas plays always portray Mary riding into Bethlehem on a donkey while labor pains are attacking her body as if she is about to give birth on the back of the animal. Joseph frantically runs from place to place knocking on doors to find a place to stay and gets doors slammed in his face with the response of “No room at the inn.”

No Room at the Inn

The word inn comes from the Greek word kataluma and also means upper room, not necessarily a motel. In biblical times, families extended hospitality to other family members who were traveling and sometimes to strangers. No room at the inn could simply mean the upper rooms were all full by the time Mary and Joseph arrived. The scripture also states, So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered (Luke 2:6 NKJV).. They could have been in Bethlehem for days or even weeks before baby Jesus arrived.

Sacrificial Lambs

I have read several articles that seem to agree that Midgal Eder, which means Tower of the Flock,
could have been the place of birth that Micah 4:8 speaks of.

This was a field were special shepherds were raising sheep for the temple sacrifices, which was on the edge of Bethlehem at Migdal Eder. The Tower of the Flock was a place where the ewes were laid when they were about the give birth. The lamb that was born was then swaddled in cloth to prevent any injury or blemish from marring the body. Perfection was the qualification for the sacrificial lambs. This field was separate from other sheepfolds as it only was used for this purpose.

When the angels gave the announcement to the shepherds, this group of men would have known the significance of the sign of the Messiah’s birth. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger...(Luke 2:7)  This would tell them to go to find the Lamb of God at The Tower of the Flock because they would have been familiar with the prophecies in Micah.

As the infant laid in the manger, which would have been a stone trough not a wooden box, he was swaddled in cloth. At his death, he was laid on a stone slab and wrapped in linen. The Lamb of God was born to die. 

The Significance of Swaddling Clothes

Bethlehem could have been filled with babies wrapped in swaddling clothes, but none of them would have been in a manger at the Tower of the Flock.

Only the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world was born at the place the sacrificial lambs were born. The lambs born at Migdal Eder were swaddled to prevent any blemishes from making them imperfect. The Lamb of God was swaddled at Midgal Eder because He was without blemish.

Where else could the Son of God be born except in the House of God (Beth-El or Bethlehem) at the place were sacrificial lambs were born?


Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

How does this information change your traditional views of the manger? Share your thoughts.


Saturday, December 7, 2019

Jesus' Birth Certificate


by Barbara Latta
Babies are born every day all over the world. In America, we record the details of the birth on a legal document to certify the parents and vital information about the child. This is then recorded at the proper entity for the state where the birth occurred, and the child is legally a part of the family.
Family ancestry searches have become a popular pastime and profitable business. Information revealed about past relatives can be fun and informative, and in some cases may be a way to make claims to property or find unknown relatives.

In biblical times, genealogies were an important part of Jewish custom. The kingly lines were kept intact in precise detail by scribes to preserve the heritage. Jesus’ earthly ancestry is recorded both in Matthew and Luke with some differences. Scholars have debated over the reasons for the discrepancies, but the most popular theory is that Matthew traces Jesus’ line back to Abraham thus showing Jesus as the promised Messiah. Luke’s line traces through Mary’s ancestry back to Adam’s son Seth to reveal Him as the Son of Man and the second Adam. (Matthew 1: 1-17 and Luke 3:23-38).

By having these details recorded in scripture, no one could debate the line Jesus came from. He was the Seed promised in the Garden of Eden to crush Satan’s head. He was from the royal line of David to rule as King. Even though Jesus did not inherit Mary’s fallen bloodline, He had to be born as a human to complete the work of defeating Satan the way Adam was supposed to.

Jesus had three women with soiled reputations in His genealogy—Tamar, Ruth and Bathsheba. Ruth was not a Hebrew, she was from an idol worshipping country. This shows that Jesus came for the entire world and not just the Jews. His love is open to all who will receive Him, and when He is received lives are changed and soiled reputations transform into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

An heir to a royal throne will have a different demeanor than ordinary citizens. When we realize we are a part of the royal family of God, we will walk in our royal right and know what belongs to us; not in arrogance, but in the humility of Christ as servants of His on this earth. We are here to minister to others the love and grace of God, but also to walk in our authority to crush the work of the devil as he tries to spread lies and deception. (Ephesians 6:10-18).


