Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Lies I Have Lived


A few times a year, we try to capture a beautiful picture of our family, and this year it all looks a little too perfect.  

His goodness to us shines in the faces of our children, but it needs to be told that there was another picture from the past - and it wasn't pretty.  God may choose to never recall that picture to HIS mind (Hebrews 8:12), but I want to recall it to yours, lest any of you have any misconceptions of who WE are.



The truth is that for the first 33 years of my life, I lived a lie.  Around middle school, I began to pull back from everything that was good - my Christian friends and teachers - and I ran headfirst into the world.  

I lived as a professing Christian, but behind the scenes, everything about Christianity bored me to tears.  I had no desire for Jesus, I never read or desired God's Word, but I believed I was "saved" because I went to church.  I had one foot in the world, secretly dabbling in things that were overtly sinful, and kept one foot firmly planted in the world of churchianity - just in case.  

I was a hypocrite, I was dead in my sins, and I was what God calls a child of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-10).

And I knew it, but I figured if I could keep an even balance, I might please God enough to prove myself a Christian. 




In college, my carefully balanced facade came crumbling down, and I went careening into a world of darkness and sinfulness.  Some of my oldest, closest friends know more about the extent of this than others, but let's just say that there was no fooling anyone anymore.  Of course, I was wise in my own eyes and continued to compare myself to others (who were comparing themselves to others, 2 Corinthians 10:12) and I figured I was still "good enough".

At a certain point, a few blessed people tried to intervene, bringing me the Gospel or saving faith, and I began to understand the terms more clearly...that Jesus does forgive and is rich in mercy, but He was calling and commanding me to repent from (turn from, change my mind about) my sins and follow Him.


"Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil." 
- Proverbs 3:7



I wouldn't do that.  I loved my sins.

The things that God showed me in my life that were sinful and dishonoring to Him - my partying, my barely-there clothing, my selfishness, my pride, my lies, my materialism and my covetous heart, my unspeakably awful acts of depravity - even my gossip and trash TV - these were things that I loved and cherished.  To follow after God would mean I would need to be willing to turn my back on these things, and I had no desire to do that. I held out hope that perhaps "carnal Christianity" was a real thing and I exchanged the truth for a lie.  

Ten years came and went, and I came out the other side beaten by the world.  My hypocrisy reached its full pinnacle when I began teaching middle school at private Christian school (and partying on the weekends), when suddenly, for better or worse....


Paul and I crashed right into each other.  



We both found what we were looking for:  a "Christian" spouse who liked to party AND attend church!  We got married, had our first child, and began laying our plans:  a nice Christian school for the kids, enough money for vacation here and there, matching gym memberships - and hearts full of emptiness.  It all meant nothing and it was leading us straight to hell (Proverbs 14:12).  

In 2011, it all came to a halt.  Within weeks of each other and both by different means, Paul and I heard and received the Gospel of Life.  

In the light of God's Holiness, I saw my filthy sins as God sees them, and the Holy Spirit showed me that no matter how much I tried to be a better person, my sins separated me from the Holy and perfect presence of God.  




My sins had to be atoned for.  I had spent half of my life trying to atone them myself, and the other half rejecting that atonement outright because I could not abide the terms - mainly the repentance part.  

But the Holy Spirit intervened, and the Cross became sweet to me, and my sins became sour in my mouth.  My former treasure was quite suddenly a trash heap in my eyes, and Christ was the prize.  

The truth about Christ is that He was God and man in one, and He came to this wretched planet and lived a sinless life and died a selfless death at the hands of sinners just like me to appease the wrath of God that is justly poured out on unrepentant rebels who break God's law (Romans 6:23).




He gives us His law, His Commandments, as a schoolmaster that drives us to the Cross of Christ in our inability to keep them (Galatians 3:24, Romans 3:24, James 2:10).  Jesus was the propitiation and the final Passover Lamb that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and He rose on Resurrection Day and defeated the death that every last one of us deserves as rebels to His Law.  

SO many years.  So much Grace trampled under my feet.  

I lived licentiously - using the Cross and God's forgiveness as a ticket to do as I pleased (Grace! God Forgives!) - refusing to examine myself in light of God's word.  




But this verse right here - an arrow to the heart:

"...Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, 
not knowing that his kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgement will be revealed." - Romans 2:4-5

God was so patient with me, and one afternoon while my babies napped upstairs, I fell quietly to my knees and surrendered my will for His, turned my back on this world and my sins - and the wrath that was meant for me was transferred to the Cross, and His righteousness was imparted to me.



