Janet Roller - Living Oak Ministries

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Hi. I'm Janet Roller: wife of one, mother of two, lover of coffee and writer of songs. I have just finished my first fiction novel and I'm looking forward to watching how God uses the simple story to minister to others. God is a big deal to me. My goal each day is to wake up and declare, "This day is Yours, Lord. Show me what to do with it."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Clean Heart

God was so gracious to place an entire song in my heart from
Psalm 55:10.

The lyrics to the chorus include:

Create in me a clean heart that I may know You more
I want to feel Your presence and the fullness of Your joy
As I seek to do Your Will and grow deeper with You still
Lord, create in me a clean heart today.

I must admit, most mornings I wake up singing that little chorus in my head. It's a great song with great lyrics (I can say that-not boastfully-because I know it's from the Lord)

However, over the past couple of days, I feel that God is taking me "deeper still". For two days He has lead me to the same passage of scripture in Matthew 15. Some Pharisees and teachers came to Jesus and were fussing about how the disciples had not followed the tradition of washing their hands before they ate. Jesus responded to them (about the Pharisees), "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." Ouch! I'm sure those Pharisee's weren't expecting this response when they decided to "tattle" on the disciples.

Don't we get hung up on the "right or proper thing" to do sometimes? (Now, don't get me wrong, I am all for washing hands before you eat...but that is hardly the point Jesus is trying to make.) If the Pharisees were truly worshipping, would they have even noticed the others' actions? I am reminded of how many times in a church service my mind wanders to thoughts of the music being too loud or I wish that jumpy guy would just stand still.
Distraction from true worship - in my own mind! (How thrilled Satan must be.)

Then Jesus continues, "Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean'."

He goes on to explain that the food we put into our body "goes into the stomach and then out of the body". "But the things that come out of the body from the heart - these make a man unclean...evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander".

At first glance, I would skip right over "murder". Me? I'm not a murderer! However, a trip through James will further explain how powerful the tongue can be. Proverbs 18:21 says, "the tongue has the power of life and death". How many times have I killed the spirit of my family by not chosing to monitor my mouth? And what does that say about my heart? Matthew 12:34 says clearly, "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."

More than ever, I want to have my heart Cloroxed by Christ so that the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart are acceptable in His sight (Psalm 19:14). Not just "cleaned" but DISINFECTED! Webster's tells us that disinfecting is to free from infection especially by destroying harmful microorganisms! I want a deep down clean - so that everything that might infect my being will be wiped out!

I am so thankful to have a Heavenly Father who loves me enough to point out what I need to work on. No condemnations, only grace and chances.

Lord, create in me a CLEAN heart today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Stand in Awe

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

This verse began the amazing journey. This morning I am in awe of how God can take a "dry" area and make water come. Let me explain.

In November, Matt and I felt lead to begin pursuing the calling into a music ministry. For the years before, God placed numerous songs and messages in my heart. It seemed apparent that the time had come to record and share them with the world. But that takes money - more money than we could spare. So, after prayer, we decided to send letters to the friends from church who had expressed interest and support in the past. One-by-one, the envelopes with checks came in. Soon, we had enough for the first step...recording 4 songs.

Then my God did something amazing again. He united me with a contact from a year before. Jim Diehl taught at the school where I did last year. I had no idea that he was on staff with the NC Baptist Association - but God did. Jim invited me to share with 40+ pastors in our area. From that opportunities have filled the first half of 2008. Now, God is moving Jim to Aiken, SC to serve on the SC Baptist Convention's staff as Director of Missions. He is taking my brochures and promoting my ministry there, too. Wow.

More contributions trickled in, allowing me to record 4 more songs with wonderful, seasoned musicians.

Everyday for months in car-line, while waiting for my children, I have taken my laptop along to write devotions for mothers - with the "dream" of publishing a book. I've also written a children's book dealing with losing a close loved one. With my experience of losing my mom when I was 19, I feel I have some perspective. Again, how does one get in front of a publisher to "pitch" the book? Go to a conference? Yes. But, there's the $ issue again. Well...yesterday I received notification from CWFI that I was awarded a scholarship to the Blue Ridge Mountain Writer's Conference. FREE registration, room and board. The only thing I need to pay for is transportation - and it is at Ridgecrest (one hour away!)! Praise the Lord for another open door.

I am excited and expectant - a little nervous- but mostly awe-struck at how God moves obstacles and opens up opportunities when we trust Him. Wow. Wow. Wow.

Today I am headed back to Rushing Winds Recording Studio to finalize vocals on the first 8 songs. The next step is completing the project with 3-4 more songs. Since the majority of the project is original songs, I wanted to pull some classics I grew up with. It looks like I'm going with: Great is Thy Faithfulness, His Name is Wonderful/There's Just Something About that Name, and a medley of Sweet By and By/Unclouded Day/When We all Get to Heaven.

As finances allow, we will add background vocals to all of the songs and get them ready for duplication with graphics. I don't know how God will provide the money - but I know He will. We've come too far not to trust Him!

Thank you for your prayers! More to come!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Turkey Sighting

I just wanted to quickly post about a strange and unexpected sighting. Darby and I were riding through a neighborhood Saturday when we spotted a group of a dozen wild turkeys!
Yes, turkeys!
We normally associate turkeys with Thanksgiving. This Easter, let's remember to be thankful for the sacrifice Christ made.

