FADING SHADOWS OF ANOTHER YEAR
"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." (Psa. 90:10). In the world of sin, sorrow, sickness, and death, man has been allotted seventy or eighty years of what we commonly call life, and this is quite a number considering the curse levied against him. We now come to the end of another year that has been given to us for the perfection of His body. Its fading shadows mark the close of a designated time that was framed for part of man's journey that is marching always toward the End.
It has been a fateful journey, a journey that is leading back to the Beginning, which is called the End, and what a journey it has been! Oh, what a journey it has been! Who could have known what lay ahead as we embarked from life's hallowed shores? From that safe haven we have forged through many perils, encountered horrendous things in a deep, dark valley. Even so, it has been delicately balanced by the right number of high mountains ascending into the heavens of our Lord's presence. What an avenue we have walked. Such a divine plan preparing us for eternity.
We first began this journey when we were placed in the valley of the shadow of death; namely, our mother's womb, and we began to die to the place of our origin. There is no way of knowing just how long it took for us to become completely unaware of the heaven from where we once shouted for joy at seeing the foundations of the earth being laid; but the womb was surely the initiation of that death. It was dark, foreign and foreboding, yet we had no fear of evil; for we surely knew from where, or from Whom we came, and by knowing our Origin we knew our End. Our destiny was forever sealed! What assurance!
The next womb, or valley of death we have walked has truly been the journey of the ages, the hallmark of conquests, and with this one calling us onward, we died to the world of carnality we once loved so dearly . What an adventure it has been! Not unlike our miraculous conception and development in the natural womb. We were conceived, as it were, when the breath of air first graced our lungs -- and we lived! We were born from above by the Spirit of Jesus Christ!
In our first womb of darkness, death held us tightly, and I say death when we consider the place from where we had been lowered -- Christ, the Beginning. With our natural mother being our source of life, we died to God's glory that we had in the Beginning. We grew in spite of the watery grave in which we were baptized. The time came, however, when it could no longer hold us captive, and with a certain violence we were expelled, cut off from our only fragment of life, and cast into another dark grave -- the world of sin and death -- and we breathed air into our young lungs. A new source of life was ours, and we died to that life we had in our mother's womb. It was no longer a factor to our existence. We were dead to it. Nothing of that past life could affect us. We were in a new world, and we learned to love it. Nevertheless, it was a death camp in comparison to what we had in the Beginning, and as powerful as its grip us upon us, it had no permanent claim upon us. In that prison we received our sustenance from the earth. She gave us everything which makes up the world that is geared to the natural. We were held tightly by this second death, that which we often call life. This second death, however, is not to be confused with the second death of the lake of fire.
In the midst of utter weakness, another breath of life was breathed into new lungs that had never known the expanding burst of life-giving Spirit. They were lungs which had been formed while we walked earth's grave avenues. This new baptism caused us to die to the life we had while compassed about by the earth, our second mother. There is a time, like the first death, that there is no longer room for us in the inn, and the scenario continues.
It is as though we were not welcome in the foreign country we had grown so accustomed to and called home, and sometimes we still do. With no visible hope, we are again pressured by violence, pushed out, and cast into the grave of the third death, into the womb of new Jerusalem, the mother of us all. It is in this womb wherein we die to the natural world round about us.
All the days of our life while in the midst of our second death, new lungs were being formed and prepared to receive our first breath of Christ's Life. This baptism was not strange to us; for it was a taste of our true home, a remembrance of eternity. It was that which we had known from the Beginning, from our pristine Origin. In that place, however, we had never had the pleasure of breathing deeply of that brilliant fluid, sparkling, liquid life. We had never had the pleasure of tasting the Lord in this form; but now we have, and He is good! (Psa. 34:8)
This third death into which we were cast is not necessarily the physical grave in some lonely cemetery; but rather, it is the realm outside and contrary to the life in Adam. When it came time for us to leave earth's womb, which included the womb of our religious mother, the breath of life was breathed into our long awaiting lungs, lungs which had been forming in the confines of darkness and void of any probing eye. For the first time since leaving the foreign land of the world, we inhaled deeply that fresh, life-giving air, the breath of Christ Jesus. It was this in which we were bathed and lived in the Beginning.
