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.