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
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
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
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
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.
II Corinthians 5:7
For we walk by faith, not by sight
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.
Letter from Christian Prisoners