The third womb of our journey has been quite a journey; but it is the one which affords us a breath of an eternal element. It is the same element in which we were baptized, immersed, bathed in the Beginning; namely, JESUS CHRIST, THE BEGINNING and THE END OF ALL THINGS! Ah, so here we have the wonder of wonders! The Last is going back home to the First, and the First is advancing toward and becoming the Last! All is from Him, through Him, and into Him (Rom. 11:36), to God be the glory! And the curtain of one more year of that awesome journey is drawing to a close.
Margit and I have had quite a personal journey ourselves this past year, which, we are sure has not been very different than most of you who read The Pathfinder. We are also sure that it is a part of the whole that God is doing throughout the body of Christ who are in the final stages of being formed before being expelled from our dark graves of human habitation and cast into the world to be manifested in the earth as the sons of God.
Our January began much like those of the past by settling into a normal routine after the holidays, which consisted of writing the articles, answering the mail, caring for my elderly parents next door, and tending to various things that often arise for those who live in the country. It remained that way until the first part of March when it was mentioned how nice it would be if we enclosed my parents front porch. This would make an excellent studio for my dad's hobby of oil painting, since he had been using the cramped quarters of the bathroom to paint his pictures. You have heard of shade-tree mechanics; well, until a couple of months ago, my dad was an outhouse artist, and as strange as it may seem, a lot of beautiful works of art were born in that little room, so much so that he was selected to be the artist of the month a couple of years ago in Alamogordo. In a humorous way it reminded me of how a beautiful flower can grow out of a cow-paddy in the pasture. Nevertheless, that was the reason for closing in the porch, to give him a more lighted and "professional" atmosphere to work in. However, after a month of building and setting him up, he used his new studio only once, and back to the inner sanctum of the bathroom he went. I guess the sun-bright studio was too sterile for him, and he needed the rich stimulation of the pastured cow-patty environment to stir his artistic inspiration. Now that is strange, but that is my dad, who will be 89 December 25 if he makes it.
We had no sooner finished the porch when my brother, Tim, suggested that we could sell an old pickup truck and fifth-wheel camper for $1000 and build a much needed bedroom onto our parents 14 by 46 mobile home. Since Margit and I had built an addition to our home thirty years ago here on the PondeRoacha, and I am fairly mechanically inclined, not to mention I can Roach-rig just about anything, I agreed to go for it. By running well behind in writing and answering mail, I probably would not have ventured into another building project if I had known it would take more than a month to finish, but it did. After selling the pickup and camper for $1,000, we (Margit, Tim, and myself) vaulted into it, and after five months and $5,000 later, we had a 16' X 16' addition built with a bedroom, bathroom, and walk-in closet. That was a lot of time and money; but had a contractor built it for us, it would have been around $25,000. Quite a difference, to say the least. The main thing is, with the added space, my parents now have a comfortable place live.
Although we were very busy during the building projects, and were running behind in keeping The Pathfinder written and answering the mail, things were going well; that is, until Margit came in from grocery shopping and said she was in dire need of prayer due to severe chest and back pains. I prayed and the pains subsided, but only for a few minutes, and they returned as bad as before. I prayed again and the pain remained. Rather than presumptuously waging war against an unknown, undiscernable attack upon her body, we both felt the need for medical attention and to let that profession probe and test for the cause of such excruciating pain that had the classic symptoms of a heart attack.
After more than twenty-four hours in the hospital and terrible headaches from the nitro-glycerine, the world of medicine's technology found that it was not a heart attack. Praise God! It was acid reflux, which is not a fun thing to have, but it is much better than the alternative, and we were elated, and thought we had reached the plateau of pressures for the year, but that has not exactly been the case.
My dad has Alzheimer's, and the progression of that hideous disease has accelerated over the past two or three months. At almost 89 years old he spent six days in the hospital the first part of December due to vomiting blood and pneumonia. The bleeding is presently under control, but due to his swallowing impairment from the Alzheimer's, he has been aspirating. That is what caused the pneumonia, his food and liquids were going into the lungs. The antibiotics cleared it enough for us to bring him home a few days ago; but his doctor did not give him much hope; for even though the pneumonic infection is being momentarily overpowered by the antibiotics, the continual supplying of the lungs with his food and water will eventually kill him. The antibiotics will only work to a degree under these conditions.
