Sister to Sister: She Suffered the Little Ones to Come

Roberta-EdwardsFor years I’ve heard about the selfless actions of Roberta Edwards in behalf of souls in Haiti. I’ve always wanted to meet and know her. I guess now I will have to wait till I get to know her in heaven…a short wait, when viewed through the eyes of the great Father we share as sisters. She inspired and encouraged me, especially as I followed the story of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and her response to those for whom she had sacrificed so very much. For those who are studying persecution in our Digging Deep 2015-2016 study, she stands as a modern-day example of one who constantly rejoiced through trials and even through persecution. Her death was due to an act of violence and we may well find, upon hearing results of investigations, that it was indeed “persecution for righteousness’ sake.” Will you join me in prayer for the children she left behind, for her family members who are grieving in indescribable ways and for the work for which she paid the ultimate price? Many have clamored for various women in the Catholic church to be canonized as “saints”. My sister, Roberta IS a saint (as are you if the blood price has been applied to your soul). She is a saint who is rejoicing in glory on this autumn night. But children in Haiti are weeping. I am praying that their joy, too, will come in the morning (Psalm 30:5). If it does, it will be largely because of the work of Roberta Edwards.

Here is the report about the shooting from the good church at Estes in Henderson, TN, one of her chief supporting congregations:

Our hearts are saddened to report the death of our missionary Roberta Edwards. On Saturday evening of Oct. 10, witnesses report that Roberta’s car was stopped by another vehicle which intentionally blocked her path. Armed gunmen emerged from the vehicle and fired into Roberta’s car, causing her death. Haitian authorities are investigating, and the identity of the perpetrators and the motive are not known at this time. She is survived by her parents, Robert and Laura Edwards.

Roberta was the administrator and “Mom” at SonLight Children’s Home in Port au Prince, Haiti, where dozens of children have received foster care over the years. Roberta also directed a nutrition center that feeds 160 children two meals a day, five days a week, in addition to providing funds for these children to attend school. At the time of her death, she was providing care for 20 children at her home. Her work has been overseen by the Estes Church of Christ since 2002. The facility where the children’s home operates is provided by Manna Global Ministries, and supporters of Roberta’s work in Haiti include individuals and congregations across the U.S. and beyond.

Roberta was a light to those in the community and dedicated to bringing hope to the hopeless. She knew that she worked in a dangerous setting, but had committed herself to care for children in Haiti despite these risks. Roberta has received her reward for her dedication to serving the Lord in Haiti. She will be missed in Haiti by her children, the community and friends. She will be missed here in the States as an encouragement and inspiration to us all. It is our intention to honor her memory by continuing the battle against Satan in Haiti and pressing on in the work of God’s kingdom.

Memorial services and funeral arrangements are pending, and we will provide updates as those become available. If you would like to honor Roberta with a memorial gift for the work in Haiti, those may be sent to the Estes Church of Christ, P.O. Box 191, Henderson, TN, 38340, and her family will be notified of your tribute. Please be praying for her parents, her children at SonLight Children’s home and the many Haitian brothers and sisters who are deeply grieved by this loss.

Sister to Sister: Leaping for Joy

51647 West Huntsville Church of Christ - Living with Purpose - Seminar for Women(LAST CHANCE AT THE PRETTY PINK SHIRTS!…If you got to attend the seminar but didn’t get a shirt, we have a few left and are moving them out at only $3.95 each! That’s a bargain for a great evangelistic conversation starter, even if you didn’t get to attend! Order here)

Leaping For Joy

“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled’” (1 Pet.3:14). “But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Pet. 4:13).

First Peter is the epistle on suffering. It is replete with exhortations and encouragement for those first century Christians who were being persecuted for their faith. We thank God in our assemblies today for the privilege of gathering to worship without fear of persecution. That line was not in their prayers. We ask God to help us be faithful unto death. This was not mere rhetoric in their prayers. The tyrannical powers of the Roman Empire were thirsty for the blood of Christians. The methods of torture inflicted on believers were unthinkably inhumane. Real life issues for them were not about whether or not it was socially acceptable or politically correct to confess the Savior. The issue for them was whether to confess and die or deny and live. While 1 Peter was written against this backdrop of incredible persecution it could just as aptly be called the epistle of joy, for joy and hope fairly oozed from the parchment as the words of this great apostle were read in the quiet and hidden rooms of worship.   These were Christians who, earlier in the same day, had likely been placed in real and perilous situations because of their alliances with Christ. The Holy Spirit was, through this letter of Peter, giving people who desperately needed comfort, security and hope, a reason to leave those secret assemblies with determination to endure for Christ, whatever the cost.

