Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Fw: all and everything

Colossians 1:15 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."
-
We have an "all and everything" Lord.  He is not a "one among other possibilities" Lord or a "that's fine if it works for you" Lord.  Paul paints with bold colors as he describes Jesus.  In the short passage here we see Jesus as the agent of creation of all things, the one who holds all things together and the one who made peace for us and reconciled us with God.  We see that He is the exact image of God and He was visible proof that God exists when He intersected human history and left footprints along with His blood in earth's dust.  He is the head of the church and no man holds that position and He blazed the way for us through death.  He showed us that death becomes birth for eternity when He rose from the grave.  So we join with Paul in his closing words from the first chapter of this wonderful letter:
-
28 "Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
-
blessings,
Rob Smith

-------------------------------------------
"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Fw: unseen but loved

1 Peter 1: Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
-
Perhaps the greatest proof of Jesus' reality is the sincere love millions have for Him, though they have not even seen Him.  Our human experience is more than the senses can record.  When our inner person, our spiritual nature, is awakened by understanding...grasping...personally realizing what was accomplished on the Cross, we have an experience that transcends any that can be felt, touched, heard or seen.  Somewhere, deep inside, a wound has been healed...a question has been answered...what was missing has been completed...what was lost is now found.  As real as falling in love is the awakened and restored soul.  Only He has known how to fill an emptiness that we didn't even know existed...until He revealed that to us.  We had been walking in a human existence that had been missing its greatest aspect: 
-
Genesis 1:So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.
-
We love the unseen one who saw our unseen potential and unlocked it.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith

-------------------------------------------
"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Monday, April 23, 2018

Fw: Every path will lead...

Romans 14:

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,

"As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,

    and every tongue shall confess to God."
-
There is a bigger picture than the routine of our day-by-day lives might suggest.  The bigger picture includes the march every person is on through their appointed time on earth that will inevitably culminate with an appearance before the throne of God.  We are easily distracted with petty concerns we have with each other and we are consumed with our careers and temporary ambitions.  While we appreciate the many blessings of this life, we also may take them for granted...such things as family, friends, good health, bank accounts and satisfying work and hobbies.
-
But it is good to be reminded that there is a grander scheme that is playing out, in our individual lives and in all of Creation as well.  We cannot hold back time and we cannot stay the process of life's seasons.  There is an absolute ultimate destiny that each of us face...as we ultimately will face the One who gave us life.
-
May we face our destiny before we face Him!  For surely our knees will bow then and our tongues will be loosened in confession at that point.  Let us bow and confess even now!
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


-------------------------------------------
"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."



Saturday, April 21, 2018

Fw: It's on us...

John 10:25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep."
-
When Jesus was here He did many miracles and also clearly stated that He was God's Son...the promised messiah.  Nevertheless many people did not believe.  This is still true today.  Far more people know the truth about Jesus than have chosen to believe.  Believe, in this case, means to lay down self and acknowledge sin and receive the Savior.
-
We can be very slippery characters when it comes to the truth and we may have a greater loyalty to self, however flawed, than to the One who made us.  I think this is the very same issue that Adam and Eve had, back in the Garden.  They saw themselves as "free agents".  They had their own minds...their own desires...their own identities.  They clearly knew that God was real but consciously chose self rather than bow to God.  God is looking for people who recognize that they have not made themselves and that the One who fashioned them in His image deserves our submission.  When those minds He has made and those wills He has forged are aligned with His and chosen to put Him first there is a completeness to Creation that was intended all along.
-
It's more than a matter of knowing the truth.  We must bow before the truth.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith

-------------------------------------------
"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Friday, April 20, 2018

Fw: Just beyond...

1 Corinthians 15:42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being";the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
-
God has a way of turning defeat into victory.  Certainly the Cross is the greatest example of this, when Christ's enemies thought they'd gotten rid of Him and discouraged His followers by putting Him to death there.  But that death was necessary as the one perfect sacrifice for our sins.  Death, for each of us...as believers in Jesus...is very similar.  Death presents itself as (1) an end, (2) a great loss, (3) permanent separation from loved ones and is often accompanied by pain.  It can come at very unexpected times and in a very untimely way.  Life's ambition, accumulation and achievement suddenly ceases.  And beyond we wonder and have many questions.
-
But just as the Cross turned a death into a restoration for all who would believe, so Jesus' resurrection is a promise that those who believe will live beyond death...just as Jesus did.  Rather than the end that it appears to be, death becomes a doorway that human beings must move through and into a wonderful place beyond.  Just as the people of Israel moved across the Red Sea and then across a desert and then across the Jordan to experience deliverance, provision and arrival in the Promised Land, so the believer must experience faith in the Cross, provision through this life and entrance to eternity with the Lord.
-
Faith looks past death for our God is all about life!
-
blessings,
Rob Smith

-------------------------------------------
"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fw: sidetracked by design

James 1:Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
-
We like ponds without ripples, clear skies without a cloud, vacations from work and days free from problems.  But life isn't always like that.  Trials come from unexpected and unanticipated places to have surprising impact on our "ripple free" lives.  We're shaken from our comfortable routines and questions are accompanied by pain and then more questions.
-
James reminds us that all of life is a training exercise.  I remember getting up really early that first summer at the Naval Academy for something called the PEP program (Physical Exercise Program) and we marched to a field as dawn was breaking for about an hour of strenuous twists, bends, push-ups under the direction of a German immigrant named Heinz Lens, complete with the Teutonic accent.  As I'd shake the clouds from my brain and feel the muscles burn I'd wonder why I'd chosen this departure from my comfortable home life.
-
But good old USNA was where the Lord wanted to break me down to find me with Himself and I'm forever grateful for the small discomforts and challenges that helped me come to the end of self and find the beginning of life in Him.
-
And as time unrolls the trials come, just as James said, "of various kinds".  Perhaps we need trials of health and trials of relationship and trials in the work place and trials with money because there are lessons to be learned and character to be shaped from all of those experiences.  Verse 4 is so encouraging...God has an ultimate in mind for each of us who trust in Him.  He takes us places we wouldn't go to make us into the person we didn't know we could be.  And a little farther down the same passage we read: "12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."
-
May your trials this day deepen your relationship with Him and complete you for His purposes.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith

-------------------------------------------
"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Fw: What are you aiming for?

1 Timothy 1:The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
-
Paul was clear about his central goal as he mentored and discipled the young believer Timothy.  He carried a sharp focus.  Ultimately, Paul was "looking for love".  That is, he was looking for selfless attitudes and actions to show as the precious fruit that grew from the heart of a believer in Christ.  Only one who had surrendered self to the Savior through "sincere faith", another way of describing the new birth or salvation experience, could obtain the "good conscience" and the "pure heart" that would allow the Lord to come and dwell within.  And only one who allows the presence of the Lord, with ongoing submission to His direction and conviction, will show the sweet fruits of Jesus' inward presence...in an outward way.
-
We can't attain this standing with the Lord on our own and we can't produce this fruit without standing with the Lord, one by one.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith

-------------------------------------------
"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."