Hubby works hard during the week and our family has a special bent for relaxing on the weekends. We’ve found it “softens the grind” of tough schedules. Recently hubby was trying to catch a quick nap and I heard the “ding, ding, ding” of the microwave go off. I raced to the kitchen to stop it, but didn’t get there in time. Then several minutes later it happened again with another hungry boy practicing his culinary skills. “Ding, Ding, Ding”. Then it was my turn to warm up my snack of choice and I honestly forgot, again. Then a cake in the oven announced its arrival – “Ding, ding, ding. “If I had only just turned it off and not loudly said, “I am so sorry”, it might have gone unnoticed. So much for relaxation! We were all thinking of our world and not the “other guy”. My Navy husband tries to help us look out for the whole team rather than just our individual interests. That little snack, in that little appliance, getting little micro waves, alerted us that the food was ready but not of the bigger picture – sleeping papa on the couch, in the next room. Asking, “did we wake you” did not smooth things over. He had every right to be annoyed. Some questions should not be asked multiple times unless we’re ready to hear the clear answer, right?

One of the questions the disciples often asked was if Jesus would become an earthly King. Pre-cross they anticipated it, even threw a parade. Preachers all over the country reiterated this season that Jesus did not come to take an earthly throne. You would think the cross would have cleared that up for the early Christians, but look at Acts 1. Post-cross some of the disciples still can’t get past this expectation, this hope that “their team” would conquer and rule. Micro-vision. They connived to set up their own earthly kingdom. I wonder if Jesus slapped His forehead in frustration wondering when they would stop trying to make Him fit into their mold. Again, Jesus barely out of the grave, they repeat the question. “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” “Ding, ding, ding–times up, we still need a king”.  His resurrected visit among them seemed like the perfect opportunity for a “re-do” of their plans. UGH! He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” They still can’t control or manage Him. They were still thinking about their sphere of influence, their world, their outcome.

They were thinking micro- not Kingdom. There’s something else happening here. Something bigger than what we can manipulate with our own ideas. They were thinking about what they wanted to happen, what they needed and what they expected to take place.

Jesus, on the other hand was looking at the bigger picture. He was looking at things from a Kingdom view (macro). Restore is His language. It means to mend, return to its former state. Perfect wholeness and peace through salvation. The request is to bring back the covenant promise. They assumed it was the promise to just Israel. Jesus, who sees things from a historical, present and eternal perspective can’t look at things in just linear fashion. He sees things North, South, East, and West. He sees in 3millionD, from every angle and in every color possible. He is not limited by space or time and does not view things with the perspective of humans. That covenant did not start with Israel. That covenant does not end with Christians. He is not the King of one time or one people–He died for ALL. Pretty inclusive. They are wanting what matters to just “them” to be fixed and modified. Jesus’ goal is to reach the ALL. He is looking back to the first covenant with Adam and Eve. They get the part where He conquers the grave and will go to His father but still have limited micro vision. Give us Your vision Lord! He’s getting ready to show them the bigger picture but first …

has to peel their eyeballs off of themselves and their current situation.

Hmm? Sounds like us, doesn’t it? We see what is right in front of us. We focus on what we can touch and understand in this minute of time. The commands that He left with them were not a manuscript, biography, or  even a printed doctrine. He does them one better (literally) and leaves them a teacher, the Holy Spirit. The qualification? Wait for it….pray and wait. Do we realize that is true for us, here, now? Wait, then full access. All of their and our questions can be heard. The Kingdom now has a guide. This MACRO sight Spirit will direct them to all things Jesus has said about the Kingdom. Broad, complete view, first at creation, through the cross and into eternity.

The Holy Spirit is a Kingdom player.

Jesus, King of the Kingdom of Heaven will rule and reign and will sit on a throne, but it will be a Heavenly one. It is secure there where no one can manipulate or bargain with its justice or power. Then slowly but surely the plan gets explained and their micro vision is stretched into Kingdom vision – where all wait on God, all can be filled by the Holy Spirit, all can receive gifts, all can be sent. Will you restore the Kingdom (present tense) Jesus? He doesn’t chide them for asking a stupid/repeat question or send them to the remedial religious romper room. He doesn’t scold them for being exclusive or ethnocentric (cliquish).  He, compassionate Savior, redirects them to look at the larger picture, the original covenant being restored and the eternal kingdom affecting earth and realized in Heaven.

Until our calendars are viewed as moments God directs, until our thinking is restoring covenant back to where God intended with Adam and Eve, until our hearts are open to the Macro teacher (Holy Spirit), until our goal is co-laboring with all in God’s kingdom we will be merely dinging, clanging symbols stuck in time, missing God’s heart and God’s mission, only looking at our own lives or kingdoms. We need the Holy Spirit to enlarge our hearts, enlarge our spiritual family, enlarge our goals, enlarge the Kingdom and our vision until a wave of God is felt throughout our land in macro proportion.

Because we often forget and do not see clearly, we need the Holy Spirit to teach, lead and guide us. The message of Acts 1 is to come near, let God restore His kingdom and wait on the teacher to be released in our lives long term. Not just to bring us to Heaven but to bring us back, restored to God’s original plan (creation, covenant love, fellowship) then together walking forward to the Heavenly Kingdom ….  As planned. There is no new design to just move forward, forgetting the past. There is no new-fangled Messiah, reserved for the Jews (or Christians) or just us four and no more. There is a fulfillment of a Promise. Christ’s end game – all coming Home to God’s Kingdom, must become our endgame. 

 Strrrreeeeeeetttcccchhhh us Lord. Expand our Kingdom View.

Acts 1:3 says “to whom He showed Himself alive after His passion with many infallible proofs…”  What was Christ’s passion? ME. That’s the micro version. The macro version is salvation provided for me and YOU (plural-y’all). The difference in those two versions is the Holy Spirit. We need that power to see clearly, inclusively and most of all to bring us back to Homeplate – where it all began. Our advantage is having part of the “home team” guide us there. When we see through a Kingdom (Heavenly) lens, we will start to walk and live with a Kingdom lens, praying for all things and all people to be restored (mended, whole, at peace). Blessed are they who come in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna!

Instead of “will you restore Israel Lord” (incorrect question) we can now say confidently with exclamation, “By the power of the Holy Spirit, through us Lord, restore Your ENTIRE Kingdom and carry out Your Kingdom directives in a Macro way (waiting, restoring, including, gifting, anointing, and reaching) instead of a microwave “fix my world” on my timetable, now.

Ding, ding, ding   …. He’s ready. Are we?

RenaeRoche ©2018

When I was younger I was involved in a theatrical group. I remember the big velvet curtains ready to open, the lights panning the audience, the sound swelling from the orchestra pit and then the show began. “Another opening, another show, in Philly, Boston or Baltimore” still swirls around my mind. The big production proceeded and culminated in a grand finale. That’s just the progression we expect.  Holidays remind me of these events as they ramp up and we expect a certain outcome. We anticipate the ending of the Passion story: Jesus lives, goes thru a series of intense, painful events and then goes from life to death.

This week I had to go out of order in my reading, to help my kids as they started a new devotional time. Gotta admit, it was a bit weird reading it backwards as I was reading about the Emmaus road and they were back in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I like doing things in order. I’m a big fan of the breakfast burrito at McDonalds, available now all day long. Some things just need to be done in order to keep on track.  So, there I was rewinding Easter, as if it was a story to be put on the shelf. Somewhere in the middle however, something in me was stirred:

When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. (Note to self: Leader meetings with Jesus were done in God centered, restful nature, not a board room, hmm?) Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward (or as hubby says ADVANCED) and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back

and fell to the ground.        (screeech… rip)

Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.”

Using lame humor I asked my kids if Jesus had garlic breath and asked why they thought these gang participants fell backward. Responses were mainly about power and comparisons to superheroes. The lanterns were probably held by religious people, the torches by government people and the weapons probably by (insert people you are mad at here. Don’t be all coy like that was not what you were thinking when you read that). These folks came “armed”. They ask questions, another actor gets off script and then escort Him off to His death. Here’s the rip (screech….) All the bad guys and gals are now laying on the ground. That’s a problem with a torch in your hand. Talk about a literal hot mess. Do they scramble up, does someone give them a hand? Then there is this question: When Houdini wanted to escape he did. When animals are caged up and get even the smallest opening they run. When robbers or thieves see a chance to high tail it out of there, they take it. When the moment presents itself that you might get annihilated most people would run screaming away like a little girl. Why didn’t Jesus run?