We sit on padded pews in buildings that have large signs in the yard proclaiming that what we are doing inside is worshiping. In our assembly each week, there are police officers and elected officials, who not only endorse what we are doing in the service of Christ, but participate heartily. So when 1 Peter is read in our meeting places, we may not receive the same blessing they did in the first century. Some may even think the comfort offered in 1 Peter seems like overkill in our comfortable society.  After all, a spiritual survival kit like I Peter is hardly necessary when we have it so easy…or is it?

Consider the words of Paul in II Timothy 3:12:

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

I’m convinced that if we are His…really living godly lives in Him, we will suffer some form of persecution. I’m convinced that if my life is void of sacrifice and any discomfort resulting from my faith, then my faith is not what it should be. I think of our teenage girls today in the Lord’s body. I look at the styles of clothing that are the norm in our society. I cannot imagine a teen girl today who exhibits modesty at all times not being excluded from certain activities or facing taunting because of her “different” look. I think of the entertainment crazed culture around us and am sure that those who refuse to be entertained by movies laced with profanity and sexuality must be excluded from certain groups or activities and face the ridicule of their peers. I reflect on the materialism that drives parents, even in our churches, to allow others, even non-Christians, to be the primary caregivers for their children.  When I think about this societal norm, I come to the conclusion that those who choose to sacrifice income for Christian child-rearing are doing just that…sacrificing for the cause of Christ. So how does joy factor into this picture of sacrifice?

I confess that, at times, it’s difficult to recognize the joy in sacrifice. But I believe joy results from sacrifice, first, because if 1 Peter teaches anything at all, it teaches this.  Secondly, I believe joy results from sacrifice because I understand that the biggest part of Christian joy happens when I’m finished living here on earth. (1 Peter says that, too. Check out chapter 1, verses 6-9.) Thirdly, I believe that sacrifice comes from joy, because the fact is recognizable in my life and in the lives of those around me. My daughter was baptized on a night when she was sacrificing a play rehearsal in order to attend a gospel meeting. That was a time of joy. I know of many teens who’ve sacrificed parties, proms, movies and more because they were Christians. I don’t know a single one who regrets having made the sacrifice for Christ. I know of many who wish they had.  I know a host of mothers who’ve given up careers to fulfill godly roles in the home and 100% of those I know who have done it have experienced joy because of this decision.

Finally, I know there is joy in reproach because of the words of Christ in Luke 6:22, 23:

Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you,
and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of
Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your
reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the

This is a promise of Christ. The reaction that I should have to this promise is specified. When I am blessed, yes blessed, with an opportunity to sacrifice something that’s important to me, to be excluded from a group of my peers, or to be ridiculed because of my spirituality I should rejoice and leap for joy!  I can do this but it takes a retrospective look at the prophets who have already suffered for their faith (verse 23), and an anticipatory look, by faith, into heaven (verse 23). What this means, in practical terms, is that I can do this IF I stay in the Book. When I am buoyed by the victories of those great heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11 and by the precious promises of my God, I can rejoice when I am called to suffer reproach in this life.  Will you be remembered for being joyful in reproach?

(Above article first published in “How Shall I Be Remembered?”; a production of the Freed Hardeman University Associates, available at the Freed Hardeman University Bookstore).

Sister to Sister: Do You Phub?

images-17A neologism, by definition, is a newly invented word and one of the newest terms emerging this week in English is “phubbing”. To phub (from two words: “phone and snub”) is to give attention to your phone when you should be paying attention to a significant other…say, maybe your husband. To “phub up” a relationship is to damage or destroy it due to ignoring important aspects like conversation while you scroll or communicate with others via that hand-held device.

We do this, don’t we? I know I am guilty of phubbing at times. A study at Baylor University recently revealed that phubbing is a significant cause of unhappiness in marriages and sometimes leads to bigger breaches of intimacy and to significant problems in relationships (

As I was talking this weekend to women about treasuring the sisterhood, I first thought about this neologism in regard to our sisters. Do we sometimes get so “into” the superficial relationships with people we almost never see and hardly know that we neglect to capitalize on the times we could be spending with our local sisters? I don’t know, but it would be a shameif we let that happen. While it’s wonderful that technology has broadened our fellowship in some ways that make it possible to encourage sisters in other countries, it would be sad to be encouraging to sisters in distant places while hardly knowing those with whom we regularly worship. I want to be careful to treasure relationships with sisters with whom I share local activities and local evangelistic efforts.

But as I think further, the ultimate tragedy would be if a person phubbed God. Is that possible? Can a person spend inordinate amounts of time phone trolling, Facebook scrolling, skyping and chatting with “friends” while failing to communicate and develop a relationship with God?  I think so and I think many people do.  Are there practical steps I can take to be sure I don’t let devices subtly take the time and interest that I should be giving to God?  Can I even disrespect God by slighting my husband while communicating with others via phone? I’ve been thinking about this and here are a few things I want to incorporate into my personal habits to make sure that I never inadvertently give God (or His delegated authority in my life) the leftovers of my communication time.