It's not a fair trade.  It's a divine scandal, to say the least.  

My prayer for each of you is to examine yourself. So many of us are deceived, living under a false and imaginary faith that is built on sinking sand and is not of God.  If we worship a god of our own liking who differs from scripture, we are just worshiping an idol we made for ourselves.

In an age where professing Christians are willing to accept the god of The Shack as a reasonable representation of our precious Savior, and  46% of professing Christians believe that all world religions lead to God, (click HERE) we can't shy away from examining our own hearts.



Ask yourself:

Are you passionate about God's Word, willing to defend it, proclaim it, share it, or even die for it? Do you desire and see growth in personal holiness and discernment, bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8), and long to see others saved as well?  Is Christ your treasure, and all else "rubbish" (Phil. 3:8)? Is your life built around knowing Him and making Him known?

These are tough questions, but God wants us to do this:  
"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves."  
(2 Corinthians 13:5)  

You cannot serve God and man.  And you can't live halfway for either.  (Revelation 3:15-17)

As you reflect on what Resurrection Day means to you, I highly recommend this video, which has led so many to the truth:


Here are some other resources we recommend:

Test Yourself:  Click HERE
How can we be sure of our salvation?  Click Here
True and False Conversion:  Click Here
What is the Gospel?  Click Here 
Charo Washer's Testimony:  Click Here
Don't Waste Your Life:  Click Here

I pray for each of you, and I'm here if any of you ever want to talk. May God bless you and grant you the unspeakable fullness of joy He has given me in knowing His Son, my blessed Savior, and the freedom found in walking in the Light of Truth. 



- Missy
MRoepnack@gmail.com



Monday, February 27, 2017

Update on the May Family


We want to thank those who shared Cody and Kimberly's story herehere, and here.  Kimberly and the children were also featured in several news reports, including this video interview  


Cody was an evangelist and a missionary to our country, and he left a huge impact on his children. 

This week, they traveled to stand in their father's shoes in Texas, where a bill has been introduced that would abolish abortion in that state. Most of you already know that Cody was dedicated to this cause.  


Cody's testimony has impacted so many people beyond his own 7 arrows, and I know Kimberly cherishes hearing those stories. 

 There is no way to measure that impact this side of the Kingdom, but we do have an update on the monthly commitments.  



At this point, donors have committed to a total of around $1,500 a month.  ($18,000 annually).

  I am asking everyone to keep sharing, and to pray about becoming a donor and a prayer warrior for this family.  Cody was an evangelist, and it a great privilege of the Body to care for evangelists, widows, and orphans.  I want to leave you with this passage from Matthew 25:  

"Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and cloth you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 


'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least 
of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"

Matthew 25:37-40

THREE WAYS TO HELP CODY'S FAMILY:


1.  Click here to read and share Cody's story.

2.  Click here to sponsor Kimberly May and her children 
with monthly, recurring donations.

3.  Click here to give a one-time donation. 

"Truly, Truly, I say unto you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, 
it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit."
John 12:24





Thursday, February 9, 2017

Though He Slay Me


Last month, our friend Cody May drowned in a lake within sight of his wife Kimberly 
and their seven children.




This world has lost a man of which it was not worthy, 
and my dear friend Kimberly and her children are mourning this loss deeply.

Cody was an open-air evangelist and an abortion abolitionist.  His life was BUILT around making Jesus known, defending the fatherless 
and speaking up for the voiceless.  

This life - wordly things - Cody counted it all loss 
for the eternal worth of knowing Jesus Christ.



Cody was also an adoptive father to children 
from Connecticut, DRC, and Ethiopia.

  He is survived by these precious children - 
six of whom just experienced the loss of their father for the SECOND TIME.  



The May family had just moved to Texas a few days prior to Cody's death.  
Several of their children have special needs, 
and they were looking for a fresh start and new opportunities. 

Cody was transitioning between jobs, 
and at this moment in time - he had no life insurance.   




As a larger adoptive community, 
we have learned that family PRESERVATION is right there in James 1:27
and that sponsoring endangered children in other countries is such a crucial part of orphan care.  

Orphan prevention and family preservation 
ARE widow and orphan care.  



Inspired by other child sponsorship programs, 
we have set up a special tax-deductible fund through a 501c for Kimberly and her children through Bethesda Family Ministries

We are asking people to prayerfully consider 
becoming MONTHLY SPONSORS for Kimberly and the children by until adulthood, 
or until no longer needed. 


In terms of impact, no gift is too small.  Consider this:

A $10/month commitment over the next 15 years 
could buy college books for Cody's boys. 
A $20/month commitment over the next 15 years would be $3600 invested in the future of these children and the preservation of this family!!!

