Tag Archives: Jesus

“It’s Been Awhile” by Raymond Roy


It’s been a while since I was on my knees….

Just as I thought the world is only getting colder,
Bowing my head, I felt the weight of the world off my shoulders. 

It reminded me humility waits patiently, but opens the door on bended knee,

as thankfulness, comes naturally. 
Clasped hands pressed together in this place

Reminded me to seek, a state of grace. 
As I finished, 

I had a stubborn smile as I remembered, it had been a while……..It’s been a while since I was on my knees. 

Peace. 

The Sin Of Anger

There is a saying that when you hold onto anger, it’s like drinking poison while expecting the other person to die. 

Last year at this time we were part of the loving vibrant church. It was a large part of who we were as a family and we miss it dearly. I won’t go into any details of what happened at the church other than to share how I feel. I can honestly say I don’t hate those responsible for destroying the church as it was, as hate is too strong a word even for those I am angry with.

 Yes, I still find myself angry.   

 I am angry with the lies and rumors that they chose spread even after they  were shown to be untrue. 

I am angry with those who failed to make amends towards my family and to those close to me.

Jesus Christ took away our permission to call people sinners and said, love your neighbor. And by the way, (here is the tough part ) everyone is your neighbor. 

Up until this point in my life I feel I have been a forgiving person. I have gone toe to toe with someone, got my nose busted but afterwards sat down for a beer together as if nothing ever happened. Perhaps it was because physical wounds are easy.  
Recently I was sharing with my best friend on how I was amazed that my children could be so forgiving of those who have crossed them while I as the parent, struggled to be forgiving of the infraction against them. It’s simple she explained, those are your children and you want to protect them.

 I believe as Christians, if we want to hate sin, it must be our own sin.I must now choose to spit out the poison of anger. The sin of anger. May God have mercy on me. Amen. 

Pastor David:A Tribute

Contemplating my next post which are typically comprised of those who have shaped my outlook on life, none have yet to be my junior. Pastor David O’Toole is the exception. I can only tell  my story and will not give mention to those of a contrary opinion as this is not a pity party but rather a tribute to a good man.

Over 10 years ago I sat in the back of our local church praying for my one of my three sons to find a path to peace. Zachary as many 14 year olds was an angry you man trying to find his way. Zach recently had moved in with my wife and me in our small Ohio town. A glimmer of solace was listening to Zachary teaching himself guitar. It never dawned on me that God was about to answer my prayer.

David had been hired as a youth minster but also played in the worship band. He seemed preoccupied with his teen group and committed to his duties. I can remember we were in the church gym when I had the opportunity to talk to David about Zachary. I explained some of his struggles and his interest in guitar. David took Zachary under his wing and as any mentor, Zach was not always happy with David and probably vice versa but the relationship was genuine and grew strong to this day.I had the privilege of watching the band Strength Within, a Hard Core Christian band perform in which David was the lead singer and Zach eventually would play guitar in. I appreciated the edginess and the youth that attended the performances. It opened my eyes to a Christ worshipping raw subculture that did not tolerate hypocrisy. I was impressed.

During one of the youth summer trips David asked me to do all the cooking and it was then I saw his talent for organizing events. “Ray” he said, “there are three key factors that make or break a youth trip, the food, the location and the activities.” I still chuckle to day thinking about. “on that last day I want some much food, like a half chicken each for the kids,,,snacks at 11,” ….Good memories.

Once I had the honor of speaking to a recover group in which I whole heartily gave my testimony of my experience as the child of and addict. I mean I felt like I had given part of my soul away. The next day I was riding with David to lunch and I was explaining how I felt. He called it an “Emotional Hangover” , where you so much of yourself away that the next day you can physically and mentally feel the effects. This gave me a small glimpse of what pastors must experience on Monday mornings.

I could go on about others that I know David has effected positively but as for me I am forever grateful that God used Pastor David O’Toole to deliver my son who is now, Pastor Zach Roy, to us so many years ago.

Thank you David O’Toole and May God Bless you.

