• 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.



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  • 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!




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  • Tonie Roberts

Written by Christina Calvache


As I was listening to the Christian Radio the other day, the question was raised “why did God take what one man and woman did (Adam and Eve) and make everyone else suffer the consequences?” It seems as if many people wonder this as they are seeking to know the Lord. I don’t fully understand the answer to this but it has to do with sin and death entering the world, and everyone being born into sin. I do know that because of this we all suffer. Jesus said it himself, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:13). My co-worker Jackie and I have gone back and forth questioning “But why?” when trying to understand various trials and tribulations, and each time she exclaims, “We live in a fallen world Chrissy” which is her explanation for every kind of suffering.



“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (1Peter 4:12)


The first few months following the tragic death of my brother-in-law seemed surreal. We couldn’t seem to grasp the reality of what we were experiencing while trying to help my widowed sister and her three young children. As a family of faith, no one could understand how God could allow this to happen. I remember feeling as though something strange were happening to me. Like many of you may feel when something devastating happens in your life, I have been despondent, depressed, confused and angry. Something strange was indeed happening to me. My faith was being put to the test.


As a child of God we all go through trials of faith. As a matter of fact, on the day Michael died, the title of my devotional for the day was “Trial of Faith”. I wish I had taken the time to read it and meditate on it that morning. According to my daily devotional, My Utmost For His Highest, faith must be tested and tried, in hope that we would “Remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.” Furthermore, stating the greatest expression of faith being “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). Had I read it that morning, I may have trusted in Him. I couldn’t accept this from Him. Many Christians face this kind of trial. Would you be able to trust God and remain faithful to Him, even in death?




I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:


Having the Word of God hidden in your heart is so important when going through trials and tribulations, especially when faith is tested. During this unbearable and trying time, I felt as if the enemy had a whirlwind of lies spinning around me making it difficult to trust God. But when my little sister removed her hands from her saturated face and looked up at me and said, “God doesn’t love me, how can I believe God loves me?” The truth hidden in my heart echoed in my mind and the Truth hidden in my heart began to whirlwind around me for many days to follow.


I have loved you with an everlasting love, my plans are to give you hope and a future, the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, my will is that none should perish, I am a mighty warrior who saves, cast all your anxiety on me because I care for you, nothing can separate my love for you, I give you a rich and abundant life, I am the provider of all your needs, I work all things together for your good. This life is like a blink of an eye, a vapor in the wind, a stepping stone, I give you everlasting life. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace, My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts, I would never leave you or forsake you, In the world you will have tribulation, but I have overcome the world. Be still and know that I am God.


As the storm calms, I have inner peace because of the Word hidden in my heart. It helps me trust in the Lord, even in death.


Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. (John 16:20)








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