I’ve seen power similar to this (falling down) when people encounter God. History records events like this when people are in revival or encountering the spiritual. You can find it in cults or genuine churches. It’s real and anyone who’s ministered at an altar knows that people react differently when their emotions are touched by the living God. Phenomenon like this is not all that unusual when people are scared, excited or transformed. When you touch a supernatural live wire there is bound to be a supernatural manifestation, sometimes fake and sometimes real.

But this is different. This is not a usual altar, it’s a beat down. Here’s where Jesus “alters forgiveness” forever. The ones carrying things fell backward. That’s greater than Ninjago or Karate Kid. Jesus didn’t even lift a finger, they fell backward. Not fantasy, not fiction.

There was power in His name.

Superman and all childhood superheroes either fight or flee and that is what we expect, but this is wholly different. He is wholly different.  What fight scene EVER ends this way? The soldiers fall backwards and there is the huge NCIS like opening for Jesus to run. Exit stage left – whoosh. But He remains. He helps them “learn things”.  What is the producer thinking? CUT! Did someone forget to follow the script? The One who is preparing to die for all, inserts a pause into the narrative, speaks calmly and then secures the release of His friends. Maybe He’s following scripture. It does not seem wise to do this. Don’t you just want to yell out “This is your opportunity to run!” In the black of night a getaway in this moment is possible. But He doesn’t take it – He just stands there, undistracted.

It will unnerve you if you meditate on that verse. Not only does He somehow cause these carriers of implements (lanterns, torches and weapons), aka unsavory villains, to fall back to the ground by some mysterious force but then protects His friends. That’s weird but what is weirder is that He gives Himself up and then…   He helps them. Now is not the time to be forgiving – run! You had a chance; they were on the ground for Heaven’s sake, run! Maybe He stays, for our sake.

Was the character of Jesus such that even in a moment like this He could not act any differently than He did on other days because His nature and character were defined by His father rather than His circumstances? Was it ingrained in every fiber of His being? I could not shake this thought. Would Jesus even support, help and assist those whose twisted life destiny was to crucify Him on a bloodied cross? That thought is challenging to “feel good” theology. Did He know that if He did not help these horrible people they would face certain death just days before He could redeem them? Did that matter to Him? Is His mercy really that endless? Were even they on His radar for salvation?

I get that Jesus gives mercy to the broken and weary. I get that Jesus gives grace to the addict. I have seen Jesus give love to the hurting but giving assistance or peace to the hateful enemies trying to destroy Him? RUN! Jesus, RUN!  They fall, His friends tremble, then Jesus gives them what they are looking for and peacefully, gently goes with them. Wholly unlike an escape artist,  a Navy Seal, any human being and any superhero. Completely different. Beyond our scope of understanding or intelligence. No comparison. When everything in our history, memory, training and survival instinct would tell us to hide, run or lie, He loves His enemies. This is the crucible, precursor to the cross.

This hand that formed mountains, constellations and a little babies feet stands in the cold starry night – empty handed, while theirs are filled with weapons. And He gives them a hand – to help carry out His own demise. Wow. That’s beyond comprehension. It would be enough that Jesus asks us to remember His suffering or even to love our enemies but we are told to love AS He loved. There must be some power we need to fulfill that because we are not superheroes, we are mere humans. He would not command that love without providing the needed resource to do so.

Sunday I went to church, still miffed by this passage and wrestling with the crazy notion that Jesus would actually help His enemies. The substitute preacher/ chain breaker read Luke 6:32-36, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is KIND to the ungrateful and the evil. 

Could it be that there is a whole category of people that Jesus wants us to reach? They aren’t in the 10/40 window but they may be breaking yours. They may or may not be from a foreign country but they may ask you to accept their ways –or be martyred. They may look just like you but snarl when you walk by. They may be the ones God uses to irritate you just enough to trigger violence– or prayer. God gave Jesus a way of escape, a way out but the cross was the only way He could run back Home. He wasn’t trying to get out of the tasks His father had given Him; He was aiming to fulfill them.

Maybe we should set aside the Christmas shoeboxes, the clothing give aways, the homeless handouts and instead this year look for some really ugly, mean, violent people carrying lights, torches and guns. It sounds like a Frankenstein movie doesn’t it? Maybe it’s time for a reverse thriller – chase the chasers, run down the rebels and pursue the persecutors but with God’s love instead of hatred. “Let me help you up so you can throw me down.” Radical. Revolutionary. So contrary to what we think is our “right” or the norm. We can sing “we got the POWER” all night but this pure, restrained beautiful example of power under control, submitted to Gods’ will changed the world once, perhaps that same power can change the world again. We just need to find some ungrateful and evil people and begin to let God do His work. Prayer connects us with that. It was those people who lifted Him to the cross and God’s will for His life. All under His Lordship.

What will you do with this information?  Jesus, assisted the ones who came to crucify Him. Kindness must have been more than just a child’s admonition. Being kind was the weapon He used on that day. “Did He win that fight mama?” Yes, He went from death to life and reigns victorious!” Jesus loved the ungrateful and evil ones. I’m not loving like He is, but I want to be, I choose to be.  Maybe it’s time to put the running shoes aside and stand firm in God’s will and plan. Lord, guide us. Arm us with Your kindness and goodness and lead us into YOUR battle.

Jesus remained, even when given the chance to flee. He was wholly unlike all others. Fully God, fully man. John 13:32-36 will tell us how to live this out. Christ’s One commandment will guide us. “Give us YOUR power Lord that we could obey Your commandment and will. Help us not to run from our destiny but to walk in Your example and power.”




I love that verse that says Gods mercies are new every morning and that God is FAITHFUL (Lamentations 3:22-23). Mondays remind me of that and the restart of another week. I don’t know about you but I really need that. Successes and failures over the weekend come to the forefront of my mind as I try to make sense of  life, ministry and future. Long gone are the days when Franklin Covey could just wrap everything up in a day’s agenda. Handsome hubby told me about something he had heard this week, “diversity is not God’s agenda, it’s His nature.” Man that is loaded with possibilities. It got me pondering, how many things do we do out of agenda versus God’s nature? Do our calendars or hearts reflect that?

The scripture for this week’s blog is Luke 15.  There’s this crazy strange story about a fig tree that is planted in a grape vineyard. I’m afraid Sesame Street has impacted my theology more than I realized. “One of these things is NOT like the other.” Who plants figs in a vineyard? Someone that likes variety, owner’s option. So the guys in the story dialogue about this out of place tree that is just not producing. The obvious and quick answer is CUT IT DOWN. This is the same type of tree that covered Adam and Eve when they were cut off from the garden. Same tree that will shade a man named Nathanial.  A tight budget and a yard that needs weeding may have brought my attention to this verse because greenery is expensive. Jesus, master recycler, tree hugger and teacher suggests something else – get some manure. Wow, He can redeem anything!  That’s some crazy manure right there.  It’s used to warm things up and decrease acidity – making the conditions better for fruit production.   So they are challenged to give it a year and then see what kind of fruit comes from it. A year, are you serious? Is it the soils fault? The gardeners fault? The food or nurture ? 

Manure is the solution. “Hey, Donkey, you just got promoted and this Jesus guy increased your value significantly.” Talking about using what’s near you!  Nothing fancy, just dung.

The manure fix came from the one who scooped dirt and blew breath into creating the first human being.  Give it nutrients, water, love and manure. It’s not in God’s nature to give up without first trying  EVERYTHING possible to redeem –including His own son. Jesus, the One who can redeem anything and anyone is giving a wonderful visual that manure is useful for growth.  Give it  a try – warm things up and lower the acidity and watch it blossom. This little fig tree, obviously belonging to the owner of the vineyard and significantly  out of place in its environment , has potential to thrive.

The one who came from Heaven would understand going the extra mile.

He did not waste resources but called for them to do right by this living thing. What a wonderful creator, still caring about creation. I feel a tug to water my plants and myself right now. Jesus suggested packing this barren fig tree with manure and giving it grace for over a year, that’s the long haul. How careful He was with life. Isaiah would also say of this same Messiah, “a bruised reed He would not break.”  

