Ouch!!!

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Acts 26:14 (NIV)

 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

They all fell down which means they all felt the power of the Living God but Jesus only spoke to one.

He speaks to Saul the man in active, vengeful and deadly pursuit of those who claim Christ as their Lord. Asking why did he continue to kick against the goads?

Goads are a long stick with a horrible metal hook at the end designed to steer an oxen in the direction he should go. If the oxen kicked against the goad it would impale the beast. This of course would be horrifically painful.

The maker of the Universe was not only interested in stopping the persecution of His church but also  in the life and pain of the man who was doing the persecution.  This kind of love is scandalous, outrageous and absolutely delicious.

From the scripture we can read that apparently Jesus had been goading Saul to go in the correct direction and up until this point Saul had ignored it. Then something drastic happened he was thrown to the ground and was blinded for three days.

I have seen it in my life and in those I love that claim Christ as King that they kick against Jesus’s goads and directions only for so long before Jesus takes drastic action. Blinding us for three days? …  Maybe.

 

Will you choose the pain of the goads or the freedom of Christ? 

Prayer: God, Your mercies are great. We stand in awe of Your love and ask that You deepen our walk with You. We desire to hear Your voice only, loud and clear so that we might respond with immediate and complete obedience. Your will is great, wise and holy. Help us to lay down ourselves so that we might pick up Your greater life. Help us to live a life of worship.  Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

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This pain can’t be good!?

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”Luke 2:14 (NIV)

 

What is favor.  It’s easy to understand when we are well fed, comfortable and without turmoil. (or is it?)

What a slippery trick of the enemy. Because to live in the comfort zone is NOT favor.

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Photo by Louis Blythe on Unsplash

I repeat it is NOT favor.

Comfort Zone living is NOT favor. 

Wealth is NOT favor.

Everyone loving you is NOT favor.

                  Favor is living and being in the center of Christ’s presence. Favor is the movement towards sanctification because of His mercy. He will not leave us where we were. To restore us to our original creation design we will not be comfortable.  We will be without earthly means of reliance we will be blessedly forced to acknowledge Christ as King and our only Provider of all things.  What a blessing.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, stretch me, have Your way within me. I renounce comfort and cling to You. In Your blessed mercy rescue me from myself. I seek Your presence, Your glory and Your power. I willingly lay down what I think are my needs in order to obtain Your will for my life. You are greater than and greatly to be praised. All glory and honor be to Christ Jesus the Savior of the world. Thank, You Jesus. 

 

 

 

Death’s sting- rebuked

Death brings out the heart of those the loved one touched.

honor guard at the funeral( Honor guard for James Roy Roberts Sr. funeral)

For some great beauty emerges grown from the fertilized ground of pain, their forgiveness unleashes hope and dare I say joy on all those within their presence.

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Hope in Christ alone the great Redeemer. Hope that they too can forgive. Hope the world contains beauty and they too can find it.
My husband, my love the one who inspires my heart to be more Christ like John Roberts, blessed us with a eulogy at his father’s funeral yesterday. I have never been prouder of him.

Eulogy: written and delivered by John Roberts 10-3-2017

It is my duty and my honor to stand here today before you for him. There is no greater honor a son can give than to present his father’s story.

I believe dads life verse is:
John 15:12-13 (NIV)
Jesus own words……
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

He proved this over and over again by risking his life for his friends.
1. US Army 1960-1962 Sargent. (Provo, UT/ Germany)
2. PFD 1963-1983 (Full/Volunteer) Captain
He taught classes around the country teaching fireman & EMT in firefighting techniques & automobile extrication. Showing them new techniques and tools available.
Teaching other to save and protect lives.
3. Pontiac township school district 90 & 429 / Transportation Superintendent (1980-1999)
He worked with Illinois state school board developing school bus safety & education programs. My fathers highest calling was protection of the children of this community and leading others who families entrust their children’s lives.
4. He devoted time to Livingston Humane Society.
My father’s life work was that of one who loved and laid down his life for others, community, and country.
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People try to make salvation so complicated and it’s not.

Let me repeat was Jesus stated & commanded
Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

The real and only question is this…
Do you believe Christ laid down His life for you to call you friend / and to live with Him in eternity. If you have decided, you can’t save yourself that maybe you’re not perfect and that Christ is. Then you are saved.

My father believed Christ died for him and Jesus accepted him as a friend and has brought dad into his family in heaven.