200 people committed to just $5/month equals $1,000 of reliable income.  


Four of our children were brought home 
by mostly small donations from people all over the world - it adds up!

Unlike other sponsorship programs, a massive 95% of your contribution (or more, depending on which form of payment  you choose) will go directly to Kimberly and the children.  The best child sponsorship programs normally run at about 80% down to as low as 50% of direct-to-program costs, so this fund is truly exceptional. 



Additionally, the person administrating this fund has been a local, trusted, and personal friend of my family for many years.  

  
I believe that knowing that there was a dependable amount of support coming in monthly would be such a blessing to Kimberly.  

It will enable her to make plans as she faces the future 
without her best friend and her earthly provider.   



Please pray about this, and consider committing to the May family.  We talk so much about supporting widows and orphans - we treasure this cause because God always has.  


Our God is the Father to the Fatherless, and those of us whom He raises up to adopt, foster, sponsor children...all we are doing is following His lead and example.  




...we love because He first loved us.  
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~THREE WAYS YOU CAN HELP~~~

1) SHARE  

We are counting on the community to do the advertising, 
so please SHARE this post on Facebook 

2)  GIVE  

For MONTHLY Sponsorship, Click HERE 

-OR-

For ONE-TIME Gifts, Click HERE.  

3)  SPEAK UP  

We are looking for 20+ bloggers to feature this post as a guest post.  
Please contact me directly at MRoepnack@gmail.com






Friday, December 18, 2015

Let Them Hear


This year has been filled with so many trials and blessings that I have found it hard to keep this blog updated.  But today, I bring news that is too good not to share.  God has been so gracious to us this year, and today He has given us such a precious gift.

Today, our little girl came home from the hospital fitted with brand new hearing aids.  


(Press Play Below!)



After tons of hearing tests and brain stem tests, we really weren't sure how much she had been unable to hear.  But as we left the hospital, she began to TELL me.

As we left the building, my cell phone rang.  

"WHAT'S THAT NOISE?  What IS it?"  

She had no idea that my phone RANG.



As I cranked the engine to the van, she was visibly startled by the navigation voice that plays every time I drive (because I get lost as soon as I leave our neighborhood), and began looking for the extra person in the car.

"WHERE?  Where is that lady????!!!  Hello...Lady?"


After we got home, I was overwhelmed by what I had experienced at the hospital.  I sent her to the backyard to eat her lunch and watched her from a distance, and my little girl stood with her face upturned and her sandwich hanging by her side as she mimicked the birds chirping and smiled at the sky.

After her bath, I knelt beside her and asked quietly if she could hear Mama's voice.

"Yes.  Pretty hearing Mama.  All better now."



This is a good and perfect gift.  

It doesn't matter that this particular gift is "man-made" and contains a battery, or that we have had to make hard decisions for Haven's life in the face of her diagnosis.  

God is good, and make no mistake, every last good thing is from God and held together by His Word.


Seeing God sustain Haven this year - whether by the provision of hearing aids or by the miracle of her literal actual life revealed by her surgeries earlier this year - it has been beyond humbling.  

Of all the good things we think "we" could provide for this child, or the good things we "think" we have to offer our Savior - nothing comes close to the good and perfect gifts that come from the Father of lights or the truth of Salvation.  (James 1:17)  

I come to His nativity literally empty-handed. (Isaiah 64:6)  
I just don't know what else to do but praise His name. 




We have prayed and hoped big things for Haven.  
"Foolish" things.  

We continue to do so - not just for her - but for all of them. 



We are not just praying for health and hearing, 
but for "ears to hear" (Mark 4:9).



We are praying for little feet that will join our family mission 
in carrying the Gospel truth to a dying world.






This Christmas, as the weary world rejoices, we hope and pray for you the good and perfect gift of Jesus Christ.  

We pray that you live in the perfect peace of the Holy Spirit, and the thrill of hope of the Savior who was born in a stable, died on a tree, and rose to defeat death, offering you the grace of salvation and Eternal life as your forerunner.  


We pray for you to hear His truth
and accept His gift.

Merry Christmas!!!



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Whom Shall You Serve?


 Three years ago, we walked into an orphanage completely unannounced and carried two of our children out of their affliction.

  

 My son was covered with weeks worth of his own dried vomit after being fed a diet of only milk powder, of which he was severely allergic.



Our daughter had scars all over her body which had not been there when I had traveled to meet her just 3 months before.  She clung to me for dear life as I carried her out, and hid her face in fear from the nannies who approached us to say goodbye to her as we left.  