The disciples knew Jesus as a carpenter but now He’s giving them potting lessons? “Holy Toga!” Next He’ll be telling us how to fish! What’s with this guy? I don’t think He went to Essene State University, He went to that “other” school maybe. Why is He teaching us about fertilizing or watering plants when He’s supposed to be teaching us lessons about the Kingdom? Are you sure He’s the One? Doesn’t He know we’re here for His Leadership course? This down to earth lesson just isn’t that deep to us. What experience does this guy have anyway?” I would love to say Jesus gave a fig about that vineyard and everything in it, but that would detract from the message.

Most people skip the first part of the story because in our western city mouse world we don’t often garden. It is critical to understand the next section. No one likes to get their hands dirty or discuss manure too much. We’re a hand sanitizing generation. It’s easy to keep ones hands clean if we never plant anything (applies to the spiritual also). The highlighted “branch” of this chapter is the woman who is bent over. She’s bowed down low. She has an encounter with this garden happy Savior and everything changes. Her support, the lifter of her head has now come! (Lift your neck up, woo woo, lift your hands up). We are only told she straightens up but I’m thinking there must have been a happy dance when she realized there was more to life than just the pavement!  Reading this years later we rejoice and wear her shoes but again, our carnal nature distances us from the bad guys in the story and we immediately race to how we would champion the woman. Slow down…. Hear the bad guys because we also need to identify with them. The program, tradition, service has been interrupted in the synagogue. How uncouth. This guy is not one of “us” and he has not come up thru the system as “we” have so therefore he must be “other”, “them” or anti-authority. He just doesn’t understand our protocol, tacky. We can’t see what the Kingdom of God IS if we don’t recognize what the Kingdom of God isn’t. Does this woman think today is all about her? Is she an attention hog manipulating the situation?

She’s just standing there crumpled, needing support.

But like that barren fig tree Jesus knows just what type of support and comfort she needs, regardless of all the “religion and religious people” around her. All these theological gyrations aren’t a thought in her mind. He steps in and shows them how God cares for His daughter in spite of the agenda going on around them. Another gem from hubby this weekend as we prepared for church was this – “bring your prayer requests to Jesus and the altar until they turn into praises.” (I love it when He waters me with things that have watered him).

How many times do we ask for prayer? Well, it’s been said that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. We had a sweet older spiritual mother in our church who used to ask for prayer for her family every Sunday. It did not matter if it was a holiday, baptism or revival – she brought them all up in prayer. I used to just think it was her being quirky. She didn’t go with the flow of things; she created the flow of things. She trained this preacher woman that the service wasn’t about my agenda but God’s digging, fertilizing, watering and pruning His plants. Over the years I noticed her family regularly getting healed and blessed. That wise saint knew how to press in and persevere. She spread lots of glory, love and honor all around the roots of her family tree and now there is a vast forest she could thank God for in her prayer time.

Our family has been listening to a really good preacher talk for several months now on God setting things straight in our lives and those we reach out to. He’s doing just that in us. Oh that the holy chiropractor would come and rub out all the spiritually arthritic places in our hearts and souls!  I love this visual of Jesus bending the woman’s back, back into place – so she could rest and see Him and others aright. Jesus wants to set all things straight according to His reign. Double back and consider that again – God’s kingdom agenda is to let God set things straight and aright, yielding rest to His creation. We make room for GOD to do that.

Don’t you just love Jesus today? He’s careful with the little, He’s careful to redeem and recycle, He’s careful to make things straight….   I’m not like that yet, but I want to be. We’re all in these stories – good and bad guys on any given day. That’s why we need the Bible, each other and lots of grace!

Maybe that’s why repentance is based on God and not on us.

These blogs are meant to inspire discussion, connect with others that want to live Biblically and share hope. The purpose is to go deeper in the subject of Rest and Peace. What are modern day Ox and Donkeys? Do we let our cars rest and fill them with oil? Do we bless those who help us work during the week or just cut them down or replace them? It’s interesting to think of modern day Oxen and Donkeys. Pots are replaceable and Razors are disposable but living things should not be.  How do we care for and bless those who give us the ability to work harder and smarter during the week? Do we at least weekly water/bless them? Straightening and healing are fundamental things the Kingdom is about and Kingdom work should equate to rest for the weary.  Disclaimer: I have not talked to anyone’s’ mechanic, secretary, spouse or plant. Just reading and processing the text. It makes me curious though, if we paid more attention to that or those who serve or need mercy, would there be less time to judge those trying to straighten and heal?

Those of you reading this that lived during the post depression era understand the value of reusing a tea bag and recycling things. Those of you who are poor understand the value of salvaging what you cannot afford to just replace. Those of you who work in leadership know the benefits of low turnover. Those of you who understand mercy, realize all of these are seen in the Christ. God’s in the people recycle business and His goal is to redeem ALL things.

Caring, straightening, watering are all signatures of God bringing rest to His body. “Quick and easy” to “get er done” is not part of that system. We must dig deeper and pour in God’s healing grace. It takes His work to bring rest to God’s creation. This whole passage is convicting. Changing a culture takes time, changing a Body so it is straight does also. How do we steward people? How do we steward rest? How do we work to glorify God who loves even the littlest plant or seed? While the seasons change, He is watching over every living thing, He is Heaven bent on straightening every crooked path or person, His eye is still on the sparrow and the smallest hair on our heads, regardless of what the bad or good guys are doing.

I’m going to go find my mustard seeds and see what God wants me to plant and care for this week. I’ll do my part and trust that God will do His. I also have some things to water, oil and make straight. I want Heavens agenda and to learn how to walk in God’s Kingdom.

How about you?


RenaeRoche 2018 




The Grandest Holiday of the year has now passed and people are still cleaning up plastic grass, eggs and the leftover remnants of company. It was so cold here that we did not put up many of the decorations we had in previous years. We did however light our lantern and put ceramic figures of the resurrection scene around it. At the table each of us took turns saying what questions we thought each of the figures would have asked post resurrection. Some of these included: Why did Jesus say “I thirst” when He was the living water? (This from a ceramic woman we think is Mary). “Why was it so bright when the angel showed up” (The guard). And then someone thought Jesus would ask where the tartar sauce was since later on, they had fish. Some years are more spiritual than others, but who doesn’t like tartar sauce?

I became fascinated with one of the characters in the Easter narrative this year. He just happened to share the same name as Jesus. If you did not know this – there were hundreds of men named Jesus at the time of the Passion of the Christ and many were crucified that same day. Talk about confusing. The enemy thought the Right One, who came to seek and save the lost would somehow get lost in the crowd. “Sssee you’re just a number among many, no one will even remember you were here.” It’s impossible to pull the wool over the eyes of the One they call Shepherd, just saying.

Scripture tells us that because of envy they crucified Christ. Jesus said He was chosen. Jealousy wants what someone has; envy just wants them to be stripped of any potential blessing, joy or favor. “So Jesus, you think you’re all that and a bag of chips? You don’t know everything!” In Christ’s scenario– chosen meant selected for Death, though innocent, He was crucified according to the popular vote of the crowd. He was Chosen before birth to die. That’s a popularity contest no one would want to win. Don’t ever believe that the majority is right because of their numbers – in this case they were deadly, eternally and permanently wrong. Truth does not change based on the largest numbers. Jesus died on His cross- very alone. “Well, we think…”  Nope, what does Jesus say, what would Jesus do? Consider it was during a time of purification and holiness that the religious people plotted Jesus the Christ’s death. Religion had gone very, very wrong.

So back to our rogue imposter – the other Jesus that was Unchosen. He may have slipped your eye before because not much is written about him. Mark tells us he was bound with the other protestors in the riots he stirred up and thrown with them in a cell. He had a cause and unlike the milieu of meddlers around him, was willing to stand up for it. Seems the people maybe even liked this guy as he represented their opinions. He had given voice to their discontent. They wanted people to know things needed to change — but they wouldn’t go as far as wanting this guy to die even though he was a murderer.  He was popular – but wasn’t chosen by the high priest. He was chosen by the people. He was the unchosen one.

