Saturday, June 30, 2012

night rain

A stormy night, so black and deep
The trees, with wind, complain

Rain flees the sky in search of land
And cools the sun-baked plain

The people sleep, secure in homes
and sheltered from the fray

Our lights are out, the power down
Reminded once again

One sits on high with greater might
than man can even say.

2 Samuel 22:10 
He opened the heavens and came down;
    dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
11 Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew,
    soaring on the wings of the wind.
12 He shrouded himself in darkness,
    veiling his approach with dense rain clouds.

Rob Smith

Friday, June 29, 2012


Psalm 19 tells us that God speaks to us in a way that is like the sun shining.  Just as the sun accompanies us throughout our day of activity, so the Lord is with us and so He also communicates with us as the sunlight shines.  But what struck me most from the psalm was the description of all the benefits from God's words to us:

The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
    reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right,
    bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
    giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure,
    lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true;
    each one is fair. 

In a world where deception, manipulation and confusion run through our days we need the constant presence of the reliable words from God, who not only watches over us...He speaks to us!
Rob Smith

Thursday, June 28, 2012


An old tree makes a powerful statement.  Its size speaks of life that goes back, perhaps centuries.  Its height dwarfs all other living creatures and humbles.  Its vitality confirms the reliability of light, water and soil to sustain existence.  Its branches provide homes for other living things, shade from summer heat, and leaves that anticipate and mark each season.  And we find our home in the Tree of Life, whose roots are in Heaven, whose branches are on Earth, and whose light and rain come from the Master Gardener.

Revelation 22:2 "On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."
Rob Smith

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

the third person

There is the concept of the "third person" in writing.  Stories can be narrated from the perspective of "I", "You" or "He/She".  'I and You' are first and second person forms.  'He/She' refer to the third person.  We live our lives in the first person as we walk around and through our days and we interact with a lot of second persons as we go.  But I am convinced that our greatest need is for the help of the Third Person.  So often the First Person is too close to the problem and the Second Person is often the cause of the problem.  We need the Third Person to independently and effectively assist us to see the problem and to deal with it.  The Lord is the Third Person and He is always ready and available to come alongside First and Second Persons to bridge gaps, heal wounds and provide insight.  The Psalmist and king, David, had this kind of relationship with God.  Here is one phrase from Psalm 18 that captures some of this:

16 He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
    from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
18 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
    but the Lord supported me.
19 He led me to a place of safety;
    he rescued me because he delights in me.

I believe that we were made not to live in the First Person or Second Person, alone...but in the constant company of the Third Person!

Rob Smith (note the pictured geese are still looking for their third person!)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Exodus 34:So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain.

There's something about a beautiful morning (and this morning is a beautiful clear one...that summer showers have ushered our way...see picture) that lends itself to fresh beginnings and realignment with God.  Before the interactions, distractions and actions of the busy business of bustling begins, a foundation for the day can start with the awesome opportunity to bow before our Creator.  And like Moses, from Exodus in chapter 24, we can go up to the Lord on the top of the mountain, where only He and we will stand.  And then we can go down and out into our day...recharged restored and renewed...and ready!
Rob Smith

Monday, June 25, 2012

getting past the eagle

Psalm 103:
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

It would be hard for me to explain the absence of God in light of the reality of the eagle.  Such nobility could hardly seem to be the product of chance.

Rob Smith

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Psalm 1 Tree

Psalm 1

Verse 3 "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season
Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper."

(I thought the pictured trees went one step farther as they were planted in the midst of the water!).

Rob Smith

Saturday, June 23, 2012

finding gold!

I went in search of gold this morning and found it in a field.  Golden sun washing over a golden field spoke of God's provision in abundance.  This particular field was located, as many fields are, in a quiet rural corner...away from the crowds and sitting in peaceful potential.  I knew that I had found true gold after taking the picture when the driver and passenger of the first truck I drove past, on that road, waved at me.  Only those who are surrounded by this kind of gold know their true wealth and are set free to share that joy.

Matthew 13:31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches."

Rob Smith

Thursday, June 21, 2012

delayed Sunrise

The woods behind my house drop off steeply to form a creek at the bottom.  As I walked back to the house this morning the sun was just breaking into the woods (picture), although it had risen well over an hour earlier.  It occurred to me that we come to find the light of the Son at different times in our life.  For some He rises at a young age to reach us...for others we may be years down the road of life before His light breaks into our lives.  There is sunrise and there is Son-rise.  When the light breaks into our personal woods it transforms everything and a forest becomes a sanctuary.

John 1:
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
    and his life brought light to everyone.

Rob Smith

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

stalks and fields

Fields of corn are a symbol of summer.  Today I walked through a field of maturing corn stalks (picture) and thought about the fact that the individual stalks don't get as much attention as the entire field, or crop.  Yet, the ears of corn don't come from a "field", they grow on individual stalks.  If you look close at each stalk you begin to see differences, despite the soldier-like similarity and rigid stance of the entire crop.  Perhaps we may lose ourselves at times, like stalks of corn in the sea-like crop of people.  But the fruit of our lives comes from each individual life as we stand side by side with others.  (By the way, did you know that the average American consumes about his or her weight each year in corn and corn products?).