Dad was baptized on March 1st, 1987 . That day he proclaimed to the world that Jesus laid down His life for him.

About 4 years ago to my great honor and relief and joy dad reaffirmed that commitment to Christ when he and I prayed together a simple salvation prayer.

Dad did not need to be perfect to be saved he just needed to know who was.

Like many father and son’s relationships, my father and I’s relationship was not as close as I would have liked it to have been. In the past, couple years I know we drew closer.

Like many father and son’s relationships, my father and I’s relationship was not as close as I would have liked it to have been. In the past, couple years I know we drew closer. See the love a father has for his children is different from that of a mothers. A mother love is that of tenderness and social acceptance. As boys, a mom teaches you to wear clean clothes, not speak in harsh language, try to get along with others, tenderness and acceptance to the world. The love a father is the opposite of that.
My father like his father before him, instructed my brother and I, in a different manner. My father tried to teach us through advice, discipline, and most importantly how to fail falling forward..

Proverbs 19:20 (NIV)
Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise

In a Example of this is the “knife”. I carry this knife with me every day. Like the knife my father gave my brother and the one JIM has that was my fathers. All different types but yet the concept is the same. My Grandfather liked pen knifes, my dad like his Scherade & Bucks. I like the newer carbon fiber one. Different from what dad liked but yet at the root the same. Like the one’s Jim bought his sons, like the ones, I have bought for my sons, and when my daughter are old enough I will buy for them. It’s the tool or tools you take with you every day and everywhere. It is the simplest of the tools. This knife has been by my side everyday driving back and forth to work, hunting, fishing, camping, teaching, It’s been to California, Texas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and all points between; it is knowledge, it is understanding. At the end of everyday it is not about the knife or any of the other tools he bought for me, it’s about what our father gave us and we carry every day with us. Like the knowledge, his father gave to him and he handed down to us.

Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
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As most of you might have known dads last few months were challenging. The dementia and the cancer ravaged his mind and body. However regardless of the battles my father fought daily in his own body, he still found joy around him. The most amazing of this was the joy found in his family and children. Many days when I or Jim showed up to visit he seem confused, but when we would walk in the room to visit he always knew Jim & I just by our presence. He always knew the grandkids, maybe not by name at first, but he knew they were his…if you look at the pictures in the back you will see a joyous smile on my father’s face. It was a love of the smallest ones around us. I believe my father knew just how blessed he was and still is…and what he has left behind…two sons, three step children, fourteen grand children & step grand children.

 

Psalm 127:3-5 (NIV)
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.

 

My father was born the oldest of ten children to Roy & Sara Roberts on August 18, 1937 and returned to his father in heaven on September 27th. He has three surviving brothers: Jerry, Larry and John Roberts. He has four surviving sisters: Thelma Campbell, Sally McCormick, Nancy Arbogast and Debra Zace. He is preceded in death by his parents, Mark and Virgil (brothers)Ron Campbell Dave McCormick(brother in laws)Fran Roberts (sister-in-law), Mark and Jeff Roberts (nephews).
My father’s life was rooted in this community. Not just from the days at the High school, or the fire department. It went much deeper than that. It was rooted in the coffee shops like the old log cabin, the Labor Day parades, Thresher man’s reunion, it was when he delivered parts for Napa to the small businesses around the community. It was in his youth helping Grandpa at the skating rink, and the family shop, it was helping families and friend when in need, it was growing a garden so large that he had no choice but to give most of it away. It was knowing the families that grew and thrived in this community & being there for and with them. My father was not a rich man in the terms of money, but in the terms of faith and understanding of where he came from my father was very wealthy. He loved this town and felt more comfortable here than anywhere else on this earth. He is the fabric that makes up this community. It is also the place that dad, Jim, and I still call our home town. This is where my father raised us.
The story of my father’s life is right here today in this room and in this community. We thank you all for being his life story.

John 15:12-13 (NIV)
Jesus own words……My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

As our heavenly father loves all of us, my earthly father loved all of you.

Does God heal?

         I proclaimed and declared that when my son was healed that the money that would have gone to the surgery which was $2,500 would go to a safe house my friend started for women rescued from sex- trafficking.

Great idea right?
Did God deliver a miraculous healing?-NO

Why?

Did my thought patterns not align with the Word of God?
Did He not want my son healed?
Did He think money spent on surgery was better than money spent on redeeming brutalized women?