Being unchosen saved his life. He wanted to help, but not to die. That sets him apart from Jesus the Christ right there. The common folk however were yelling for him to be released, he was the “other one.” He was notorious in those parts, “notable” scripture tells us.  Only disciple John, Jesus’ close friend, gives us insight into him. He simply cannot stomach this guy being associated with Jesus in anyway, so he tells us that he was a “robber” – a sneaky snake. Later editions of the Bible scrubbed rogue Jesus’ name out to help us avoid confusion. That’s frustrating because knowing his real name helps us identify with his sin, the unfair trade and depth of redemption.

This imposter rogue, riot guy’s story is pretty straight forward unlike the story about Judas. I never understood why all the “news” about Judas was so twisted until this year (USA news spin).  Judas repented with remorse. True remorse means money gets returned, and items restored, not just cheap words. True repentance means a life change, not just a sloshy “I’m sorry”. Judas did that and the news cycle should have changed — but it didn’t. They knew in time that the real Jesus was innocent but the gossip, rumors, slander and envy – laden hate was already in motion. No wonder the real story never accurately got recorded. Bribes, sell-outs and cover ups prevented it. The Potters field caught the attention of the crowd and the investigative reporting stopped. It’s the magician’s bunny – “look over here” to divert attention away from the critical thing at hand.

So back to this other Jesus, the unchosen one. The crowd in Matthew 27 is made up of soldiers, regular folks, men and women – from every belief system and nationality. It is not made up of only Jews. Telling people that, was just another magicians trick to fuel anti-Semitism. Caiaphas, prophesied that One should die for the nation. Real Jesus was causing  people to believe in Him and the religious leaders were afraid that they would lose their nation over His teachings. The fight in the nation was mounting. Those standing behind rogue Jesus wanted Him released. Real Jesus, not even defending Himself, had previously told people He was the Chosen One. Envy says I don’t want this successful person who is XYZ to get rewards/favor. Envy wants to quash anything that looks, smells or feels like God’s or man’s favor. It’s like crabs in a basket, all remaining trapped.

Both real and rogue Jesus were chosen and unchosen that day.

Rogue Jesus escaped death and was unchosen for the cross. Whew! Rogue Jesus was chosen by popular vote to remain alive. Chosen Jesus Christ was  scourged, mocked and crucified. The crowd did not pick Him believing the “other guy” represented them best. So true. Unchosen Jesus Christ, did not get the acclaim that “notable” rogue Jesus did but He was chosen to ascend to Heaven and sit by the right side of God, chosen to return by His Father. Part of the Irony is that rogue Jesus’ name (Jesus Barabbas) literally means the son of the father.  What a mind twister.

It’s past Easter and we know where Jesus was going and about His return, but where did Jesus Barabbas go? History remains silent. While the One who died so that ALL lives could matter was crucified and resurrected, the guy who was a murderer and thief got off totally free. I’m guessing Barabbas did not riot that decision. Pretty amazing. Did Jesus Barabbas simply go home? Did he celebrate? Did he settle down and work a 9 to 5 job?

Would he or would we, walk, talk, work or rest differently after being set free? What would Jesus – Barabbas do Monday morning?

It’s the same question we have to answer. I am saved from destruction, damnation and death. What do I do with that information? I know Jesus is at the right hand of the father, interceding for you, for me. Fully God and divine. We identify with the other guy more readily. How do I walk about the week in Barabbas’ shoes? Back to insurrection vs. resurrection? Does he visit Jesus grave only to find it empty? Does he flee Jerusalem that night and run to Emmaus to get a donkey and get far, far away? Hmm? Back to robbery and rioting?  

Or maybe… wanting real news and a real Messiah he could follow this Chosen One’s life and example? I don’t want to follow in His miracles or footsteps because He’s NO LONGER THERE. I don’t want to look back for His shadow or yesteryears revival, I want to hear His voice TODAY and actively, willingly go WITH HIM, wherever He is going. If I were Barabbas I would:

  1. Realize my life is now a gift and not by my works, skills, talents

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph.2:8-9)

  1. Get in the word and find out what is really true

If I were Barabbas I would diligently search the scriptures and then listen carefully to Peter teaching:” But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, (WHY?) so that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light;”(1 Pet.2:9)

  1. Seek out godly mentors to stay on track and in truth

If I were Barabbas I would go find John, who called me some awful names (true but painful) and have him explain 1 John 1:9 to me, slowly.

  1. Be a vessel for Christ to shine through

Then, if I were Jesus Barabbas I would focus on decreasing so real Jesus could increase. Whatever the cost. I would ask John to tell me the story of Lazarus where Jesus tells them that they have NO light within them. I would ask for Jesus to shine HIS light through me. I would make room in my heart and life for that to happen on a regular basis.

I’d also go find Toby (Mac) Maccabees and daily sing “Light Shine Bright” and connect with Jesus protesters disciples and live in a manner that glorifies Christ. I don’t know what Barabbas did Monday morning or any morning thereafter but like him, guilty, sin-laden and not capable of earning salvation, life now CAN NOT be the same. That unchosen, unpopular guy on the cross and His resurrection= CHANGES EVERYTHING!  

If JB goes forward, in spite of his life of sin, he can walk into a bright future – provided by an unpopular, unchosen, bloodied, envied, yet loved Savior. He faced the same choices we face today. Redemption precedes radical change. How will you walk out the message of the resurrection? What would Jesus do? What would Jesus Barabbas do? Because of Him we can live shining bright in a dark world. Chosen, free.

2018 RenaeRoche






A friend of mine recently went to a meeting to discuss nutrition and weight loss. Halfway through she remembered  she had a Peep in her purse, contraband for sure. It cracked me up as I thought about the possibilities if she was found out by the hungry people around her. There might be a peep pile on! There she sat, no one knowing she had this little delightful treat in her purse. It was like an Easter surprise for one. You just never know what things are hidden in a woman’s purse. This is a season of surprise, fulfillment and ….  hope.

Feeling a little disconnected, one night I bought the kids palm fronds at the grocery store. As I wheeled through the aisles I debated with myself the necessity of tradition. I pondered how to celebrate this event at home.  As I loaded the groceries into our vehicle, the wind picked up and off went the fronds flying through the air. This did not go as planned. I had really hoped to celebrate the event with the boys. I remembered as a child when balloons flew away, my mom would tell me they were going up to Jesus. I never understood why he would steal a little kid’s balloon, but on this day I was OK with it  because the reason I bought the fronds was to praise Him.  So, there in the dark parking lot, littered with sale fliers I broke out into a little praise. I thought I might as well, while the fronds were airborne.  Nope, there were no donkeys, coats or disciples but somehow I knew Heaven had heard my song.  Hosanna, Hosanna!

This weekend is Resurrection Sunday, a serious  high church holiday. I greatly respect the churches that pause and meditate on Good Friday. It is powerful to consider the cross as we embrace the reality of pain, suffering and the experience of what it feels like before the third day. It gives depth to the miracle of the resurrection and helps us identify that “place” of absolute abandon and hopelessness before our prayers are realized. When all is dark, we can not rely on our vision, we must hope in that which we cannot see. It grounds us in the reality of repentance and remission of sins and their cost. Hope on that dark night appeared destroyed. 

The Messianic line took 14 generations of waiting from David to Jesus.  That’s a lot of hope!  I was reading in Ruth how her hope had understandably  been crushed when she lost her husband and sons. (Ruth 1:12) It’s really hard to hope when death seems to have won.  She couldn’t even say she had hope, even the effort to breathe out the words would be too exhausting. Because she could not “see” or touch hope, she thought it was hopeless. That’s not what faith is though. 

Faith does not need evidence, faith only needs Jesus.

When the enemy can’t snuff out hope, he’ll try to tell us that hope is real but just no longer available for US; it’s for the “other guy or gal or couple” who deserves it more for whatever reason. Ruth lives out a season of her life trying to help her daughter in law who is young, vibrant and “worth” blessing but God was still working to provide for, strengthen and support Ruth. God is multi-inclusive when He blesses and “overflow” is His specialty. Prov.13:12 tells us that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick but when desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life “. Sometimes the timing in the answer is part of the blessing. Prov. 33:18 tells us “behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy.” When we continue to hope, God comes near. We cling to faith, God clings to us. We posture our hearts and He comes near and answers. That’s a good exchange.

Hear another weary spiritual traveler (New Testament):

18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”  19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.” 