But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1: 12).

We become a part of the family of God through the blood of Christ. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named (Ephesians 3:14-15).

When we believe on His name and accept His sacrifice we are welcomed into the family of God. We are written in the Book of Life and our born-again birth certificate is final. No one can erase or take our names out of His book. We are certified in heaven because we are now children of God. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels (Revelation 3:5).

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:4-5).

Beloved, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1).

Jesus was born so that we could also be born—into the family of God.

During this Christmas season, may we take time to reflect on our spiritual heritage and the gift that our Father has given to us through Jesus' birth certificate. 

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.



Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Importance of Providential History


by Barbara Latta

Freddie Bentley, a 22-year-old British reality star said that young children shouldn’t be taught about World War II in order to preserve their mental health. This seems to be the growing trend among young people. Because they have grown up in schools where history is either not taught at all or is revised to preserve political correctness, they have no idea about the cost another generation paid so they can have their right to express themselves and the economic freedom that gives them all their “stuff.” This young man should go back and see the devastation to his own country after Germany bombed London. Had Winston Churchill not had the fortitude to say, “Never, never, never give up,” all of Europe would be speaking German and living under Nazism to this day.

The Importance of Providential History

My husband and I recently saw the movie, Midway. This re-enactment of the World War II battle of Midway depicts the ingenuity, grit and determination of a group of men who were facing a military giant that had attacked us without provocation a few months before. The Japanese Navy was superior in equipment and fighting forces. The United States had the disadvantage of destroyed ships in the water at Pearl Harbor and the loss of manpower. We were in the throes of recovering from the devastation of attack and had to scramble a Navy back together to defend our shores, try to determine where the enemy would attack next and be on the offensive to seek out and destroy.

But we did have one thing on our side—our freedom was at stake. And the fighting forces of World War II and all those in wars before that time had that truth so emblazoned upon their hearts they were not willing to give it up. The hardships of war, the suffering through POW camps, the injuries, PTSD and separations from home did not sway their resolve. And people back home were praying.


The generations before us were taught from an early age the history and godly founding of our country. Schools allowed prayer and Bible reading, discipline was enforced, and patriotism abounded. We knew the price that was paid by the founding fathers and we celebrated Thanksgiving knowing why the Puritans traveled to the New World.

There is a danger in forgetting our history or rewriting it to avoid offending certain groups of people.
We can learn a lesson from the Israelites.

In Judges 8:34 it says, Thus the sons of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. Several generations after the deliverance from Egypt the Hebrews did not know God. Over time the parents stopped teaching their children the ways of God and evil prevailed. They started worshipping idols and even sacrificing their children to false gods. Eventually the Bible says, In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6 NASB).

There were no standards. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. But what was right in their own eyes was wrong.

War is harsh, bloody, devastating and costly—and yes, it’s offensive. It’s offensive that so many must suffer hardship, wounds, and prisons so the rest of us can be free. It’s offensive that other nations want to attack and take away what free countries have. But the history shouldn’t be erased because of that. It should be remembered and learned from. What others have done for us should be honored.

We are attacked because God founded our country. That’s why the devil uses other nations who do not know God to come against us. If he stops the United States, very few other countries in the world will stand up and fight against communism and terrorism.

Our providential history is important. We were founded by God so we could worship Him. Those Puritans that sailed to the New World over a three-month journey on rough seas, little food, cold and sickness did so because their desire to worship God without restraint prevailed over their comforts.
If we don’t teach our children where we came from, we will be headed down the same road the Israelites traveled.

May Thanksgiving celebrations remind us to have grateful hearts for what we have. It was paid for at a dear price. 

And may you and your family enjoy this season of Thanksgiving!

Please feel free to share your thoughts of gratitude for our blessings.




Saturday, November 23, 2019

Taste and See that the Lord is Good - Recipes for celebration


by Barbara Latta

Our eyes are on the holiday season and meal planning and hostess duties are in full swing. Thanksgiving is upon us with Christmas following close behind.

Recipe boxes and cookbooks are being opened as we peruse the ingredients and directions for dishes we may only prepare during this special time.

