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).


Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Pursuit of Knowing God

 


by Barbara Latta @barbaralatta

Our Bible study is a never-ending adventure with God. We need His Word in our souls more than our bodies need food.

Yet we do sometimes stray away from feeding on His abundant harvest. This can bring us into soulish malnutrition.

We may wonder why anger flames up so quickly.

Where did the fear come from that gnaws at our minds?

Thursday, June 13, 2024

6 Behaviors That Cause Pain to the Spirit of God

 


by Barbara Latta @barbaralatta

 When we give instructions to our children and they refuse to obey, we don’t throw them out of the family. But our hearts suffer because we see that when they rebel, they hurt themselves and sow seeds that will reap destructive consequences later.

How much more does our heavenly Father desire what is best for us? He doesn’t want the enemy of our souls to grasp us with his talons of evil works.

Paul’s instructions to the church in Ephesus told them not to grieve the Holy Spirit.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30 NIV)

All sin grieves the Holy Spirit. We will focus on 6 behaviors that can cause pain to the Spirit of God found in the book of Ephesians.

 1. Negative Speech

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

The Israelites complained about everything while they were in the wilderness.

The same heart-breaking attitude can be reflected in our words if we don’t keep a watch over our mouths.

2Uncontrolled Emotions

 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV)

All these words sound like the same emotion, but they are different in subtle ways.

Bitterness is a root formed by unforgiveness that can produce other sins.

Wrath is indignation that can rise gradually and then subside. These are feelings that come and go due to thoughts and exposure to actions of others.

Anger rises when we abhor injustice. This feeling can be used righteously as in Jesus’ cleansing of the temple. But we must guard ourselves that we don’t use anger in a vengeful way when we feel that we have personally been wronged (Ephesians 4:26).

Clamor is a deep crying or wail in distress, like self-pity.

Malice is the destruction of a person’s character through slander or to blaspheme and give no respect to God.

We can all be guilty of these emotions at times, and we know how destructive they can be to our lives.

3. Lying

Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. (Ephesians 4:25 NIV)

 It’s hard to admit that we, as Christians, sometimes tell a fib. We may think we don’t fall under this category, but we can find ourselves not telling the whole truth at times. And a little bit of falsehood is still a lie. False flattery is one way we lie to each other. We don’t want to offend our brothers and sisters, but we also shouldn’t say something we don’t mean.

What about gossip? Words disguised as prayer requests or stories spread as attempts at aid can still be classified as lying.

 We are members the same family (1 Corinthians 12:26). When one hurts, we all hurt so why would we want to damage each other with untruths?

 4. Falling for Deception

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. (Ephesians 5:6)

Jesus warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing coming in with false words (Matthew 7:15). The Galatians swallowed the lie that they also needed to obey the Law of Moses along with belief in Christ to be saved (Galatians 5:4).

We can only stay on course by knowing the truth and not listening to anything that contradicts what the Bible says. We do this by grounding ourselves in the Word. (Romans 12:1-12).

 The result of listening to false doctrine can draw us away from Him and into sinful actions.

 5Stealing

Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28)

Robbery is not part of the lifestyle of Christians. We don’t hold up banks or stores and ride off into the sunset with the loot. But the size or value of an item is not what determines theft. Even if we didn’t intentionally take money or products, keeping incorrect change, or not returning an item a clerk mistakenly places in our bag is defrauding the store.

Cheating on taxes or falsifying business documents could also fall under the category of lying.

These are small indiscretions, and these behaviors may seem insignificant. But they do matter. God sees all, and He is saddened when we don’t reflect His character.

6.  Drunkenness

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)

The debate about Christians drinking alcohol will probably continue until Jesus comes back. But the Scripture is clear about drunkenness. This is another problem Paul addressed in several places due to the background the new Christians converted from.

The same principle can apply to alcohol as to the eating of food outlined in Romans chapter 14. We are not to judge, but we are also told not to be a stumbling block to another person’s faith (Romans 14:13). We should consider how all activities and attitudes we engage in can be interpreted by others.

Live in the Fruit of the Spirit

We are forgiven for all these soul wanderings, but that doesn’t give us a free pass for committing any fleshly act. Living in the fruit of the Spirit will keep us sensitive to God's voice and will empower us against any temptations.

Rather than grieving the Spirit, we can praise and thank Him.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.

Image by Dorothe from Pixabay

Forgiveness doesn't give us a free pass for committing any fleshly act. Living in the fruit of the Spirit will keep us sensitive to God's voice and empower us against any temptations. (share on X)null

This post is an excerpt from an article that appeared on Crosswalk.com. 

Thursday, June 6, 2024

3 Ways to Overcome Guilt and Shame

 


by Barbara Latta @barbaralatta

 Ever since Adam and Eve took one bite of fruit humans have dealt with guilt and shame.

God warned Adam.

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:15-16 NKJV)