This previously unknown group now becomes very important in the New Testament. They take center stage in the story of the risen one. Who is Cleopas’ companion walking with them? Many have speculated that it was another disciple or perhaps his wife. I wondered if he was the owner of the donkey that brought Jesus into Jerusalem or maybe it’s Simon of Cyrene, bewildered how he got in the middle of all the craziness on Friday.  Note that they are walking away from Jerusalem. What Cleopas and this mysterious person say gives us a clue to perhaps why the risen Lord would seek them out:


 21 But we had hoped  that he was the one to redeem Israel.

Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.”   Perhaps they saw that any possibility for change has been stripped away and thought they were fools to believe otherwise. They held on for awhile, they listened to the women and their testimony, for awhile — but just like they thought, it was just another cruddy end to another cruddy day. We understand disappointment, it’s that sadness that appears when we believed otherwise. Nothing would ever change, what were they thinking? It was near sunset so they had believed almost to the end. They did not know the song He’s an on time God or maybe they would have held on!  

Don’t read over that to fast because it is where WE fit into the story:

But we had hoped….

They were honest, real, transparent, broken = all things Jesus values.

Was this believer perhaps the only one who trusted until that hour that Jesus was Messiah? We aren’t told. Was this guy the greatest fan or most devoted servant?  We are not told. We hear that Cleopas is dejected, disappointed, and downcast by his statement, “we had hoped.”

It’s almost like Jesus leaves the crowd (99) to find the 1 on purpose.   It’s almost like the Shepherd has returned to gather His sheep. It’s almost like He’s giving them a visual of what repentance and returning physically look like as they have supper. Then, as mysterious as He had appeared, He vanishes… but their hope is restored. His presence does that.

They had encountered the exalted and resurrected King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He’s not in Jerusalem doing a victory lap with James or Andrew, he’s taking a dusty, arduous walk on the road to Emmaus with some folks who won’t even shut up long enough to hear Him tell His story… (totally self-absorbed) yet He goes with them on their journey. Selfless, aware, mindful, in tune, compassionate, merciful, patient and still smelling glorious from being in the throne room of Heaven, fragrant from His offering. That is just crazy awesome. Now King, yet  remaining  a Shepherd. I love that about HIM!

Would Jesus go the wrong direction, leaving the group at this critical moment in history, in order to get His loved ones to the right place?

A thousand times YES!

He would and did go out of His way to reach the lost. 

He would leave the “party” to encourage the downcast. Imagine the vindication and celebration of being with the group of disciples at that specific time? No one would have blamed Him, but He didn’t go back to the church or even his family to celebrate – he went to find those who had already checked out and gone on their way home. He saw their dejected faces, slumped shoulders, weary hearts as they dragged on to Emmaus – and met them in their hopelessness.

See, hopelessness had to surrender to the HOPE of HEAVEN. He stared it down and sent it running the other way. He came by that day to tell someone God’s promises are real, they are true and they are for YOU! Someone must have had an ounce left of faith on that road to Emmaus!  Like the Army – leaving no man behind, Jesus sought them out! He took a YOU turn so He could find where the ewes turned and then pointed them to Heaven. It’s not just what He does – it’s who HE IS.

He transformed the womb, then transformed the tomb, rose and entered Heaven… .   

That u turn on the Emmaus road got them ready so CHURCH would forever be transformed to look like the church in Heaven. No one missing, no one broken – all gathered in HIS name. THIS is the One we ALL hoped for.  Lift your hands up!  It’s Messiah, lift your hands UP. (Sorry, just got happy).

Hope in Jesus DOES NOT DISAPPOINT. Hope in Jesus, draws Him near because trust is His currency. When we hold out hope that He is who He says He is, He comes running to meet that faith. He’s not some star just strutting around seeking applause, He’s Lord of the Universe – and He came to seek and save the lost, whoever they are, authorized disciples or barely believers, wherever they are on life’s twisted, dusty roads. He came to recover them ALL, not one  that God gave Him will be lost. 

“Our hearts are broken Lord, our dreams are gone. XYZ did not take place.” Did we fail you or did you fail us? We had hoped….

Hope can be misplaced. It needs to be in God.

Hope can be misguided. It needs to be according to God’s word.

Hope can be delayed. It needs to be in God’s timing.


But Hope in Jesus, is NEVER, EVER disappointed. He is who He said He is. He has done just what He said He promised. He has challenged and conquered death, hell and the grave. He is coming back to rule and reign in righteousness. That Hope is fixed. Hope that is grounded and rooted in the Savior is permanent because He has proven ALL His words are true.

Whatever you are going through … fix your eyes on Jesus. God is watching over you with His protective eye. Jesus is near you with His mercy and the Holy Spirit is working in and through you to form Christ in your heart. You will never be forsaken or forgotten; it just is not Christ’s character. YOU are His treasure – the one He came to seek and save. If on the busiest day of His entire life he came back for Cleopas and his unknown, no name friend, who had lost hope, don’t you think if you are hoping and waiting that He will come near you? He stands ready to save, fill  and lead you on.  Who are you hoping in today? 

Lord, we place our hope in YOU today. Thank you for your example. May all of our hope be firmly fixed in YOU. Please also show us those along the road who have lost hope that we could point them to YOU, the ONE who does not , will not, can not ever disappoint.

We had hoped… and you came near and answered, just as you promised. Thank you Jesus. 


RenaeRoche 2018



For some reason the alarm did not go off this morning and the dark sky prevented the light from shining thru the window to wake us. Eventually we got ready and I walked the boys to the bus stop in the pouring rain. “Mama did we forget to change our clocks after daylight savings time?” “No, it’s just a stormy day.” My heart was with the kids but my “will” was back under the warm cozy sheets. Some days, not even coffee makes a difference. Last week the shorts came out, this day the gloves and scarves were put back on. Huddling children cowered under umbrellas and parents, as we all waited for the school bus to come splashing down the road. One by one the students entered and slowly the parents went back to their homes and cars. I walked down the broken, muddy sidewalk avoiding the puddles. The big pine trees surrounding our little neighborhood were dripping with fresh spring rain and the clouds in the sky looked ominous. As I went to cross the street I heard a familiar sound, a robin. Silly bird, robins don’t sing in rainstorms. She continued. I guess robins sheltered under a big dry branch do. It was such a sweet surprise and beautiful tune on such a dark, dreary day.

 I will sing this day, in spite of the rain.

That’s what robins do, that is what they were created to do. Not sell shoes, throw footballs, organize business meetings, they were created to sing and there Ms. Robin sat, doing her thing, come rain or shine. Maybe her “will” this morning was to sleep in also. Maybe her will was to live in Arizona. I’m so glad she sang her tune in my neighborhood.

As we progress to the beginning of April there is much spin – Lent is here, churches are advertising “resurrection Sunday”, some are having big Easter productions and egg hunts, some are explaining Passover, others are conducting Seders and then there are always groups talking about how some or all of these things are wholly spiritual, cultic or pagan. We humans have sure made a mess out of something so beautiful.

What did Jesus say to His disciples after He rose from the dead?

Three days, three words. We know he was fully man right there. Few words. A lifetime of fulfilment and prophecy and no one would have blamed him for preaching up a whopper of a sermon but he was brief, concise and summarized the whole event. Three days, three words. What a life message and standard for all the other events and shenanigans we call “church”. Sola Eirene. It’s so simple, but required a lifetime and eternity to display.

As we follow the journey to the cross and ramp up for Easter Services, there is one verse that continues to grip my heart. It’s couched in a paragraph in Luke 23:” For the third time he (Pilate) spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.” But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand.25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and


surrendered Jesus to their  will.


26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.      Note that they now lead Jesus instead of following Him. 

If you have any Campus Crusade for Christ friends you have heard the question, “who sits on the throne of your heart?” I’m grateful to Bill Bright and his team for ministering that into me during my first year at a secular college.  It changed the direction of my life. The analogy is meant to discover if it is God leading you or your own desires. Maybe you have read the book, Not My Will. TV preachers call us to exchange our tattered lives to serve God, doing whatever He calls us to do. That’s the Christian culture. We know post -cross that we are supposed to live in obedience, to surrender to the will of Jesus. But like Pastor Cho, do we pray and obey or talk ourselves out of anything that calls us out of our comfort zones?