In a little guest house down an alleyway in Addis Ababa, far away from that orphanage, we peeled them out of their dirty clothes and washed them in a little tub in the base of the shower. 




We dried them off and rubbed frankincense oil into their cracked skin.  New clothes, new shoes, new life.  We left behind their pasts, which had literally been robbed of them by a few greedy criminals here in the United States, and we brought them home.






Two years later, 

we brought home two more.

  



In the past three years, 
God has REDEEMED the years that the locusts had consumed.  












But don't miss this.  It isn't about them. 
And it is not about the act of physical adoption.


It's about you.



You are, in many ways, these children.








God shows up for you.  

He visits you as you lay in your own filth, battered by the sin of this world and the thief who wants to rob you of your past, present, future, and salvation.  You may tell yourself that you do not need saving...but my friends, we ALL do.





God is not only forgiving, loving, and merciful; He is also HOLY and Just.  He cannot dwell eternally with your sin, regardless of if you believe Jesus existed or not.  We have ALL sinned (Romans 3:23).  

We know those commandments, the ones Moses carried on tablets of stone, because our Creator wrote them on our hearts.  By those commandments we all fall short of eternity with Him (Romans 6:23).  We must be reconciled to Him, and He has given us The Way.

He shows up unannounced, and He asks you to come with Him.  He provided your ransom, a sinless person to die in your place for your sins, Jesus Christ. 




He places your sin on His Son (Romans 5:8) who defeats your sin and the death you should have died by rising from the grave 3 days later and ascending into Heaven to prepare a place for you (John 14:2-3).  He provides a Father in Himself and promises to put His Spirit within you.  

He asks one thing.  






To be the Lord of your LIFE.  

Not the lord of your Sundays, or your weeknights, or some portions of your life and days...He asks for EVERYTHING.  To accept what Christ did for you as your only hope of salvation and turn from the sin that you currently love.  In return, He washes you clean, annoints your head with oil, and makes you more LIKE JESUS.  

You take on His name and He makes you love what He loves. He gives you an aversion to the things of this world, to sin, to the trappings that destroy, and gives you the desire for things of eternal value.  






When this happens, you will HIDE YOUR FACE from the sin that you once loved.  You will cease in defending your "right to sin" and take an active battle against it in your life and in this world.  

You will never again claim the "right" of forgiveness as if you had earned it, you will fall on your face in the humbling knowledge of your completely undeserved receipt of it.  






Do not love your own sin enough to be unwilling to lay it down and claim what He is offering to you (Romans 3:10-18).  

I assure you that no night of inebriation, no day of clinging to the false hope of material things, no pill, no purchase, no vacation, no diet, no drink, no job, no child, no relationship, no community service, no public standing or recognition, no reputation, no church ministry or service, and certainly no good deed will EVER bring salvation or eternal joy. 





Freedom comes ONE way, and it was paid for with a heavy price. Unshakable Joy and Peace are only available through Jesus Christ and the assurance of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1).  





Drop everything you are doing right this minute and decide TODAY whom you will serve.  You cannot serve two masters, you are either serving HIM or you are serving SIN.  If you love your sin, God says you HATE Him (Matthew 6:24). 

I don't care what circumstance you are in at this moment, today IS the day that you can hand over your entire life and truly begin to LIVE (Joshua 24:15) as an adopted son or daughter of God.






It doesn't matter if you are the most successful person in your family or the black sheep with no family.  

It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, churched or unchurched, living in sin or sinning in your mind - if you are not a servant of King Jesus, you have NOTHING.  

And if you choose Him now, you have EVERYTHING.  FOREVER.  

We know this from experience.  






Paul and I were liars, thieves, partiers, and revelers.  

We were false converts who had no love for Jesus or for His Word, and we did not seek to do His will except for our own glory.  Yet we sat in church EVERY WEEK, pretending we were okay.  We thought we had it all together.

And then He came for us both - within weeks of each other - and said "ENOUGH, COME WITH ME."


And we did (Acts 1:9).





We walked away from our idols, 
our security, and our "freedoms".
We have never looked back. 


And He has truly Redeemed 
what the locusts had consumed in our lives.


 





The story never changes...

One boy, one girl.  

By His Grace and Faith ALONE (Romans 5:1).


We have Mercy because we were Crowned in it.  



We love Him

Because He first loved us.













"Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness.  Throw way the Gods your ancestors worshipped...and serve the Lord.  But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day who you will serve...But as for me and my household we will serve the Lord."

Joshua 24