Otooles and roys
Hailey Roy, Celeste O’Toole, Pastor David O’Toole and Pastor Zach Roy

Divine Appointment  # 34

Business travel lost its glory many years ago. Boarding a return flight on a Friday afternoon from Fresno after a long week found me going through the normal mindless steps of boarding not knowing I had one more appointment this week waiting for me in 22C. 

Sitting next to me in 22D was a  light haired woman perhaps close to 40 years old wearing a blue hoodie and casual wear. Her face was friendly and her mannerisms kind. After a little small talk about my business travel I asked her what had brought her out to Fresno. She told me about 19 year old Son who was “finding his way” in California. I learned they were from St. Louis and she had been out to help her son get set up. It so reminded me of my three sons. Each heading out as they each had come of age in their own unique way. 

As I continued to talk with my row 22 seat mate, I felt like I was peeling an onion back one layer at a time. I sincerely hung on every word she shared and as her story unfolded I could feel my heart opening up for a mother who was hurting for her child. She shared the details of her sons struggle with substance abuse as well as the surreal experience of moving him into a halfway house. Her strength and sense of resolve emminated to the point that I shared the many strong women in my life that I am thankful for specifically, my wife to whom I affectionately refer to as “The Hammer”. I prayed with my seatmate, we wept abit and I felt a strong sense of the Holy Spirit and a sense of peace. 

As we continued to fellowship, she shared eecent encounters where she felt Gods presence. God had been  leading her out of her comfort zone and as she faithfully followed, she would find God presence waiting for her. These encounters she called Divine Appointments. I had never heard of divine appointments and was intrigued. I was impressed with her level of recollection of each of these appointments. In Divine Appointment #22, I was running around the block………

I was unprepared when she gave me one of the biggest compliments of mylife, “Raymond, thank you for being my Divine Appointment #34. 

I leave you with a prayer request for this young man  that he may find his way, find peace, and that the his hero in the blue hoodie will have her son back, God Bless them, Amen.

“In The Clench”

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Growing up with an older brother in the 70s meant I came to experience  a phenomenon called, “The Clench”.
It was the privilege of being cornered and subjected to a series machine gun punches in the stomach while he yelled,”Muhammad Ali, Frasier”, “In The Clench”… For dessert a few breadbasket and head shots…I could not escape.

Over the years I discovered “The Clench” had taken up new residence. Looking down at my own hand,  There it was, A  tightly clenched fist. White knuckled with stress, anxiety, anger, worry,  A five fingered barometer of silent storms raging inside. Such is life, internal storms, wrought with an intense feeling of wanting revenge on those who had hurt, abused or neglected me.
I could not escape….

When I was 16, while my Dad drove truck, I would ride shotgun. I remember his tattooed hand resting on the gear shifter, his last two digits permanently curved. His fingers had been damaged as a result of smashing his hand through a drivers side car window during one of his many altercations. He chose to fight. His closed fist meant he wasn’t open to a discussion.
Given his life story, it was not surprising

Historically an open hand was a sign of peace. When you approached an unknown, showing and raising an open hand demonstrated that you bore no weapon and meant no harm.

Even Christs’ open hands as decpicted in Byzantine art, with the thumb and first two fingers open and last two digits  just slightly closed emerged as the sign of a blessing.

Look down at your hand. Is your fist tight? Deep down is your spirit silently screaming “I’ve had enough “?

May I propose that an open hand can not only symbolize peace but also a willingness to surrender.

Surrender my friend. Surrender all the burdens that weigh you down

Breathe in slowly. Breathe out.

Surrender. Take a moment and drop your weapon and open your hands and experience a moment of peace.
Take a moment to know that no matter what is going on in your life, you are alive and worthy of love.

An open hand is a sign of acceptance of reality. It doesn’t mean you have to like the circumstances. It simply means you are willing to deal with them.

As a believer in the teachings of Christ , I’ve found the simple act of opening my hands and raising them during worship, creates a conduit which allows the stresses of the world to escape. When I open my hands, I open my mind and eventually perhaps symbolically open my  heart to experience Gods Holy Spirit of Love for which I beieve we were created.

Be still and know He is God. Psalm 46:10
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