Pilate and the crowd could not access YouTube; they could not do a google search to get info on this guy called the King of the Jews. They did the opposite of what was expected. Who in their right mind would choose a criminal over an innocent man, unless  they really hated him? Did they not see the dark clouds forming, then the sun refusing to shine? Pilate acquiesced to the majority; the majority crushed the will of Jesus, to their demands, by force. With fists in the air they demanded “their way” and for a moment in history, “self, rights and majority” seemed to win.

“I will have my own way, I will decide what’s best for my life, I will determine my own destiny” and then they overrode the will of the One, purposed to be the King. This crowd was not so horrible– we hear these things in our own heads, we see these furrowed brows in our own mirrors as we intentionally, recklessly and even unconsciously choose to do our own thing, proceed in our own will.  But with each decision do we realize that we too are demanding Jesus surrenders to our will? Isn’t knowing the full story and still proceeding in our own way more horrible than those who walked in ignorance?

A young preacher, wrestling with his career path, chose a song “All to Jesus, I Surrender ” to sing as a meditation. He later told others that it helped him daily choose God’s will instead of his own. The song was written by a painter (Judson W. Van DeVenter) who had reluctantly laid down his passion for art to take up the call to be an evangelist. JW wanted to draw, God wanted him to preach. His song was his prayer, expressing the struggle to choose God’s will over his own. JW’s meetings did not reach as many as he probably hoped, nor did his career make him famous as his art might have, but the song he wrote regarding that critical decision, still reaches across the nations today. It’s a song that calls believers to lay down their will, hopes and dreams to carry the cross of Jesus, not out of obligation – but love and devotion. The young preacher faithfully sang JWs song in his personal devotions, “fill me with thy love and power” and then… in auditoriums all over the world. JW’s small tune brought a ray of sunshine, enough for Billy and Cliff and Margaret, to see through their storms and continue laying down their will, to pick up the Lord’s. The tune gave them courage as they surrendered their lives and wills to the Master. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “One act of obedience is better than a hundred sermons.” I think that obedience is a sermon that God preaches through our lives that displays His character.

Ravi Zacharias says, ” All it takes is for one man, one woman to step on the scene and change the course of history.”


Fill us Lord with Your love and power. We surrender to Your will.


“Surrendered lives are available for God to speak through , accessible for miracles to  work through and aligned to usher in the King.” R.Roche  Fill us Lord with Your love and power.

I will ____today     God, what will YOU have me do to today, tomorrow, with my life? Help me surrender to Your will and hear Your call. Your will is always BEST and Your peace is how I accomplish YOUR will. Fill us Lord with Your love and power.

The song that has been my meditation this season is Dave Pedde’s “Come Now, Your Kingdom. ” It helps me as I try to release “my” will and step into HIS. I pray it blesses you as you surrender to the ONE worth following.

Peace To you,    Sola Eirene

RenaeRoche 2018

Two men walk in a bar, they share a drink, they talk through their day and their conflict. Yea, right. In the Wild West sometimes you would hear of a shootout and who had the fastest draw. Occasionally innocent bystanders would get gunned down and shot glasses and dreams would be shattered.

Modern day- Two madmen meet to discuss peace (Random example). Their nations are volatile and if they can get along they can avoid a nuclear holocaust. The odds are high that there will be casualties because advanced weapons are being used. If either one was perceived to be reasonable –the other one may back down, so bravado and bluster are employed to harness fear. Those behind the factions lean in to see who will “break” and who will triumph. Speculation heightens as to who really is a madman and who is trained to call the others bluff. Those who understand the pressure will see that both are capable of human atrocity and both have a look deep in their eyes signaling past pain, current turmoil and future anger just waiting to be unleashed. Who really knows their capability?

peace treaty, “is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, which formally ends a state of war between the parties.”[1] You’ve heard the expression it takes two to tango. 

Years ago I had the joy of meeting a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He was one of the freest men I’ve ever met. Handsome in appearance, his true character radiated beyond that as he explained living a life with purpose. There was an inner fire that drew his listeners closer as he shared exploits that could only have taken place with a divine hand on his life. He had successfully sat down with Jews, Muslims and Christians to navigate peace in a war torn area. While discussing the intricacies of negotiation with our team afterwards I reflected on how he had brought so many factions to the table – friendship and food. A warm heart and good cup of coffee goes a long way in bringing people together. 

The news this week tells stories of world leaders bargaining with resources, weapons and even lives. Some were poisoned as they represented their governments. Stateside we hear of battles over citizenship and walls being erected to keep “bad guys out”. What about the bad guys left in?

In Missouri last week a young man decided to strip down naked, steal a yellow ATV and go joyriding. He flew down the wrong side of the freeway, eluding police who could not follow him. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out drugs were a huge part of the war he signed up for voluntarily. My husband, a former submarine sailor, jokingly tells me that the letters in NAVY stand for “Never Again Volunteer Yourself. Two different worlds. Two different purposes for the risk involved. 

Who are the madmen? Who are the madwomen in our society? Hostile parties, coming together looking for relief, treaties, agreement, armistice. It is so much easier to put all our anger, hatred into a bucket of North Korea, Russia or the drug dealer down the highway than to realize….I am the madman.  We collectively are the madmen.

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Romans 8:7

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10

In order for there to be a peace treaty, it necessitates that both parties are hostile to one another. Christ comes between us and a merciful, loving God. There is no yin/yang in that equation. God is hostile to sin but loving towards us. One sided. Pretty amazing covenant! He gives all the benefits and we take all the provision.  Is G-d a Sucker? No, He’s benevolent, compassionate, and merciful. May we never lose the wonder of that. We will — if we continue to believe that “others” are madmen and we are born free.

Colossians One (NIV) tells us, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 

                                                                 if you continue in your faith,

established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.“

While some women are marching declaring rights, injustices and freedoms, other women are struggling to watch children, feed husbands and volunteer at schools. A question has stirred my heart. Why do we fight to look “xyz –good, advocate, confident”?  Both want other women to “believe in themselves”. Both groups would probably tell us they are working hard to make life better for –others. Sheer madness or sweet sacrificial service? In the midst of everyone telling us how wonderful/ powerful we are and the focus on having perfect bodies I wonder if we could pause for just a millisecond…

Theologically, we too are madmen.

How long since we “identified” with our true roots? Hostile to God. You won’t see that on a poster. Unless we remember that, we will never realize the deep, pervasive need for a Savior, a maker of peace. Eradicate the need, eradicate the solution. Without the pain of the cross, there is no crown. Without the balm of the crucified, there is no blessing. Without the blood stained Jewish Messiah, there is no new creation Christian. Talk about cutting out the middle man! He offers us a

Peace Covenant

because there’s only one hostile party and that is me, you. The difference is He offers all the benefits and reaches out across the aisle. The difference is –there is no gleam of cruelty in His eye or plan of hate in His heart. He offers us the glorious exchange – our hostility for His peace.

Who’s the Madman? Answer that question and you are on the right highway to real peace.  When is it the right time to be reconciled through Christ to God?  

Two rustlers _________ walk in a church (fill in the blank with bikers, minorities, elderly, women, teens, white guy, etc.). They share communion and talk about their day. The sun shines in the Calm East and hope for the future is apparent. They rejoice in their fellowship and things are restored.

Rejoicing that there is a solution, a hope, REAL Peace…..



[1] Wikkipedia (public opinion source) 

Gen. 3:19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken, for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return.

I did not watch many of the games this year, nor did I participate in the Olympics. It wasn’t that I did not want to win gold in the skating or skiing competitions, I was just pretty busy and missed ALL the training meetings.  Lol. My limbs were not made for those racing down a hill at 95 mph! No one was angry with me for not getting the bronze.  My tasks were much different. This weekend I did make some awesome meals for my family and on really awful dessert. Today, I will  vacuum, make beds and oh yes, dust. Dust and praise. There will be no gold medals handed out for those things. Not glorious, but necessary.

Psalm 103:14 says that God knows our frame, He remembers we are dust. That’s a relief! Dust in God’s hands is much different than dust in mine.