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        Those questions scream absurdly, staring at me from this white page! – Yet, when they bounce around in my own head, the pain twists and turns these questions into plausible statements.

I struggle to rid my thoughts of the lies of the enemy.

 

Why does my child have to go through pain?

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(krosseel, morgue file)

             There is only one solution to my pain and confusion and it is exquisitely painful and exquisitely simple. Take it to the cross and press into Christ.

             What does that mean? I don’t go perfect and I don’t go with any answers, I just acknowledge He is God and I am not. The Cross has covered my pain in His blood. I know someday the pain will lesson and maybe I will see clearer. For now it is more than enough to lay myself before Him because He is more than enough.

              I confessed I let my pain in seeing my child suffer and those feelings of loss of control shift my reliance mechanism.

             I shifted from total reliance on Christ the Creator of the Universe who loves my son more than I do, to reliance on man. Kind of a silly trade off to say the least.

REDEMPTION

Romans 8:1-2, Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

          I confessed my sins of making the medical experts and man my idol instead of going to Christ first. This freed me to see the Truth.

Romans goes on to say, 2-” because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (NIV)

Christ’s death allows me to find healing from pain. I don’t need to live in condemnation of the enemy I can stand up and keep walking.

I still have questions:

Does God heal? – Yes

Does God heal through the medical field? – Yes

We must always submit to Christ first and see what His plan is and not our own. What does He want done.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

My messing up, by not acknowledging Him right away in this pain process did not, could not and will not deter God’s purposes for the life of my son.

                I know that, the $2,500 will be redeemed for the safe house. I see His work in it now (already)while I gather supplies to take up on Saturday. There is no doubt in my mind by the end of His outpouring of love to these women He will have moved far more than $2,500 for them. His love is so vast it humbles me as I see but a glimpse of it.

His purposes will always find a way even through our broken submission.

Prayer: I acknowledge You,  I don’t know everything but I do know You love me. Cover me in the blood of the Lamb as my mother heart recovers from what feels like a defeat. Show me Your victory Christ.  You have overcome and I am an overcomer through You. Continue to reveal Your great mysteries to Your servants.  I praise You through the pain.  Great is the glory of the Lord and forever He does reign.  Thank You, Jesus.  Amen

The Big “R” word

        Snickers, turned faces, turned away hearts real or imagined torment us.  All the earth faces rejection the enemy seeks to propagate it, fortify it and invites us to slay others with rejection.

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My own pain seems distant. A disconnect far from me but my children’s pain is burning me up, the ache is horrific. I recognize that only God can heal this and rely on His understanding of my children’s earthly rejection.  (Middle school is horrible)

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Spirit of rejection be gone in Jesus name.

Brilliant light emerges and in enters waves of love, joy and peace.  The hushed sounds of our feet vibrating with praise resonate on the cobblestone bricks of gold, we pause to receive the crowns we earned from obedience to Christ by no works of our own.  Great joy erupts as we place our crowns before Christ and every fiber of our being joins in unity of praise to the Maker of the Universe.  Deep unity a living thing moves through us and out toward others.  Feelings of righteousness and belonging smooth out every rough spot within us.

There is no disunity, it is a word unrecognizable in heaven.  There can be no rejection when the Bride of Christ is complete.

Let us live and breathe and make our life in the Truth the eternal truth of Christ’s total acceptance. We were created before time for many purposes that delight God’s heart as He sees them emerge from within us.  Do not let the enemy squelch the joy of your salvation.

Bride of Christ rise up against rejection.

Prayer: We proclaim and declare that rejection; self-rejection, perceived- rejection, and fear of rejection be gone in Jesus name. You no longer have a hold on us. We do not accept the lies of the enemy that we are inferior, a mistake or anything less than the delight of Christ. We will not carry out Satan’s plans to hurt others.  We seek unity in Christ and ask for a great humbling.  Set us free! Search our hearts and reveal our pain so that we might reject the lies of the enemy.  Great is the glory of the Lord and forever He does reign.  There is a void in our beings where rejection once lived and we ask that You bless us with the Spirit of Truth, confidence, love, joy and a deep penetration of acceptance within us. Fill that space with the mind of Christ. Replaces lies with Truth we seek Your face and Your will in all things.  We repent of any actions, thoughts or feelings that produced pain in another person.  Help us Lord Jesus, to know our identity in Christ.  As deep calls to deep, draw us in.  Thank You, Jesus.  Amen.