Although he requires an able bodied person to be with him at all times, rather than sending him to a nursing home, we chose to bring him home to be with our mother. She is suffering from congestive heart disease, an inoperable aortic aneurysm, arthritis, and CPOD (Congestive Pulmonary Obstructive Disease). Between my sister and her husband who live an hour's drive from here, and Margit and myself, we have been able to be with my parents almost 24/7. Our younger brother of 47 years had a major heart attack in August and will be moving back to Alamogordo in about a week, so there will be some help from him as well, not to mention Hospice. They will be helping to ease his suffering during his last days.
This journey has brought us quite a year! I am certain, however, there are a few more things yet awaiting us along the way; but this segment, this year's end is at hand, and we rejoice to see its long shadows fading into the night, as the new year prepares itself to dawn for our eternal good! We eagerly look forward to the high mountains of God's great Kingdom in the coming year, and even though somewhat reluctantly, we welcome the low places as well that are nestled in the pathway of our fate filled journey to the End.
Elwin R. Roach
We will close this year with a couple of letters from those who know both the dark valleys and the high mountains. In so doing, I am sure we all will hear the voice of the Overcomer. The first is from a brother who is presently locked in a dark valley; but we see the Light of our Lord beginning to shine from him as he begins this adventurous journey in Life, and we expect him to continue onward and upward:
"Dear Pastor Elwin Roach,
"I am in jail in Jasper, Alabama. I wanted to write you and see if possible you could send me The pathfinder series and any other literature you see fit to send. Just whatever the Good Lord puts upon you to send.
"I was raised in the Church of God & Pentecostal churches my whole life. Well, at least until I was old enough to tell mom, 'No! I'm not going to church anymore.' At 16 years old I was still in school and holding down a full time job, 50 or so hours a week at a full-service Exxon station in my hometown of Mesquite, Texas. I started to drink and use marijuana. Around that time, actually a couple of years before that I was on pot.
"My life started to fall apart. I was getting into trouble on a regular basis, young, no money, and a lot of times I would sit in jail to pay off fines. Then things got worse. I met who I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. Her name Karen. We started doing crystal meth together and mainlined for about 3 plus years, until I decided that was not the life for me.
"I lost both parents in 1989. Mom passed January 10, 1989 and Dad passed August 18, 1989. My parents were older when I was born. Mom was 45, Dad turn 50 a month after I was born. So around this time I had really lost my reason to want to go on. I also lost the house. All I was supposed to do was to keep the bills up and I could stay rent free; but after the last utility got turned off, my sisters and brothers put me and my wife out. This is when I stopped the mainline drug use on a daily basis and took a look at what I was doing to myself. Don't get me wrong I was still no saint. I just traded one drug for another so it was back to alcohol and pot.
"I'm a very good worker. I have been a carpenter for several years. I can build just about anything I put my mind to. Houses, log homes, just give me a set of blue prints, and I can build it from the ground up.
"A lot of good talent just being wasted. I'm gonna shorten this a little. I have been running from God for years, turned my back on my Creator, and am just not now come to the realization you can't run from or turn your back on someone that's on the inside of you. There have been so many times I should be dead. I have looked death in the eye several times, been hit by an 18 wheeler, fell off a building at work, fell another time 25 feet when scaffolding collapsed, broke my neck at work, in a car accident where I flipped my car end over end 3 times, then rolled it sideways 2 times, drunk behind the wheel and fell asleep.
"My latest, I've been doing OxyContins. And I started writing someone else's checks to keep up my habit. Got caught on the check thing eight or nine months ago. Got off the pain pills and started, that is, I got bonded out of jail, and while out on bond, I started smoking crack cocaine. Now I have lost everything; but I have gained so much. I'm in jail facing several felonies, the checks since I was too drugged out of my head to go to court when I was supposed to, and added one new charge of giving false info to a police officer. I told them I was someone else and they found out who I really am.
