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, September 26, 2020

Stuck by Paul's Thorn in the Flesh

 by Barbara Latta

During my Christian walk, I have heard different theories about Paul’s thorn in the flesh. We can get stuck (as in bogged down) in discussions and theories of what this irritation was in his life.

Some have said he had bad eyesight.

Others that he walked with a limp or had some serious disease.

These speculations originated from an interpretation of Galatians 4:12-15 where Paul is talking about his infirmities and stating the faithfulness of the church at Galatia that they would have “plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.”

Because of this verse, the theory began that Paul had bad eyesight. But to look further at what he was speaking about takes us back to Acts 14:19-20. Paul and Barnabas had preached and performed miracles in the town of Lystra which is in the province of Galatia. He was stoned and left for dead. In the letter to the church of Galatia Paul outlines in chapter four, the care that church gave to him. After being stoned and left for dead, a person’s eyes would be swollen and possibly shut and more than likely if he could walk at all he would walk with a limp for some period of time. But this was a temporary infirmity. And the church took care of him while he healed.

Paul talks about this thorn in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10,  And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure (verse 7 NKVJ, emphasis mine).

As the verse clearly states, the thorn was a messenger of Satan to buffet him. Paul was tormented by a demon from hell to try to stop him from preaching the gospel of Christ. He was persecuted everywhere he went with stoning, beating, imprisonment, revilement, mobs, riots and shipwrecks. When he states he was given this thorn to keep him from being exalted, we can conclude from the nature of God that the Lord does not give demons to us (John 10:10). The thorn came from Satan who didn’t want Paul or his message exalted in front of people. So, the devil did everything he could to bring Paul down and stop the message.

Persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me (2 Timothy 3:11 NKJV).

We are redeemed from sin through faith in Christ when we believe and accept Him (2 Corinthians 5:17.) 

We are redeemed from sickness through the same faith in Christ when we believe and stand on His Word (1 Peter 2:24).

But we are not redeemed from persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). That’s why Paul says he asked the Lord three times to take away the tormenter and God replied, “My grace is sufficient”,(2 Corinthians 2:9). His grace is what keeps us standing in the face of persecution.

While these views may be contrary to some, this is the interpretation I received when reading and studying these scriptures. And when this revelation came to me, it made these passages clearer and answered questions that seemed to be confusing. That’s why it is so important for us to dig deeper when we have questions and not merely rely on religious traditions that have been handed down for generations.

I hope this helps you in your study. I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers about anything, but these scriptures helped me get “unstuck” about Paul’s thorn in the flesh.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Stuck by Paul’s thorn in the flesh (click to tweet)



Friday, September 18, 2020

What is the significance of the shofar?

 by Barbara Latta

The use of trumpets is mentioned in the Bible over 50 times. This tells us God places an importance on this way of getting our attention.

Rosh Hashanah, also called the Feast of Trumpets, begins on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar which is in September or October. This celebration commemorates the creation of the world and after 10 days ends with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. These are the two high holy days in Judaism.

Why is the shofar made from a ram’s horn? The word shofar comes from the Assyrian word, shapparu, which is a wild goat called ibex. The Ashkenazi Jews use the ram’s horn because Abraham sacrificed a ram on Mount Moriah after the angel stilled his hand from sacrificing Isaac.

The sound of the shofar is a plaintive wail with a sometimes eerie sound. These distinctive notes are unlike any other instrument and are used as a call to worship and repentance. The fact that the shofar is made from a ram’s horn can also signify sacrifice. An animal died to give up the horn. So, to hear the shofar or see one, reveals a sacrifice has been made. No other religion uses a shofar in worship.

When the children of Israel were in the desert, God used a ram’s horn to signal they were to come to the mountain and receive the Law.

And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice (Exodus 19:19).

When the Hebrews marched around Jericho, they sounded trumpets in obedience to God’s command. When they did so on the seventh day, the walls fell, and they overtook the city. They blew the trump in obedience to God’s command and in praise to His deliverance. When we praise God by lifting our voices to Him, the walls surrounding us fall. Prisons of condemnation and depression are destroyed and overtaken because of praise in our hearts to God.

What does this mean to us as Christians? We can learn from the shofar and view the significance of this ancient instrument by remembering how God supplied the sacrifice on Mount Moriah. He substituted the ram for Isaac just as He substituted Jesus for us. The ram’s sacrifice took place on the same mountain where Solomon built the temple, the place where future sacrifices would be made in atonement for sins.

The ram’s horn note can be our call to worship the God of our ancestors. The God of provision, sacrifice and redemption. The sound can be our call to join Jesus Christ in the air as He comes for His saints.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:16 NKJV).

We don’t know if this will be a shofar or not, but since the shofar is used as an instrument of announcement and call to worship it could be very likely. Even so, the shofar can bring us thoughts of the last trump God will use to call us home.

And God uses trumpets in Revelation as angels open the seals of judgement against a sinful earth. (Revelation 8-9).

The shofar has Jewish roots that flow down to Christianity. Many Christian churches have adopted the blowing of a shofar as recognition of God’s power and faithfulness throughout the centuries as well as a joint recognition of Israel.

We can join the Jewish people this month in their celebrations of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as we remember why the shofar blew.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation.

Why is a ram’s horn used for a shofar? (click to tweet)

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Never Forget September 11

 by Barbara Latta

Nineteen years ago our nation suffered the worst attack on our soil since Pearl Harbor.  Time has a tendency to numb culture from the horrors of the past as day to day life continues. Children are grown now who were born that year. Some will never know the parents who died that day. 

May we never forget the tragedy.

May we never forget those who died.

May we never forget the heroes who rescued victims.

May we never forget the devastation. 

May we never forget that we have an enemy. May we remain vigilant in defending our freedom.

May we never forget September 11, 2001.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.

May we never forget September 11, 2001 (click to tweet)

Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Reward of Diligent Work


by Barbara Latta

Labor Day is a holiday observed in the United States to give workers an opportunity be recognized for
their labor and productivity.

God has a lot to say about work and rest. He instructs us in His Word to observe a day of rest every seven days. He rested because He was finished with His work. We need to rest to replenish bodies and minds.

He also 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. Dealing with COVID19 this year has caused many changes to the work schedule of thousands of people. Thankfully, businesses, schools and restaurants are open again and work can return to as normal as we can get it now.

Here are a few scriptures regarding work and rest. These are all taken from the New American Standard Bible translation.

Words for the Work Week

When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you (Psalm 128:2).

He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues worthless things lacks sense (Proverbs 12:11).

A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words, and the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him (Proverbs 12:14).

 In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty (Proverbs 14:23).

 I have seen that nothing is better that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him? (Ecclesiastes 3:7).

 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17).

 When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you (Psalm 90:2).

 Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal (John 6:27).

In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).

 And to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you (1 Thessalonians 4:11).

 Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men (Proverbs 22:29).

 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance it is the Lord Christ whom you serve (Colossians 3:23).

 The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slack hand will be put to forced labor (Proverbs 12:24).

I hope this list of scriptures will encourage and inspire you as you return to work or school. God blesses what we put our hand to as long as we put Him first.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.

Words for the workweek - scriptures to encourage diligent work (click to tweet)