Have a great "turkey-day"!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Car Wars

"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.”
Psalm 91:14

One of my least favorite tasks as a mother was buckling my two-year-old into her car seat. She was a tad strong-willed. Let’s be honest, Dobson would have to write a new chapter for her! Not every trip in the car was rebellious, though. Most would consist of her compliantly allowing me to “buckle-up for safety”. Sometimes, however, she would decide she didn’t need the protection of a 5-point-harness. Then the full-body-stiff-slide would take effect. If you’ve never witnessed this with your own children, let me elaborate. Just as the buckles are meeting in the middle to the point of previous protection, her body would slink into a position just far enough from the back of the car-seat to make it impossible to snap her in.

As soon as I would return her to the right position, down she’d go again. This would continue until my patience was as thin as an icy lake in springtime. Ultimately, I enforced some sort of correction to remind her who was in charge.

God called the Israelites “stiff-necked people” in Exodus 32:9. Their pride and overwhelming want to do things “their way” nearly brought down the wrath of God on them! They were constantly turning away from God. Proverbs 8:13 tells us that God hates pride! Anything that makes you feel that your decision is better than what God has for you is pride – taking you out of His protection!

Aren’t we like that sometimes? Even though God has us in His protection daily, we feel sometimes that we can handle our own “life-ride” without Him. Out of His protection, a scary place to be when we disobey. But it’s easy to feel self-reliant when things are going along fine. But sooner-or-later there will be a swerve or a bump in life’s road that reminds us of His needed protective presence.

Are you safe in His protection or are you stiff-necked and stiff-backed slinking out of your 5-point harness? Thank Him for His guidance and rest in safety under His care.

God, I know sometimes I try to do life on my own. You are God so I don’t have to be. Please forgive me for the times I have strayed from willingly being in Your Will.

I will rest in Your protection.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Any Ideas?

I love it when God gives the same "word" to another person...and then links the two of you up for confirmation. He is SO COOL! Lysa TerKeurst posts about following God's direction with a great story today, too.

Today, I talked with a woman, no one I know, just a woman, about music and our conversation turned to the "old music nobody ever sings anymore". It made my mind go back to our little church services - before programs and singing schedules. If God placed a song on your heart, you could just get up and "sing a special". (I did grow up in a small church - but there is something to be said for freedom in the spirit, Amen?) Was the service timed out exactly to end at Noon on Sundays? No, but we left when God was finished for the day. It was great!
When I called my friend, Amy, she was in the middle of her post for today. She was WRITING ABOUT THIS EXACT THING!!! Check it out here.

I have been recording original songs God has given me. But I now feel like He wants me to include something else. So, with 3 spots left on my music project (to make it a 10 song deal), I am leaning toward some of the 'old standards'. I need some input. I have ideas of my favorites but would love another dose of confirmation from fellow-bloggers. Leave a comment today with a few of your favorites (hymns or whatever). I can't wait to see how God's messages sing out!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

On Purpose

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to share testimony and song at Crestview Baptist. Today, I spoke at Concord Baptist in NC. What sweet churches! Not the buildings...the people! Matt and I were so blessed by their open arms and welcoming atmosphere...like we were family. And, I guess, we are all part of the family of God!

I love watching God work. The fact that God would ALLOW me to be a small part of what He has going on is a humbling honor. Today, after sharing my testimony of a mother's love and legacy, a mother and daughter came forward. Based on limited information through tears from a few members, God really did a work for them to come forward...together. Please let me emphasize, I know that only God softens the heart and prompts the soul. But I must say, to see it happen is always extraordinary!

Today, during prayer requests, a young girl asked for prayer for her teen friend. He had gone fishing the day before with a friend. Before the trip ended, one friend drowned and the other, after a struggle to save him, watched his friend die. This horrible tragedy made me think of the souls around us who are fading away. Are we even trying to save them? When they are spiritually dead, are we even grieved?

I know I am flawed and quick to fail. But I do want to be used. Anyone can make a speech. I want to make an impact for His Kingdom. My prayer today is to be close to God "on purpose" and directed by Him.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sing, Ladies, Sing!

Just an update for those "checking in". The recording on Thursday was awesome. It was unbelievably cool to watch the songs God gave me come to life with each instrument added. Thanks to the super-talented Richard Putnam, David Johnson, Gary Rushing and Chris Rushing, I have 4 new songs! I'm going back next week to record vocals with the arrangements. Yeah!

If you have never been in a studio, it is really amazing to see it all come together. Once the piano, drums and bass guitar are recorded, the musicians can go back in and "add" more to the arrangement: lead guitar, organ, strings, etc. The finished project sounds like there was a room full of musicians "jammin". Behind the scenes tells a different story...but in the end, all of the pieces "fit" to make a beautiful finished project.

We are like that...God places and adds pieces throughout our lives. When we meet people, we never know what they have been through in their life. But "behind the scenes" God is working. And He says, if we love Him, He will work out all for our good (Romans 8:28). When our "life song" sings to Him, all of the layers of life make a beautiful result.

Sing, ladies, sing!