God has blessed America with prosperity and freedom. As we enjoy this day, may we remember what Psalm 34:8 tells us, Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him. He does abundantly supply our every need when we depend upon His provision.

He also gave us taste buds for tasting and the ability to make food eye appealing because he wanted us to enjoy the bounty He supplies.

I would like to share some of my favorite recipes with you and hope it will add to your collection, not only at holiday time, but all throughout the year.

Potato Casserole
6-8 medium to large potatoes – skins on or one package of shredded hash brown potatoes
1 onion – chopped
1 16 oz. container of sour cream*
1 can cream of mushroom, celery or chicken soup
1 stick butter or margarine, softened
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
If using fresh potatoes, boil until done, then cool, peel and grate. Place grated potatoes or frozen hash browns in a greased casserole dish. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the potatoes. Bake at 350° 45 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
*I usually only use about ¾ of the container of sour cream, but if you want more creaminess, you can use it all.

Marshmallow Cream Fudge
jar marshmallow cream (7 ½ - 13 oz jar)
1 ½ cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
¼ cup butter or margarine
¼ tsp. salt
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan combine marshmallow cream, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil*, stirring constantly over medium heat. Boil 5 minutes continuing to stir. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stirring until melted. Add nuts and vanilla. Pour into a foil-lined 8” square pan and refrigerate until firm.
*Time this for exactly 5 minutes. Too short and it won’t get firm, and too long will make it too sugary. Don’t start timing until it starts to boil.

Orange Jello Salad
1 8 oz. container of frozen whipped topping
1 8 oz. container cottage cheese
1 small package orange gelatin
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
Stir the frozen topping, cottage cheese and gelatin until well mixed. Add the oranges and fold in carefully to prevent breaking them up. Pour into a bowl, garnish the top with more oranges and refrigerate.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and that your Thanksgiving celebration will be one of joy and gratitude as you celebrate with family or friends.

Please feel free to share some of your favorite recipes in the comments section.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Value of Time and How to Redeem It


by Barbara Latta

The recent change from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time required changing clocks and watches and adapting our days to earlier darkness in the evening.

We feel that we lose an hour each spring and gain it back in the fall. But we aren’t really losing and gaining, just rearranging. The only way we can lose time is by squandering it.

Time is a commodity we aren’t conscious of. Minutes tick by while we go about our business every day. As each second slips past, the hands on the clock have moved through a day we will never re-live.

Time can’t be placed in a piggy bank and saved like money. Hours can’t be earned like our salary. Minutes are not retrievable like lost coins. Time passes and disappears.

God tells us to redeem time, so how do we do that?

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16 NKJV).

A travel experience I had taught me a lesson about redeeming time. As I prepared for a flight, I waded through security, lugged bags up escalators, waited in the terminal through flight delays and listened to the non-stop chatter of the canned announcements telling me not to accept bags from anyone else. When I plopped down in my assigned seat, I was ready to sit on the plane and relax with my good Christian book while my selfishness was hoping no one would bother me.

How like God to show me how I was closing myself off to other people by seating me next to a woman who wanted to talk nonstop. I didn’t want to listen to this stranger. I wanted to read my Christian material. Finally, the Lord got the message through to me and I closed the book and turned my attention to my seat mate. She saw what I was reading and we struck up a conversation about spiritual matters. I gave her my book as we left the plane.

My time that day was not my own. God assigned my seat next to this woman so I could learn to listen and so she could hear His message through the material I was reading.
Each moment and each day is a gift. What we do with it determines our future and can ultimately affect the future of someone else.

When scripture tells us to redeem the time, I don’t think God is expecting us to constantly be preaching a sermon to someone. Yes, there are times we need to speak God’s Word to individuals, but the way we live our lives speaks volumes also. He wants us to use every opportunity to reflect His glory to a world full of pain, chaos, evil and selfishness.

When the Holy Spirit’s character comes out of us in our response to situations we are redeeming that time in a way that shows Christ to a hurting world.