Genesis 41:22 "Then I fell asleep again, and I had another dream. This time I saw seven heads of grain, full and beautiful, growing on a single stalk.
Rob Smith

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

lean into the light

Uncertain is the day ahead...
Lean into the light.

Unknown events will come my way...
Lean into the light.

What can I trust?  Who sees it all?
Lean into the light.

How can I rest and yet not fall?
Lean into the light.

Where is peace that shines through all?
Lean into the light!

Matthew 4:16 
the people who sat in darkness
    have seen a great light.
And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow,
    a light has shined.

(see picture)

Rob Smith

Monday, June 18, 2012

power and grace

I was a little too slow and clumsy to capture the scene this morning:  Having just snapped a few closeups of a heron(pictures) I spied motion with my peripheral vision.  An eagle swooped overhead and then dove purposefully to snare a fish with its talons and then soar off down the length of the pond with his catch.  It all happened in seconds.  Reflecting on the brief incident, two words seemed appropriate: power and grace.  Powerful wing strokes brought the eagle into range...powerful eyesight had permitted him to spot his prey from far off.  The dive and snare motion was a display of grace and beauty as the eagle plunged vertically to the water's surface and then levelled off to grab the fish and take off with its prey clutched securely.  Power and grace are the hallmarks of our Lord, as well.  He is powerful to create and to restore and redeem.  He is graceful to apply that power in specific, effective ways to be our help and, unlike the eagle, He is not set on devouring us...He is bent on delivering us.
Exodus 19:4 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself.
Rob Smith

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Good morning, Father!

see picture
Good morning, Father
It's your day!
I welcome you to mine
Your light breaks fresh
and night is gone
You rule the hands of time
With this new day
a fresh start comes
to walk with you beside
Good morning, Father
Please have your way
And let your life reside
Psalm 89:25 Also I will set his hand over the sea,
And his right hand over the rivers.
                26 He shall cry to Me, 'You are my Father
My God, and the rock of my salvation.'
                27 Also I will make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.
blessings to all fathers and those who have made that blessing a reality,
Rob Smith

Saturday, June 16, 2012

light in the swamp

The psalms describe a mix of good and evil...darkness and light. Here is a picture I took this morning that spoke to me of light breaking through into the swamp. Maybe this is what the Psalmist was describing in the 10th Psalm-
Verse 4: The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, "There is no God."
and Verse 11: He says to himself, "God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it."
but light breaks through in Verse 17: O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear
Light breaks into the swamp!
blessings to all fellow swamp dwellers,
Rob Smith

Friday, June 15, 2012


Home is a place and home is a concept.  Home is our place of rest, protection and peace.  When we are home we feel secure, accepted and find all that we need for renewal.  Home is where families dwell and where the most intimate relationships flourish, grow and mature.  We have a home here and we have a home in the eternal dimension.  Here is a picture I took this morning of one home nearby that is also the home of a few horses.  As lovers of the Lord, He is our Home now and forever!

Exodus 15:13 
"With your unfailing love you lead
    the people you have redeemed.
In your might, you guide them
    to your sacred home."

Rob Smith

Thursday, June 14, 2012

gray blue sky

The sky this morning is an interesting mix of gray and blue (see picture).  It seems to mix a picture of difficulty and hope.  The low-lying clouds that seem to patrol overhead are ominous and a little heavy.  The psalm this morning is Psalm 10.  The author starts off by saying: "Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?  Why do you hide Yourself in times of trouble?"  I suppose it can seem that God is far away when the clouds hang low and problems seem to cover like a blanket.  In the midst of difficulty it can appear that God is not here or near.  And for a time, even the wicked may seem to prosper.  Verse 11: "He says to himself, "God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it."  By the end of the psalm we are reminded that God doesn't miss anything.  He is like the blue sky that rides always behind the clouds: "O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear" (verse 17).

Rob Smith

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

water there a more common substance?  Is there a more necessary substance?  And is there a more beautiful substance?  In rain, in oceans, in wells and in our bodies water is essential.  It can also be powerful in waves, floods and hail.  And like other essentials, we can take it for granted.  The Lord is something like water.  He is everywhere and exists in more than one form.  He is outside of us and He can dwell within us.  And He is powerful.  Sometimes we think that we are the central figure but we are not.  

Here are a few verses from Psalm 9 that spoke to me this morning:
Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
verse 20 Put them in fear, O Lord;  Let the nations know that they are but men.

 blessings, (I couldn't resist including one more eagle picture today...he showed up again)
Rob Smith

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

eagle from Heaven!

