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TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM R. ROBERTS

August 7, 2000

. . . Lately, I've been giving a lot of thought and much prayer to my ability/talent to schedule my time more adequately. I discovered that even after all these years of walking with the Lord, I still like to think I can accomplish a whole lot more on my own than I actually can.  I struggle to commit and submit myself wholeheartedly to God. The passionate longing to do so is there and I may very well accomplish a few things in my own strength, but the rewards don't last.  Through prayer and God's Word, I have learned that when God's great love flows into my heart, it spreads peace and fulfillment within me.  I feel good about my Christian walk. I feel good about life.  I feel good about others.  Mere human passion can never do this.  It teases and pleases for awhile, then leaves us empty, craving more.

I truly believe that to become a reliable vessel through which God's love flows unrestrained, we have to first accept that love fully ourselves. We can only pass on what we have experienced.  With God's love, we must savor the taste of divine grace before we can demonstrate it to anyone else.  Not only once at salvation, but everyday.  Remember that beautiful passage about love from the fourth chapter of First John?  Verses seven and eight say, Love is from God.  Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. So, that means if we are to love as God intends for us to love, we must get to know Him intimately.  God supplies the methods and the means. We remain very much His passive instruments -- plain old empty vessels holding His love and His Word mixed with prayer. 

I truly believe that God cares less about the words we say, the titles we wear or the works we do, than He does about our desire for intimacy with Him.  Why?  Because God knows if He takes first place in our lives, the rest will fall into line.  That's why Jesus urged His followers, "Abide in Me, and I in you (John 15:4).  The Lord wants us to sit still with Him awhile, to stay put and enjoy being in His presence.  Abiding in Him implies a depth of closeness far beyond the "hip-pocket prayers" done on the run sometime between the moment our feet hit the floor and our hurried rush to get things accomplished.  As children of God, we derive our strength from this abiding.

Said another way, we need intense commitment to Him.  We can acknowledge God, prefer God, have faith in God, worship God, have friendship with Him and study His Word, but unless we dedicate ourselves to Him, we fall far short of our Christian calling of holiness.  I find it not only essential, but absolutely necessary to have a "quiet time with God" each and every morning.  When anything prevents me from having this quiet time with God, the rest of the day never goes right.

Ideally, changes continue over the course of a believer's lifetime. The born-again experience should mark the birth of the ultimate loving relationship with our Lord. I have found that relationship to be dynamic and exciting, a union that endures and grows.  Total commitment to God's will has challenged me to the utmost. It demands every ounce of discipline from me.  I am totally committed to God. 

A golden thread of commitment winds its way through the tapestry of human relationships, strengthening and beautifying them for God's glory.  It touches friends and family, and fills moments of friendly intimacy with divine satisfaction.  Just as friendships between people vary in their degree of intimacy, so do relationships with God.  Most everyone claims to want closeness with Him, but few persevere in prayer and the Word until they feel His presence.  Most people quit far short of what they say they would like.  A hyperactive "self-life" stands somewhere between those people and the fulfillment of their desires.  I believe that to develop intimacy with God, on any level, we must do away with our preoccupation and the protection of self.  No other option is available.

Peter shows us the cure -- drop our guard, as well as our brotherly love, where God is concerned.  Let the Holy Spirit fill us with agape love from the top of our heads to the soles of our feet.  Then, not only the things we say, but the lives we live, will bring glory to God.  Ultimately, life presents us with countless choices every day.  Most seem to be insignificant, we may not even realize we've made conscious decisions, but we have.  The process starts in the morning before we get out of bed.  We all decide which way we will love, which way we will live and which way we will act.  One of life's blessings lies in our right to choose between good and evil, between positive and negative mental attitudes.  A choice to love depends entirely on our level of commitment.  If we want love, we really have only one choice, to love Jesus Christ with all our hearts, souls and minds.  That's the million-dollar variable.  We MUST set aside enough  time to become super close companions of the Omnipotent living God.  There's no secret formula for intimacy with the Lord.  We nurture it by reading and meditating on the Word of God and spending time in prayer.  But it takes much more than reading God's word and praying.  God wants ample time to speak to our hearts.  It is during those precious moments when we are quiet before Him that the loving Master enfolds us in His tender embrace.  It is then He refreshes and renews us.  Praise God!

I can't emphasize enough how very important it is that we make time in our schedules to have a quiet time with God -- daily.  Please think about it, take it to the Lord in prayer, and then listen to Him for direction.  Thank you.

William R. Roberts
A142-449  10E-2
Orient Correctional Institution
PO Box 511
Columbus, OH 43216-0511


Bill Roberts has been in prison most of his life.  He knew no love as a child except for a few months that he lived with a Christian grandmother. His mother was killed when he was two.  He was sent to reform school where he was severely abused and tortured, when he got out his father made him work two jobs back to back.  Eventually, his grandmother died and then his father was killed.  Bill went on a crime spree, robbing people from coast to coast.  When he was finally caught, he was shot in the leg several times and left in a cell without medical attention until the other prisoners demanded they get the smell out of the area.  He was thrown into solitary confinement (the hole) naked, and ice cold water from a fire hose sprayed on him until he could hardly breathe.  It was after one such episode that he looked in a telephone book and called a pastor from Cincinnati, Oh. who came to see him and led him to Jesus.  That was 26 years ago, and he has had a Bible Study group in every prison from Maximum Security to Minimum and everything in between.  Bill has led hundreds of men to the Lord, then discipled them one on one.  He has taught others to carry on when he transferred to other facilities.

Please pray for Bill Roberts.  It is very difficult to actively witness for the Lord in a demon infested environment, day in and day out, year in and year out. Bill began on death row, then his sentence was commuted to Life.  He may never be free to walk out of prison, but he says he is more free than those who don't know Christ in "free" society.


WILLIAM ROWLAND ROBERTS

Known as "BILL" to some and "BUCK" to others

January 4, 1937 Ė   July 3, 2003

On the 3rd of July 2003 Bill Roberts left prison via the "Highway To Heaven" and is totally free forevermore.

After a lengthy illness of cancer and circulatory problems, Bill was released from his earthly body and joined the saints in glory. His greatest desire was to see and be with his Lord Jesus. He said, "Donít cry for me! Iíll be kicking my heels in joy all the way to Glory!"

The end of Billís earthly life was consistent with the 29 prior years in prison. He was faithful to his Lord to the end. He was in the intensive care ward for about a month before he died. The nurses and guards both spoke very highly of Bill's kindness and non-complaining manner. He expressed his love for Jesus Christ and witnessed to all who attended him.

Very few old-time prisoners are as well-known by so many as he, unless they are notorious. Many of his converts, after being notified of Billís passing, wrote letters to his close friend, Lois Amacher. All of them rejoiced that Bill was now at his final destination and because of his witness, they also had the hope of eternal life.

As a final testimony, a writer in Cincinnati, Ohio, by the name of Bill Hendricks, is writing a biography of Bill Roberts so that his influence in leading people to Christ will go on.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. II Corinthians 5:7

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christís stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. II Corinthians 5:17-21.


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