Some of the ways we can do this is through godly character traits such as:

  • Honesty – Telling the truth has become an anomaly; no one expects it anymore and when we do speak honestly, we stand out like a beacon; returning change to a cashier who counted the money incorrectly is a welcome surprise to that employee.
  • Diligence – When we go the extra mile at our jobs and do something not expected of us or when we exert 100% of our efforts instead of simply getting by until we get paid, our actions speak louder than words to our employer.
  • Purity – Taking a stand against immorality in a world polluted by vulgar language, pornography, abortion and human trafficking are actions that defend the abuse of others.
  • Integrity – Doing the right thing even when it may cost us something exhibits the selflessness of Christ’s love.
  • Defend God’s name – In a world full of blasphemy and promotion of political correctness, standing for God is not popular.

The worldly society is not accustomed to people responding to situations in ways that put other people first.

The earth has turned, the sun has set and risen again for another day. Rather than saying, “What did I do with yesterday?”, we can look at the sunrise and declare, “What will I do with today?” Yesterday is gone and we don’t need to beat ourselves up if we didn’t use the day wisely.

Many opportunities for redeeming the time have slipped through my days. But thankfully, I am learning to listen, and I finally yielded to God’s whisper while on that plane and put my agenda on hold while I let my time become someone else’s.

Songwriter, Jim Croce, wrote about the fragileness of time in his hit single, “Time in a Bottle.” In his song, Croce wrote about wanting to spend forever with the one he was writing about, his wife, by putting time in a bottle. Thankfully, when we know Christ we will live in infinity with our loved ones; not by putting time in a bottle, but by knowing the author of eternity. But until then we do need to redeem our time, because the days are evil.

When we leave this temporary home, we are released from the bondage of time; but until then we have a calling to fulfill while we are still breathing in our bodies.

We are God’s mouthpiece and He uses us. If we treasure each moment as a gift of life, we are redeeming the time our Father has given us. When we glorify the Lord, we are shining a light during the days that are evil.

Do you have ideas to redeem time? Feel free to share your thoughts.

TWEETABLES




Sunday, November 10, 2019

Thanking Veterans for their Service

by Barbara Latta


The military of the United States is a superior fighting force. It has grown into five groups with specialties to defend our land, sea and air. This week as we observe Veteran’s Day we commemorate and appreciate all those who have served through the centuries to defend and protect America.

Army - The United States Army is the oldest branch of our military. It was formed in1775 by the Continental Congress to protect the colonies. Since then it has evolved into a worldwide fighting force with different branches such as Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery.

Navy - George Washington started acquiring ships during the Revolutionary War. He went so far as
to purchase the first ship on his own, the Hannah, which was commissioned September 5, 1775. When the war was over the Navy and the Army were disbanded because citizens were tired of war and fighting and the country was broke. But because the United States needed to collect tariffs on imported goods and also needed to prevent smuggling, Congress establish the Revenue-Marine, which was the forerunner of the United States Coast Guard. Without the British Navy protecting the colonies, the ships became fast bait for the North African Barbary pirates. The Navy was reinstated to protect our seas and stop paying ransoms to Muslim pirates that were invading the Atlantic.

Air Force - On August 1, 1907 the U.S. Army Signal Corp established a small aeronautical division to take charge of all matters of the air such as balloons and air machines. The first plane was tested on August 20, 1908. On September 9, the first air casualty occurred. The 1st Reconnaissance Squadron was the first unit of the Army devoted solely to aviation and has remained active to this day. On March 1, 1935 the General Quarters Air Force took command of all air units and evolved into our modern day United States Air Force.

Marines - Two months after the establishment of the U. S. Navy, President John Adams signed a bill establishing the U.S. Marines as the landing

forces of the Navy. Marines have established over 300 landings on foreign soil. One theory of the origin for the nickname “leathernecks” was to protect the Marines while fighting with the Barbary pirates. They wore this protective gear against the assault of the Muslims who beheaded their victims.

Coast Guard - As stated in the description of the U.S. Navy, the Coast Guard was formed as the Revenue Marine to enforce the payment of tariffs on imported goods and to guard against smuggling. In 1915 Congress merged the
Revenue Cutter Service with the Life-Saving Service as a military agency dedicated to saving life at sea.


Thank you all veterans for your service to our country.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts about Veteran's Day.