  1. When God is talking to me (i.e I am reading my Bible or listening to teaching), I will attempt to have my phone silenced or at least ignore any calls that are not emergencies, no matter where I may be.
  2. When I am talking to God, I will not allow my phone to interrupt that prayer time.
  3. I will reserve time for study and prayer every day as a priority over time spent on devices.
  4. I will not look at my phone during mealtimes with my husband, who is the one I am to reverence (Eph. 5:33).
  5. I will not text others while Glenn is speaking to me.
  6. I will not be on Facebook when my husband prefers that I be doing something else with him.  This  would be next to impossible for some women I know who are very much addicted to Facebook  or Twitter or Instagram. It may prove to be harder for me than I think. It’s my challenge for the coming days. I don’t want to be a phubber! (It’s funny….The term is so new that “phubber” autocorrects to “chubbier”. I don’t really want to be that either!)

Sister to Sister: Alex Underwater

images-16Last Friday night, we had a two hour prayer session as part of our West Huntsville women’s seminar. We prayed for many people. We prayed for doctors who are performing surgeries and families who are making decisions. Many prayers we prayed were in view of eternity and in behalf of lost people. One such young man was Alex.

Alex is Amy’s boyfriend and he’s been studying and thinking on the gospel of Christ. He has only a few months at home before he enters the military.  We prayed that he would obey for all the right reasons and we prayed for wisdom for Amy as she makes decisions about their young relationship.

The good news is that Alex was baptized into Christ on Tuesday afternoon. I knew you’d want to rejoice with Amy and me.

Lots of things happened while Alex was underwater— in that “grave” of baptism, burying the old man of sin. Here are a baker’s dozen of them.

  1. His sins were remitted (Acts 2:38).
  2. His sins were washed away (Acts 22:16).
  3. He became saved (Mark 16:16).
  4. His name was written in the book of Life (Phil. 4:3).
  5. He put on Jesus (Gal. 3:27).
  6. He contacted the death of Jesus (Romans 6:3,4)
  7. He got into Christ (Romans 6:3,4).
  8. His conscience was washed clean (I Peter 3:21,22).
  9. He became a sanctified and holy man (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
  10. He became a royal priest (I Peter 2:5-9).
  11. He began a new life (Romans 6:4).
  12. He was added to the church of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:47).
  13. He was redeemed (bought back) by the blood of Jesus (I Peter 1:18-22).

Is there someone reading who would like to have the things Alex got while underwater? Would you like to have a clean conscience, even in a world full of the dirtiness of sin? I’d love to help you to the blood of Jesus—the blood which can make and keep you clean till you’re all done living here on earth. It’s the best kind of life. Email me at

Sister to Sister: Links You’ll Like

Blessed is what I am for having been a part of the West Huntsville seminar this last weekend. Nothing…NOTHING I could have been doing would have been a greater joy than what I was privileged to do with sisters last Friday night and Saturday. I love God’s system of fellowship and I love His sisterhood. All glory to the God who so lovingly provides!

51647 West Huntsville Church of Christ - Living with Purpose - Seminar for WomenToday is a day of linking you up with the stuff of the past couple of weeks. If you want to hear Kathy Pollard’s lessons from our West Huntsville ladies seminar (and you should want to!) go here: These lessons were excellent and we are indebted to Kathy for much time spent in preparation and prayer in advance and for travel and effort in coming to deliver them! It was a great weekend and, if you joined us, may I say a personal thanks. It meant a lot to me to see so many of you, who read the blog, live and in person.
If you want a t-shirt from the seminar, go here to order. We have a few left and we will try to take the order form off-line when we sell out. They’re SO pretty and they’re only $7.25 plus the cost of shipping.

11902329_10153223400334069_4584303358887639646_nNext, we have limited quantities of Digging Deep shirts left as well. You can order those here. I bought two of those for myself because I wanted a loose fitting one for sleep and jeans times and a snugger one for under sweaters. That’s probably too much information. They are all $14.00. The Digging Deep tumblers are $9.00. If you want a DD shirt and mug, you can get both for $20.00.11057325_10153223402374069_621797771850264280_n

The Digging Deep podcast is Tuesday night. I’m going to try to hibernate in between now and then and be ready to talk about the persecution of one of my favorite Bible characters when we come together here at 7:00 pm CT on Tuesday. Flori Barber will be joining me live then. Please invite others and let’s do this for 2015-2016! If you’re in North Alabama (or Southern Middle Tennessee), join us at West Huntsville for the pre-podcast discussion group study on Monday night (tonight!) at 6:30. This is a rich sharing time, as well. Lindsey Van Hook is leading that discussion.