Overwhelmed by a life!

 

I have the overwhelming privilege of gathering photos for my father in laws service. Jim Sr. is in the process of dying and very much like a birth; this is a time of reflection and anticipation.  I anxiously await his heaven birthday where he will no longer be in pain. My husband is working on the eulogy and is prayerfully considering what to say.

 

In his life, he has many roles:

A father

jim wedding photo- with john

A grandpa

jim and pat couch

A lover of animals

jim and dog

Jim Sr. was a firefighter, bus driver- mechanic and a husband to name a few of his roles.  He is so many things but non greater than a child of God. His choice to follow Jesus has made all the difference in his life and the lives of those who love him.  We are anticipating an eternal life instead of dreading the loss of an earthly one.  Thank You, Jesus for your mercy on him and on those who love him.

 

Please join me in praying. 

       Lord Jesus, we plead the Blood over Jim Sr. that he be released from his earthly body and its death and instead be received into the Kingdom of God with joy.  Let Your peace reign as He transitions to life.  Cancer you cannot keep him bound to his body and pain any longer, be gone in Jesus name.  Christ receives him.  Thank You, Jesus.  By the gift of Your precious blood, let his family and friends and all those he touched rest in Your peace.  Amen.

Truth

Truth

            I wince as high heeled strappy shoes bite my heels.  I kneel to rub and find relief.  As I straighten I see my old friend’s husband he stands frozen as wedding guests whizz past him oblivious to the gaiety around.

“Hi, how’s it going?” I inquire. He startles; recognition uncurls. The weight of his 6 foot- 4- inch frame crashes into mine. Unaware of the awkwardness of the embrace, he remains motionless.

“Where’s your wife?” I probe.  Composure crumbles.  Reeling, my held breathe escapes as I prop him onto a high stool.  The moment his body touches the support, he spews forth his daughter’s neuro-psychologist report. It’s devastating.  Number after number daggers of 40 and 45 pierce him as he spoke, his face contorted with pain.  He manages to say his wife left them unable to deal with “such” a damaged child.  He was left to stand in the wake.

Silent, I unfold a scrap of well-worn paper with a simple drawing which had brought profound relief and healing to me.

His eyes transfix on the picture as I smooth it against the crisp white table cloth.

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Time stops, my voice a whisper. All the while, the celebration continues around us.

“Your child and the fullness of her beauty did not change upon the addition of a number given to you by some human paid to quantify and qualify life.  No where in creation is there a number written on a child.  Numbers and labels spoken to you are not to be written into her heart or, yours.

You will see but a glimpse of the beauty she possesses here on earth. The depths of her is yet to be revealed.

Each person is created before time, knit together in love and sent to fulfill their own purpose.  Her purposes are not your own.  Do not be confused; your daughter does not belong to you; she is a gift given only for a moment by a great and glorious God for His perfect will.

I unfold the rest of the picture.  It’s edges crackle, reluctant to expose its treasure.

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“Consider the rest of the picture she is not left alone to drift. The stem travels down strong and steady with one purpose to find strength rooted and grounded in Christ.  See the roots, as she withstands adversity; they grow deeper.  I tell you there are not many on this earth who will have as strong of roots as hers.”

Do you see a place on this flower for a number?  Would you damage its flawlessness to etch into its delicate petals?  No, let her beauty stand as a testimony to the great God who gave you her.” I implore.

His red eyes scraped mine, searching “What purposes- what are you talking about?  Did you not hear her IQ scores; 40, 45, 50? What can God do with that?” His arms fall in defeat, they crash against the table, the paper stands.

I push on as I recall the discovery of this truth for my own life, it unfolds as I speak- a crackle of pain emerges.

“Each person is sent to their own specific people group only they can reach.  Can you touch the hearts of all the therapist and evaluators with your courage?  Can you lift up someone with a flash of your smile?  Why are you remarkable?  Her very existence and valor to conquer each and every challenge is an inspiration.   Can you reach other people who are mentally challenged- will they trust you and know your common struggle?”

“She can do that and more.  Your wife will miss out on daily miracles; you will be gifted to see.  Your daughter will reach many, not despite her numbers but because of them.  There was no mistake made, only a miracle.  Receive the miracle and participate in the joy.”

I press the folded paper reduced to a 4 by 2 inch rectangle into his hand and walk away, praying it would expand to cover his heart and hers.  I do not look back I no longer need the paper, the truth is etched within me.©