Thanking Veterans for their service (click to tweet)

Saturday, November 2, 2019

If I am a New Creation...How can I sometimes act like I am friends with a Zombie?


by Barbara Latta 


 “Blood thirsty rogues and unrepentant cutthroats,” said Ezekiel as a crowd gathered around him. His
comment was meant to describe those who were hunting him and his followers.

This Ezekiel is not the biblical prophet, but a character from the TV series, The Walking Dead. I admit I have never watched an entire episode, but I have seen enough to know the humans are fleeing from zombies.

A dead body powered by an evil spirit in a post-apocalyptic world is out to suck the life out of those who are still alive. If a zombie bites or scratches a human, that human is doomed to become one of the walking dead. Wouldn’t you flee, too? A decaying, bloody skin-covered skeleton with all the characteristics of death wants your life.  Yeah, run!

The Bible says if we are born again, we are new creations. Then how can I sometimes act like I am friends with a zombie?

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Why Do We Pursue Fear for Fun?


by Barbara Latta

Halloween. What more do we need to say to think of fear?


In some ways we want to avoid fear and in others we pursue fear for fun.

Why?

According to an article in healthline.com, when we are in a situation like a scary movie or haunted house, our minds know we are in a safe environment. The threat is not real so our bodies release chemicals and hormones that produce a high much like when we are happy or excited.

When I was a pre-teen, I went to see Frankenstein Created Woman. I had been forbidden to go, but, of course, being an almost teen-ager I went anyway. I don’t think I made it all the way through the movie before leaving the theater and I spent the night with my head under the covers and my eyes wide open.

Crowds flock to haunted houses and horror movies and some of them, like me, double lock the doors when they get home and jump at every creak of the house. Others go back for more. The reason could be that different personalities produce different amounts of dopamine which jump start the mind thrill. Obviously, I wasn’t one of those.

But in real situations of danger, the brain must determine if we are in a safe place or not. Without having time to comprehend that this is not a thrill moment, we run and scream. If we are being chased by a wild animal or being mugged in the park, the scary high wouldn’t be fun. It’s the warning needed for protection.

Where did fear come from?

There was no fear until sin came upon the scene.

The first fear was when Adam and Eve sinned and hid from God. Adam said, “I was afraid…and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10). He had never experienced fear before, but his conscience knew he had transgressed God’s commandment. He was afraid of judgement. And they should have been afraid. God told them what would happen if they disobeyed. The penalty was death. If you have never seen death, you aren’t going to know what it is, but based on the fear they felt, they knew it wasn’t going to be good.

But God’s mercy killed an animal in their place. And several millennial later, God’s mercy killed His Son in our place. Physical death still happens, but spiritual death has been done away with.

That fear factor has been passed down to all humans since Adam. And the enemy of our souls, Satan, uses that factor to incite fear and use it against us to make us afraid of God.

After all, aren’t there oodles of verses in the Bible telling us to fear God?

Yes, there are. And I discovered that the verses telling us to fear God and those where he tells us not to fear are using the same Hebrew word, yawray. That sounds confusing until the actual meaning of the word is discovered. It means to revere.

Fear God – hold in reverence
Fear not – do not hold in reverence

God is telling us to hold him in reverence and awe and using the same word in a negative context He tells us not to hold whatever we are afraid of in reverence and awe. Don’t give the fear any esteem.

There will be a final judgement and those not ready to stand before God should fear and tremble. But until that day, He is extending mercy and grace for those who don’t know him to have time to repent so they will not be included in that sentence.

That day will not be the thrill-seeking high of fear. It will be real to those who have refused the payment Jesus made. It will be a fear like nothing on earth has ever rendered.

While on earth, there is still time to repent. If you haven’t done so, He is holding out His hand to you now. The tab on this blog page titled “Knowing God” can help you make that decision.

And may you live a fear-free life!

Join the conversation and share your thoughts. 














Saturday, October 12, 2019

Lamb's Book of Life or Great White Throne Judgment?


by Barbara Latta

Each year as Halloween approaches, churches and Christian organizations sponsor events depicting the Great Tribulation. This is used as a ministry tool to evangelize lost people and reveal to them the horrors of life on earth when judgement comes, and the terror of life after death without Christ.