"I have been in here going on two months and don't know my fate as far as all this court stuff goes; but at the very least I do know the Sprit of the Living God dwells inside of me and I thank the Lord daily. I don't have to worry about sin, because Jesus took care of that for me 2000 years ago. I know I still have a ways to go; but I know I'm in that number.
"This Kingdom ministry is a lot different from what I was raised in; but I see and feel the truth in it. Thanks for your time and God Bless. Please pray for me as God sees fit to let you!"
J. L. Moss., E-Dorm
Walker County Jail
2001 2nd Ave S.
Jasper, AL 35501-5845
"Dear Elwin & Margit,
"Once again your newsletter opened such an understanding in my heart! Many times in life we wonder what it would be like to live in a place that reflects the very heartbeat of His Name, the heartbeat of His Nature, even His own Character. We surmise, will we ever be clothed with the very mannerisms from on High that others walking on by our abode, our place of residence, would actually stop and see the Light of his presence, in fact, the Light of His very word, His Living Word, to permeate the atmosphere to such a degree, that even they are caught up in spirit, to see or perceive, even in the outer court in which they dwell, beginning to understand His Immutability, His Glorious Grace, unmerited by the misplaced efforts of man, embracing them in the Wisdom that can only come from Him. His Ways, His Purposes bringing the understanding that literally brings to bare, His mind, His Living Word into the circumstance of their lives.
"To live in such a place, is to live in the very mansion of His Will, a place of inner delight and absolute beauty that only the spirit, in fact, the Most Holy Spirit Himself, speaks and gives words to depict the Gory of this house, this mansion which appears as a covering, a clothing, if you will, of the very arc of the Father' heart!!! When and how do we clothe ourselves with His Glory, His Presence? When we purpose in our hearts to allow Him full and complete reign!
"The inner furnishings of this place, or mansion of our hearts, must be furnishings that are made not of a veneer of false wood, or false fabric, that would rip and tear with any strain or trial, yet furnishings and fabric of a sound and true, a solid foundation, one that would bare the heavy weight of life, people, conditioned and refined as through fire. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but He shall deliver them out of all," and, "Through many tribulations we enter the Kingdom of God"
"Only He, our Jesus, "Christ in us the hope of Glory," is able to open the scroll, the Living Word to take us through the Mansion of the Father's Will, where Living Furnishings, of His Living Faith, catapults people into the Living Glory of His very word! This is where Home is! In the heart of His Will, personally and corporately as His Body of Believers!!!
"How we can all rejoice that we are being clothed with the Mansion of His Will, the Mind of Christ, in which we are awakening in His Likeness!!!
"Love in Jesus,"
300 Horizon Dr SE
New Prague, MN 56071-2490
In conclusion, a word by the late Oswald Chambers from his book, My Utmost for His Hightest, December 4, The Law of Opposition:
"To him who overcomes …" (Revelation 2:7).
Life without war is impossible in the natural or the supernatural realm. It is a fact that there is a continuing struggle in the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual areas of life.
Health is the balance between the physical parts of my body and all the things and forces surrounding me. To maintain good health I must have sufficient internal strength to fight off the things that are external. Everything outside my physical life is designed to cause my death. The very elements that sustain me while I am alive work to decay and disintegrate my body once it is dead. If I have enough inner strength to fight, I help to produce the balance needed for health. The same is true of the mental life. If I want to maintain a strong and active mental life, I have to fight. This struggle produces the mental balance called thought.
Morally it is the same. Anything that does not strengthen me morally is the enemy of virtue within me. Whether I overcome, thereby producing virtue, depends on the level of moral excellence in my life. But we must fight to be moral. Morality does not happen by accident; moral virtue is acquired.
And spiritually it is also the same. Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation …" (John 16:33). This means that anything which is not spiritual leads to my downfall. Jesus went on to say, "… but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." I must learn to fight against and overcome the things that come against me, and in that way produce the balance of holiness. Then it becomes a delight to meet opposition.
Holiness is the balance between my nature and the law of God as expressed in Jesus Christ.
We pray that you are all blessed beyond measure in the coming year, and the joy of life is your portion always.
Elwin & Margit Roach
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