In the midst of common, ordinary days, sometimes one breaks free from the pack and runs ahead. This month we witnessed the legacy of such a man when “Billy” stepped into glory. A giant in the faith did not pass on his baton or mantle–  because he had been passing it on all along to faithful men and women throughout his whole life at every crusade, every stop. He and his partners trained many in evangelism and reached thousands for Christ. All who speculated on his final resting place commented on his arrival in  Heaven. His children wisely kept us all “grounded” as they reiterated that nothing could gain him access into the Kingdom except for one thing – the blood of Christ. They furthered that beautiful picture of redemption by highlighting the story of the man called “Grasshopper”, who crafted his coffin – a murderer, locked in prison, yet gloriously used by his creator to encase this  beloved preacher as he went back to his maker. In that very act we saw yet another picture of redemption and how grace transforms that which the world rejects. The Grahams had seen grace in that prison years ago. Imagine being the one who displays to the preacher of Grace, what Mercy looks like  in confinement!  His life impacted the one who impacted the nations. Pretty amazing.  I noticed that the media who usually hound “extras” like Joe the plumber, did not seem to want to hear what the coffin carpenter man had to say. TMZ didn’t track him down for the scoop either.

My heart has been singing a song : “Mercy” by Matt Redman. The lyrics are “I will kneel in the dust at the foot of the cross, where mercy paid for me. It’s that cross that changed Billy Grahams story, no longer just a mortal returning to dust, he was transformed  into a new creation, a new man and life not only changed for him but all those he impacted. Mercy changed his destiny from regular man to renewed man. It was a transformation from within. The doors of eternity swung open and while his shell remains here on earth, his spirit lives on forever.

I thought back to the many ways his life, crusades, family and preaching had impacted me.  One time in a sermon he stated, “God is preparing us here –for our work there.” While people are applauding his work earth side, he just began his work in eternity. He’s just starting out. The new kid on the block. That puts a high premium on the training here. The leader of a seminary, now a student. What was he being prepared for? What was the purpose of his training for eternity? What great things await the believer on the other side? What peoples, nations and generations will need the gifts/skills in my life, your life?  Will we faithfully use them or squander them away? One human, formed from dust begat a birth line that would eventually help produce the son of God. I wonder if anyone ever told Mary she would be an empowered  woman changing the world? How did she succeed without John Maxwell books? One man, transformed by the power of that cross, impacted nations, as he submitted his will and life to God (Billy).  Although Dr.Graham will be missed, I seriously doubt he is in heaven receiving accolades and praise as the Facebook posts suggest. If true to form, I believe he is worshiping at the feet of the One he knew and loved so much. His spiritual diet would not allow anything else.

We read in Luke 15 this week that the Pharisees  were murmuring about Jesus – but He continued to preach and heal. The word used there is diagoggyzo (pronounced dia gong good zo) meaning they muttered throughout the whole crowd. The religious did not support Him, fan His flame or even want him to succeed. He kept going. These believers just had a “check” about this homegrown Messiah and made sure others knew he was definitely not one of them. After all, He came from a broken family and was being raised by a stepfather. He was single which raised red flags and refused to join in course jesting. The only “thumbs up” He seemed to get was from His daddy at His baptism. How many times have we committed to preaching that gospel from the man of Nazareth that bore our sin?  Galatians would ask us tonight, “who hindered  you that you did not obey the truth?”

Billy Graham kept going. Then during one season when the “religious” around him were mocking Pentecostals, he broke with protocol and offered them a hand of fellowship much to the surprise of all those around him. It could have crippled his ministry. It was not a popular move but it was a holy one. He also did that when some bigoted religious folks segregated the whites and various minorities at one of his early crusades.  Billy Graham chose to follow after the same Jesus that he preached about and– included everyone, literally removing the barriers that separated them. It could have blacklisted him – but he chose to follow the example of Christ who died for sinners everywhere. “No place is to dark or deep where the cross cannot reach.”

This was the greatness that defined this precious saint, not the crowds, the messages or fame. His every breath was about and for Jesus. His life pointed to Him.

I remember being in seminary and sharing the gospel with people along my path. The more I shared the more criticism I received. It was painful to just “keep going”. One of brother Grahams friends came alongside me and spoke into my life. He told me stories of this spiritual giant and what he did to encourage him to keep going when things seemed very bleak. While some may  look at the building dedicated to this special friends memory, I remember the encouragement  and the victories because of it.  My flesh wants to share  about that exiting time of training but if I’ve learned anything from walking with or near “larger than life”  people, is that it was JESUS that made them great and to talk about HIM, not letting earthly stories eclipse HIS greatness.

Today as I clean, praise and dust my house, I will remember that all humans have an expiration date. I will do with excellence that which is committed to my care.  I will keep going even if only by faith. It’s God’s touch on humans that makes them divine masterpieces. I will reject the notion that we return to dust with no other future hope such as Heaven. I will remember that through salvation we can be something much more – renewed and adopted.  I will ask that God change me by His mercy. I will pray that everything He wants to train me in and for will be accomplished in my lifetime. I will ask Christ to give me strength to press in and on when others may be muttering around me.  I will ask that HE define me rather than my fears or others critiques. I will ask Him to deeply cleanse my heart.  I will look forward to stepping into eternity on that final day, not to sit around on chairs of gold, eating grapes from lavish vines but to continue to proclaim this mighty One who transforms, heals and saves.

…. And with crocodile tears, I will remember Billy Graham — who worked this message of Jesus throughout the streets, towns, cities and nations of the world, until his final breath. Thank you Lord for this man of God, his family, friends and workers. Thank you that he pointed us to YOU instead of his ministry or himself. Thank you also for the leaders in my life today who also point me toward YOU.

Rest in Peace , Billy and Ruth Graham. Rest in His peace friends of Jesus.

Renae Roche 2019      

Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in you hindered.  Luke 11

Over the weekend we sorted our boy’s clothes. Too big, too small, wait for next year, give away. We were thrilled to find new outfits that had been stored away waiting for just the right time. I told my kids that on Sundays we need to dress up because the King is coming and just like we want to look good for any special guest we need to be ready for the Lord. I waxed on eloquently about washing ears, faces, elbows and standing at attention for the Lord. We have been studying royalty and the Kingdom of God. In days past I had attended a church where the ladies dressed up all fancy on Sundays and the ushers wore black and white with white gloves. They were ready and everyone was in place. I appreciated their respect for the things of God. I was hoping to pass on that reverence . My kids were having none of it . They were excited to wear the new jeans and t-shirts we had discovered. It did not go as well as I had hoped it would.

While getting ready myself I reflected on the disciple John who leaned on Jesus’ chest. Did he wear starched and fancy clothes? Scripture doesn’t say. Would Jesus rebuke him – ” young man do you dare approach me in 100% cotton? ” No. I don’t remember anyone saluting Jesus or speaking to a dress code. (The angry men at the foot of the cross seemed to greatly care about his garments). The Pharisees and priests would have had liturgical requirements for their togas . I do remember Jesus welcoming a man through a thatched roof that probably was full of wood fragments. I do remember him helping a blind man probably smelly from sitting around on a mat all day. Oozing leprous guy  with a wet robe, probably freaked everyone out. Lazarus’ threads were coming unraveled and that didn’t seem to stop Jesus one bit from helping him. I doubt the tears ( Jesus wept) were from his color or season choice. 

The favored disciple broke with all fashion choices donning a hairy camel garment and leather belt (John the Baptist). This was leisure wear at its best, wash and dry capable. To be biblical today shouldn’t Baptists follow suit?

Only once do we hear anything about Messiahs clothing choice – on the mount of transfiguration when his clothes were said to be “glistening white” . However,  that was something the Father did for him. He covered and dressed him up real nice.

(No, this is not a Tide ad, although Tide God made him sparkling white).  

I don’t know what my kids will learn from us along the way but I think I would rather have them know Jesus as friend and brother rather than just royal, regal king. While they are royalty because of their relationship with the King of all kings, they are first and foremost family and friends with Jesus.  Being upset just didn’t seem like a good way to prepare our hearts for the service. They were thrilled to put on jeans to go to church and reminded me of all the people who are awesome there, that also wear jeans.  I couldn’t disagree but my heart was homesick for my brothers in suits and sisters in hats who literally brought Heaven down as they summoned a glorious King. I desperately want my kids to experience that type of joy. I just had to add (in a voice that sounded very similar to June Cleavers– “as long as they are clean, now wash your faces.”  

