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, February 23, 2019

Growth is Determined by the Depth of the Roots

by Barbara Latta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feel free to share some of your favorite spiritual seeds.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Follow the Diet of Redemption to Lose the Weight of Condemnation

by Barbara Latta

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

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

But God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the mind will still condemn us.

The devil will condemn us.

 Other people will still condemn us.

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

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

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

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


Saturday, February 9, 2019

5 Characteristics of the Heart of God

by Barbara Latta

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

Because Jesus is the image of the Father.

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

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

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

He is:

Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Origin of Groundhog Day and the Significance of Shadows

by Barbara Latta

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

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

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

Shadows can be misleading.