Some say we are at the beginning of the tribulation period or that God is beginning judgment on this sinful earth. Predictions of the rapture abound and the pre, mid and post tribulation theorists all have an opinion.

No matter which camp you are in, one thing we know for sure is that Jesus will redeem His church and He may be on His way right now to do so.

But if He doesn’t come back for another hundred years, people are still going to die. We will still stand before God and the question is:

What condition will you be in when you do?


Will your name be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life or will you be at the Great White Throne Judgment where all sinners must be judged?

While living on this earth we still have a choice. God loves people. He made a way for everyone to be saved from sin and destruction. (John 3:16)

Our part is to receive what He gave. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The god of this world has blinded people. (2 Corinthians 4:4). This is nothing new. Noah preached for 120 years and yet no one responded. But God provided a way out of the storm through the ark for Noah and his family because they believed and trusted in Him.

There is another question to ask after we determine we are ready to meet God.

Are you ready to live for Him?

I was born again when I was seven years old. But at that time, I thought that was enough. I didn't know to renew my mind. I didn't go around actively sinning, but the only way it was evident I was a Christian was because I went to church. It wasn't until later in my life, I realized I needed to let the Christ that was in me come out.

We need to do more than just believe there is a God. Even the demons know who He is. (James 2:19)
Living for Christ doesn’t mean doing things for Him.

It means embracing Him and becoming like Him. When we become like Him we then do things for His kingdom—because then it is a fruit of the relationship, not a way to obtain the relationship,
Saints of God don’t need to fear in this world of chaos. When our trust is in Christ, we can stand on His Word. We may be living through some calamities, but He is there with us every step of the way.

You will never regret the decision to live for God.
Feel free to share our thoughts or testimony.


TWEETABLES




Saturday, September 28, 2019

Gold Star Mothers Day

by Barbara Latta

Thousands of families have endured the loss of a son or daughter through war since our country has been fighting for freedom. As our service members sacrificed, so did their families. Grieving mothers held on to letters and telegrams informing them of their loss. Tear-stained pillows were gripped with hands that had waved good-bye as their solder of sailor left home and would never be seen again.

Gold Star Mothers of America was formed after World War I as a way to honor and support the parents of children who died in war. The mother who founded Gold Star Mothers was Grace Darling Seibold. Her son was 1st Lt. George Vaughn Seibold who was killed in August of 1918. The most well-known Gold Star Mother was Aletta Sullivan who lost all five of her sons when their ship the USS Juneau was torpedoed and sank. The movie, The Sullivans, portrayed their life and the tragedy of their death.

The last Sunday of September is a date set aside to recognize these special mothers. Those fallen men and women will never see their children grow up, get married, graduate or produce grandchildren for their parents Their hopes and dreams died with them on the battlefield so that our hopes and dreams can continue.

Each day that goes by a mother will miss her child. When birthdays, holidays, and remembrances of special occasions grace her calendar, there will be no celebration, only a grave to visit.

This Sunday we honor these mothers with recognition for their sacrifice, as well. Their son or daughter is gone, and they will live with that loss for the rest of their lives.

And we also honor Blue Star Mothers. These are moms whose children are actively serving or are veterans.

If you know a Gold Star Mother, what would be something special you could do for her today? Feel free to share your thoughts and memories.

TWEETABLES


Monday, September 23, 2019

Thank You, God, for Marvelous Migrations


by Julie Lavender

This week's post is by multi-published and award-winning author, Julie Lavender. I met Julie through the writing conferences we have both attended. I'm sure you will enjoy reading the message God has put on her heart through nature.

An autumn walk with God in the south is often graced with the fluttering of butterfly wings. God’s creativity is evident in so many of His masterpieces, but I often feel like He ‘outdid’ Himself when it comes to butterflies.

Thank you, God, for Marvelous Migrations
I spotted a monarch butterfly on my walk today. Black and orange with white spots along the tips of its wings, the monarch flies farther than any insect during its short life on Earth.

The beautiful and elegant Monarch butterflies migrate almost three thousand miles every year – from the forests of Mexico to parts of the United States, all the way to Canada.

