• Tonie Roberts

Once I decided that I was going to walk by the Word of God and do my best to make His Word final, I believe that was the most important decision I’ve ever made.


Not too long after that, I decided that no matter what happened, whether I felt like it or not, I would try my best to walk in love. Because the Bible clearly says “faith worketh by love.” (Galatians 5:6) It won’t work any other way.



Those two decisions—to operate by faith in the Word of God and to walk in love—are the two most important decisions I’ve ever made in my life.


Then recently, God revealed there was something I’d been leaving out. It was the force of joy! I heard within my “inner man” that I should just walk by faith and love and just leave joy asleep in my spirit. It’s too important. I soon came to realize that joy is an essential part of a life of victory. Without it, I might have an occasional triumph, but I wouldn’t be able to sustain them. They’d quickly slip away.


I learned that joy is what gives us the strength (Nehemiah 8:10) to hold steady when the circumstances get rough. Joy gives us the ability to laugh in the devil’s face when he starts trying to knock us off our faith. It gives us a kind of staying power that will make us winners over and over again.


We need to make a commitment to God that we’re going to walk, not only in faith and in love but also in joy. We have to make it a point to rejoice in the Lord always...and there won’t be anything the devil can do or say to steal our victory!


Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

– Philippians 4:4








  • Tonie Roberts

Anyone who has visited the Dominican Republic and ventured away from its fabulous vacation resorts, has most likely experienced the daily, random blackouts the country is known for. Because the country runs on limited electrical power plants, on any given day, at any given time, the electricity shuts down for an undetermined amount of time. This robs everyone of various liberties and luxuries we often take for granted: cooling off in an air conditioned home, having an ice cream cone, drinking an ice cold glass of water,




using a copier or fax machine at work, enjoying an afternoon at the movies, charging your dying cell phone, or taking a refreshing shower. 


You may not associate running water with electricity but water in the Dominican Republic is delivered via electrical pumps. So during blackouts the piped water stops flowing. To add to that, once the power comes back on, the water takes forever to heat and often comes out rusted or smelly depending on how long it sat there. Many people collect big barrels of water to use when the power is off but standing water usually attracts insects. So a bucket of water often has dead bugs in it.

Undoubtedly, taking a proper shower was the thing I probably missed most during the three years I lived in the Dominican Republic.  Have you ever stopped to really think about how amazing cool water feels as it pours over your head on a hot day?


Do you slowly savor its warmth on a cold morning? Ahhh...the healing power of a hot shower massaging your aching body!  Don't you just love feeling squeaky clean as you look down and see suds pooling at your feet?



Water is most certainly a grand gift from God! He knew just how wonderful water would be when He gathered the waters and called them "seas" and saw that it was good [Genesis 1:10]. Us Rockaway folks certainly know just how amazing that ocean is!




The Word uses water to teach us valuable lessons:


When John baptized Jesus he reminded us that he "baptized with water but God will baptize us with the Holy Spirit" [John 1:26].


In the book of Genesis, Noah was asked to build an ark to protect his family from the waters that would change the earth forever. Noah's obedience saved the earth.


Jesus taught His disciples and us to have no fear when He walked on water. "A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough...and they were afraid, but he said to them, It is I, don't be afraid" [John 6:18-21]. Peter also learned to have complete trust when Jesus called him out to meet Him on the water [Matthew 14:28-31].


One of the most important lessons conveyed through the symbol of water is that "whoever drinks the water that I (Jesus)  give them will never thirst" [John 4:14]. Imagine that! Never being thirsty again! Maybe literal thirst as we know it on earth can't be banished but you can be certain that when you "drink" of the goodness that Jesus offers, you will never need anything else to satisfy you.


I was reminded of that when I was hit hard with Covid19. For almost 3 weeks I suffered through every single symptom, but the worst was the 4 days where I could hardly breathe. It was like trying to suck air through a clogged straw. Sadly, I kept thinking this is what it must be like for asthmatics.


During those frightful days, one of the home remedies that helped was to run a piping hot shower with the door closed so that I could breathe in the steam. Then I'd lower the temperature a bit and get in it. Most times I cried as the water soothed me with its warmth. It felt like God was wrapping me in His loving arms, telling me I was going to be alright. Healing water.


On the 3rd day of difficult breathing I received a text from a friend from church telling me to hold on to the song, Healing Rain, by Michael W. Smith. 


Now anyone that knows me, knows I'm not a fan of rain, but that day it rained and when I watched it from my window I just knew God was once again reminding me that His Healing Water was being poured on me, and I was no longer afraid.



  • Tonie Roberts

But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭NIV


‬‬


How many times have we been this woman? How many times has God brought us out of a situation only to long or desire for it, and turn back towards it? How may times have we turned around to see what was happening when God said, “Look forward!” If Romans 8:28 is true and, all things work together for our good, why do we look back?


Because we are afraid of what’s in front of us, what we don’t know. If we are fearfully and wonderfully made, if we were not given a spirit of fear but one of love and a sound mind, why would we turn back? If we put all our trust in Him, why can’t we trust Him? If He’s faithful to complete it, why do we doubt? God is on the throne, God is still on the throne!




He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever! So why are we looking back on yester-year?

God has blessed us beyond measure. He has given us a moment to rest and regroup, yet we are longing for yesterday. God is creating something new, He’s on a move! But we can’t look back. We can’t long for yesterday, we can’t turn around to see what happens when God is saying Look Forward!




@2016 by House on the Rock Church