So now you are all linked up.

I’ll close with my favorite encouraging word of the weekend. It comes from Lori Holland and it goes out to Denise Skelton, Hannah Giselbach, Nuris Reyes, Vickie Yocum, Katie Quintero, Amber Powell Kropelin, and who else? Here it is:

I would like to give all the precious mommas that are here (at the seminar) a virtual high five for bringing those sweet babies and kids and being determined to feast on the Word today. Mom on, ladies!

Sister to Sister: This Humble Pope (An Oxymoron?)

pope-francis_2542431bWell, the media was definitely papally driven today. He was all over Washington and all over the news. On the White House lawn, in the papal open-air car and in the “Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception,” he commented on everything from immigration to global warming. He kissed a few babies and even hugged a five-year-old, whose letter to him about immigration reform has gone viral. As I was driving and listening to NPR as the pope was celebrating his first-ever US mass, the people on the street, who turned out by the thousands, were almost unanimous in their herald of His “best quality”—the thing that apparently most Catholics believe has made this pope the most popular “Holy Father” in many years.

That quality is humility. I heard it over and over. Oh, there were several synonyms like “down to earth” or “the people’s pope” along with descriptions about how he “just meets people where they are.”  President Obama addressed Pope Francis using the words “Holy Father”, “Your Holiness” and using the words “…in your humility” and “…your embrace of simplicity.”

Does anyone else see the irony? This is a man; just a created human being who is perfectly comfortable being called “Holy Father”. He is apparently good with millions of people around the world looking to him as the “Vicar of Christ”, which he is indeed called in the catechism of the Catholic church; he is okay with the assertion that he would speak for God with infallibility if he ever sits in the “ex-cathedra” chair (although this particular pope vows to never sit in that chair).

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, “humility” is “having a modest or low view of one’s own importance.” Since there’s not a shred of Biblical evidence that God is speaking through or even approves the papacy today, the acceptance/usurpation of the role of vicar and spokesperson for deity seems quite the opposite of humility, doesn’t it? In fact, I should say, since the scriptures are replete with evidence to the contrary that God is revealing His will today though any man, the role of going about the world and responding to the thronging masses as if he really is a ”Holy Father” to millions of people, is not an humble thing to do. It is much the spiritual equivalent of the the emperor in the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson entitled “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” There is someone going about in a papal parade, someone who thinks (or at least purports to believe) that he is “clothed” with  authority and holiness, who is undone and naked before God.

Here is what the Bible does say:

And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant (Matthew 23:9-11).

It also says this with regard to a “a man of sin” who  is compellingly descriptive of the popes throughout the last seventeen centuries, including the man who came to Washington yesterday:

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (II Thess. 2:3-12).

Whoever this man was, he was/is part of a great falling away from simple New Testament Christianity. He is exalted above God. (This is true of one who speaks things from His own wisdom that are in opposition to the revealed Word of God, pope or not.) Because of Him and His work, many shall believe a lie and thus, be forever damned.

Now, I have Catholic friends whom I love and respect. I believe they have been strongly deluded and they have, sadly, believed a lie. Perhaps one of them may read this. Perhaps she will become angry with me. It is not my purpose to anger anyone, ever.  But, if through the challenge that is emotional, one decides to stop and examine evidence—if she decides to re-examine what she has been taught all of her life in her Catholic tradition, then maybe we can have a dialogue and look at the scriptures. Maybe we can discuss the huge percentage of Catholic doctrine that is surprisingly foreign to the teachings of the New Testament.

Finally, let me say this. I understand that anytime a person writes a rebuke or criticism of anything, much less arrogance in religion, she puts herself in the line of critical fire. “How arrogant of you to criticize arrogance.” …  “Humble people do not rebuke people for not being humble.”  I know that Cindy Colley needs to constantly work to be a woman of humility. I know that I have not arrived at the pinnacle of modesty and meekness. I will pray today that God will allow me to serve Him with the overwhelming sense of dependency and weakness that should characterize me in my human-ness. But the Word is His. It is Divine. It is “worthy of all acceptation.”

May I recommend for your further study this article? It makes a lot of sense and might be helpful in shattering a strong delusion for someone you love…

(You still have time to register for the West Huntsville ladies seminar here:  I’m excited to get to be there.  I hope you can come. For those who cannot, you can watch the LiveStream.

Sweet Hour of Prayer – 7 p.m., Friday, Sep. 25th

Living with Purpose – 9:20 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m. (approx), Saturday, Sep. 26th