I can’t imagine the hazards the monarchs face on that kind of a journey. The in-flight “potholes,” like unusually strong winds, thunderstorms, fast-moving vehicles along the path, sudden and unplanned temperature changes, lack of food sources along the way.

Fortunately, God gave the monarch an internal “compass,” instinct if you will, to lead and guide the monarch butterflies to make these long treks. With his creative genius, God directed their flights, long before each one hatched.

Interestingly, monarchs that live east of the Rocky Mountains move from
Canada and the United States to Mexico, and monarchs that live west of the Rocky Mountains migrate up and down the Pacific coast from the US to Canada and back.

Whew – that’s a lot of frequent flyer miles those guys are racking up, huh?

I was born in the small town of Statesboro, Georgia, and though I always dreamed of traveling when I grew up and saved some money, I never really wanted to migrate away from my hometown. I was comfortable there and my family that consisted of three siblings had all settled in nearby counties.

And, when I started dating my high school sweetheart a bit more seriously during college, I thought my zip code was settled, because he, too, was from my hometown.  

Well, God (and my husband’s degree stamped on his diploma) had other plans, and David made a deal with Uncle Sam for one three-year tour in the Navy when we both finished our Masters Degrees. At first, I wasn’t happy about it and stomped my feet a little …. well, a LOT.

Long story, short….one three-year-tour became a twenty-year migration across the United States, courtesy of a career in the Navy.

But you know what? I only pouted and stamped my feet for a short time, because it wasn’t long before I fell in love with God’s beautiful creations in other places besides my hometown.

My military-wife migration sent me from Jacksonville, Florida to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina and then back to Jacksonville again. Next stop for the Lavenders became Stafford, Virginia. Those migrations kept us on the east coast, but our next flight sent us all the way to Oceanside, California. From there we fluttered up the coast to Poulsbo, Washington. Our last tour took us diagonally back to Jacksonville, Florida – we’d come full-circle in our flight, landing back where the career began.

When David completed his Navy career, our family settled back in our hometown, surrounded by our four kids’ grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Our family had a marvelous migration – I loved seeing God’s big beautiful world.

Every year, about this time, when I watch monarch’s flitting about, I’m reminded that I may often plan my course, but it’s God that leads my steps…or flight! And I’m so thankful He’s in charge and not me!

What about you? Did you have a plan for your ‘migration’ after college that went a different direction? Did that happen even later in your life or career?

Tell me about some of your migration adventures. My favorite landing place was Washington state during our adventures. Where was your favorite zip code?

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.

TWEETABLES

Julie Lavender reluctantly took off the homeschooling hat she’d worn for over twenty-five years when her youngest of four started college three years ago. Julie and husband David, married for thirty-six years, have two sons, two daughters, one son-in-love, and one precious grandson.


Julie has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and taught public school before becoming a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling mommy. Julie and her husband, a former entomologist for the United States Navy and a current wildlife biologist at an army base, traveled about the country with their four children as Uncle Sam directed for twenty years before returning to their hometown of Statesboro, Georgia.

Living in six states and moving twelve times, the Lavenders have certainly rounded many curves, encountered some potholes, climbed a lot of hills, and navigated a few valleys, but through it all, God was faithful and true and ever-present.

Julie Lavender won a Guideposts Writing Contest, joining eleven other winners in Rye New York to study under top, New York-based Guideposts editors. Since winning that contest, Julie has been chosen for five Guideposts Refresher workshops. Additionally, Julie writes for her local newspaper, The Statesboro Herald, authored 365 Days of Celebration and Praise and Creative Sleepovers for Kids, and contributed to Chicken Soup for the Soul compilations.

Julies’ byline is found in magazines like Refresh, Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Southern Writers, BookFun, Focus on the Family, Mature Living, Country Woman, ParentLife, The Upper Room, and Taste of Home.

Julie is excited that a co-authored Christmas devotional with Michelle Cox comes out in time for Christmas this year, and a parenting book, 365 Ways to Love Your Child, with Revell Publishers, releases in the fall of 2020.

Connect with Julie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and follow her blog at julielavender.blogspot.com to catch a glimpse of what she learns from God’s amazing and fascinating creations. 

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.

Monday, August 19, 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.