Job said he was clothed with “worms and clods of dust” (a sure fashion violation) and Isaiah said he was clothed with garments of salvation and a robe of righteousness. What do we do with the dress code of the naked prophet lying on his side? That’s got to be a bugger to explain for Sunday school teachers everywhere! I’d much rather discuss that , than what the Kardashians are wearing on the runway.  I get lost in all the  Diva talks but next weekend I’m going to tell my kids to “put on Christ.”

So, what is the KEY to knowledge? The lawyers got rebuked for blocking it.  Was it Jesus that they blocked so no one could find their way in? Was the Door also the key as the Way is also the way In? Do we lay all things aside as we love the lord with our whole hearts, strength, minds and neighbors? Somewhere between respect and familiarity is a relationship with God. Somewhere between reverence and trust is a life lived in honor of the King.  If we trade out traditions for following Jesus we will block ourselves and others. If we ignore all rituals we may end up creating our own that point away from eternity. Ouch. If God is setting up clues for pointing to the awaited Messiah, I would also hate to make up stuff that dresses up my imagination. How many things that are external do we engage in thinking it makes us holy? What practices are just preference?  What or better who did God leave us to make sense of all this?

Pondering this today and wanting to bring that KEY to those opening the door… Or at the very least, not block the way in. 

Does the King want us to come just as we are? Boogers, pimples, wretchedness, even sin? Once we come isn’t He fully capable of welcoming and loving? Is He hindered by anything we notice in others? I’m scarred, weary, broken…  Jesus, can I still come?  Just as I am? Because thy promise, I believe, oh Lamb of God, I come.  Just as I am – with robes, blemishes and yes, sometimes even in  jeans.

Your thoughts?   This blog is for YOU. I’m hoping for those with opposing opinions to join the discussion so we can all grow and learn together. What are you seeing/feeling that we are missing? The village needs some insight – comment on!  

Renae Roche 2018


 This past week the glorious American flags all over town were flown at half mast, visual reminders that sometimes in life –horrific things happen. It reminded me of the solidarity –we all share with pain and grief –as a nation, when one family or city suffers. Our lives continue to move forward while 17 beautiful lives abruptly stopped, without warning. The things they struggled with – missing homework, toothpaste tubes that were crusty, jeans that were wrinkled, arguments over breakfast left undone , will no longer be an issue. One person directed traffic and now precious lives, once filled with potential are – gone.

Another news post told me of a respected college minister who lost his wife a year ago. He had been a non-drinker until this event. The reporter did not mention their years of service or sacrificial living but they did mention that an innocent young woman is now dead after a suspected DUI and car wreck. It is thought that the widowed minister is to blame.  No one has called for all cars to be banned yet. No one has suggested that everyone stop drinking or that a political party is to be blamed in that incident. The college where he taught was mentioned and I would guess that multiple students will feel this loss. 

We also got a phone call that a seasoned leader in another nation had grief, deep grief over his career and family. He chose suicide. No one has called for a ban of rope. No one has gone on the View in that case to suggest a particular political party is to blame.  There must need to be a lot of money at stake or possibly more than one victim to get national coverage, although in that case I would contend that an entire nation became a victim. Multiple leaders will feel this loss. All may feel helpless.

I add to this list of tragedy’s a man that I cared about and respected has left his family and church ministry, deciding to go in the opposite direction. His longing for connection has caused him to fracture those who love him as he pursues truth “somewhere out there.” The ripple effect will cause doubt and discouragement but life will go on. His family and relatives will deeply feel the loss but there will be no vigil. Those he led will possibly question everything he taught them. No one will call the president or investigate what happened even though multiple people were “injured”.

In the darkness of all these events (school, college, nation, church and family) this week I was reminded of my Pentateuch professor Dr. Meyers. His class was at 8 am which always seemed so very ungodly to me. I often wondered if God really was awake that early. Now I wish I could have the luxury of those days back! The things I learned in that class have fortified me for many years. My mind wanders back to those  lessons in times like these. I want to share that today in hopes that someone struggling will be strengthened. This is one of the quotes from that class:

The same sun that hardens clay, melts butter.

The same sun that hardens clay, melts butter. Same sun.

While I will never be as eloquent as our professor I want to share his timely words. He contrasted the hardness of Pharoah’s heart and the dedication of Moses. I also remember him preaching on the life of Joseph. Joseph had been ridiculed, mocked and his brothers even tried to murder him. He was sold out, ignored and forgotten. Joseph chose life. He was despised, overlooked and marginalized. Joseph chose life. No one cared about his loneliness, past or loss. He chose life. He had to get his love and support from foreigners in a foreign land. Joseph at every turn, chose life.

No one would have blamed Joseph (or at least those who knew his story and background) for going all Schwarzenegger on the folks. No one would have questioned if he went rogue as he had plenty of solid reasons to get revenge or at least throw out some snide comments once in a while. He had a lifetime to plot and plan. If he had gone ballistic when his brothers came it would have made for great television. But then, we would not have his example. The example of vindication and the sweetness of God using him to fortify a nation. We would not be able to see how God blesses those who leave the choice up to Him. We would not see the freedom of forgiveness or the power that comes from pain surrendered. That is quite the story! It’s one that kept the Israelites’ alive for centuries. It demonstrates the Deliverer.

God – taking a families mess and turning it into a message. God – taking an individual’s test and turning it into a testimony. God- re-purposing ones wounds and forming them into wisdom – wisdom for generations. Wow- God takes our crud, puts it in His crucible through the power of the cross and gives US a crown? What an exchange.

The same sun that melts butter, hardens clay. We choose how that sun affects us.

Death is vicious, it’s painful and cruel. It causes even the best to crumble. Grief is just twisted and sick and leaves an indelible mark on our souls. Left unresolved it blossoms into a poisonous orchard. Yielded to the Lord it springs forth the promises of Heaven.


How do we ban pain or bitterness? 


Only a savior can remove that scourge, only a sanctifier  can lift  that stain.

In college, a friend recounted the story of a man that lost his whole family in a car wreck. The EMT couldn’t find the husband after they secured the scene. They looked around and this grieving, bloodied man was in the ditch with his hands raised to heaven worshipping. When they later asked him how he could do that he replied, “Because I’m thankful for the time I did have with my family and I wanted God to get ahold of my heart before there was a chance to let it get bitter.” “My thankfulness was not only for God’s sake  but for me, to remind me of my purpose and His plan.” As this man’s family stood on the precipice of eternity what they would see was a man filled with grief for them –but also worship for His Lord. That beauty  only comes from a heart postured to see God’s face. It is supernatural, holy, sacred. It’s the only thing I know of that can even put a dent in the cruelty and sorrow displayed this week. Worship refreshes our perspective.

That story unnerves me. It has guided me as I faced the deaths of my loved ones. “Lord don’t let grief or the enemy’s threats block my view of your plan and glory.”

I can find many scriptures to go with these words but sometimes life is not all tied up in a bow. Sometimes I forget what God promised or said. Sometimes I forget who the bad and good guys are and my role in life. Sometimes life is just flat out hazy and confusing.

Yes, life is cruel and people can be intolerable and hateful – even to the point of murder.

The same sun that hardens clay, melts butter.
Lord, melt us today.

When we face grief, unthinkable conditions or situations, mass casualties or minor disappointments help us to be like your people of old and — choose life, choose healing, choose the high road.

*If you are facing grief, anger, loneliness or any other HUGE thing affecting your emotions or spirit today, please reach out. There are options and at this point choices. Don’t choose a permanent solution for a temporary problem. Pray for change, pray for healing. The pain grows exponentially so push it back the other way. Please choose life today.

For those not in that category:

Pray for those who are!  Introduce others to the only one who can bear burdens or truly lift pain. Extend some grace to those in grief. Show some love and support and rid yourself of all malice. Any common jerk can diagnose problems or analyze (judge) someone who is struggling – it’s the peacemakers that show up when there’s a need that make a difference. Blessed are those who bring that peace!  Knock on doors, make phone calls, and send notes of encouragement but CHOOSE LIFE. 

1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly (fervently which means boiling over, hot and increasing in speed), since love covers a multitude of sins.” Maybe the “heat” in your life (fervent love) will just melt someone a little faster along the way.     

Praying for victims and their families today.

Praying for divine encounters with Wounders too.

Renae R.  2018