After working through several Psalms about David seeking refuge from his enemies I was delighted to break through to Psalm 8, which celebrates the majesty of God and the beauty of His Creation.  I was hopeful of finding a photo that would capture some of that beauty but the morning was inauspicious...gray and sullen sky and the pond was strangely quiet.  I wandered and found one picture of a heron hiding in some tall weeds and was about to head home when I stopped by the main pond view one more time.  Suddenly I saw a large bird flying from the far end of the pond in my direction.  I trained my camera up and snapped and caught a gorgeous bald eagle in display.  the Lord provided an eagle from Heaven to illustrate Psalm 8.

Psalm 8:1 O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
               Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
            4 What is man that You take thought of him,
               and the son of man that You care for him?
             6 You make him to rule over the works of your hands;
                You have put all things under his feet,
             8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea

Rob Smith

Monday, June 11, 2012


Trees need roots...roots need earth.  If the ground is washed or carved from the roots the tree will eventually topple.  There are forces that can seek to excavate the soil from our spiritual root system.  We need to tend the soil at the base of our growth and not just take pride in the height of our trunk or the breadth of our branches.  (see picture) When the folks cut this country road through a hillside they set forces of erosion in place that eventually throw trees into the very road they cleared for travel.

Colossians 2:Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Rob Smith

Sunday, June 10, 2012

seeing invisibly

I was looking for a photo that could accompany Psalm 7 this morning.  David is crying out to God for protection from his enemies but also acknowledging that God may use his enemies to punish him for wrongs he may have committed.  David is bowing before God and telling Him that he would rather be punished for doing wrong than protected from harm if that's what his actions deserve.  The phrase that stood out to me came from verse 9: "O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous;  For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds."  Hearts and minds...that's what God is evaluating...the hidden invisible innermost part of us individually...We live outward lives of action and appearance and image but the front lines of living are the hidden ones of heart and mind.  So here is a picture of beautiful wild flowers springing up by the pond.  No person planted them and they can easily be ignored...but if you pause and consider you will see beauty that otherwise would be invisible.

Rob Smith  

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Beauty is especially evident by contrast.  And our praise is especially evident by contrast as well.  This life is difficult and we are prompted to seek after God and to praise Him as we come from our need and as we give thanks for His help.  When we are directly in His presence the praise will resound from all around Him but, this place..during this life...our calls to Him come from the contrast of living a life of tests and uncertainty.  This is the sense I feel from David in Psalm 6.  He cries out to the Lord from His troubles but tells the Lord that only the living can give Him praise:

Verses 4-5: Return, O Lord, rescue my soul; Save me because of your lovingkindness.  For there is no mention of You in death; In Sheol who will give you thanks?

(the pictured heron brightened my Saturday morning at the pond and gave me reason to praise this day!)

Rob Smith

Friday, June 8, 2012

bumble bee

I spied bumble bees in our garden last night and was attracted to the brilliant and soft yellow coats they were wearing.  (see picture)  A little research found that those soft coats develop a static electrical charge when the bees are flying.  When they land the pollen they have attracted from the static charge is attracted to the female part of the flower (stigma) because it is the most strongly grounded part of the flower.  This is how bees are used by the Creator to pollinate flowers.  Electricity has been part of the picture for a long time before Ben Franklin and his famous kite!  Fascinating how the Lord weaves beauty and order together in His Creation.

Song of Solomon 2:12 
The flowers are springing up,
    the season of singing birds has come,
    and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.

Rob Smith

Thursday, June 7, 2012

through the mist

see two attached pictures

Psalm 5:1 "Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my groaning"

There are often times when our day and our way seems shrouded in heavy fog or mist and we just don't know what to do or how to feel or what direction to take.  We are reminded that God is ever present and when we sincerely turn to Him we find a way through the fog...the mist dissipates and we see the next step to take as the picture improves.  Living among other people can be a great can also be a great trial.  Living before the living God we can rejoice in the midst of trial.

Psalm 5:11 "But let them all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may they You shelter them"

Rob Smith

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

clouds in the pond

see attached picture

This morning I was moved by the reflection of clouds in the pond.  I thought about the beauty of God's obvious right now as spring is in full bloom...but there are problems in that Creation.  Men don't acknowledge their Creator and they invest time, energy and passion on the wrong things.  It's almost as if they are aware that He is there but are working hard to avoid looking Him in the eye.  

Psalm 4 captures some of this very well:

Verse 2: O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?  How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?

Yes, there are clouds in the pond...but there is hope as we turn squarely to Him (from verse 6 "Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O Lord!")

Rob Smith

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Psalm 3:3 But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

I found a turtle on the road this morning.  He was sitting directly in line with my truck tire and would have been crushed if I hadn't seen him.  I picked him up and set him on the white hood of my truck and then set him free in the woods.  He was helpless and lost but I reached down and put him in a new and safe place...made me think about another turtle that was delivered some time back.  A human turtle who thought his shell was enough to protect him but found out that he needed help from above to set him in a safe place.  (Perhaps you can relate to this turtle tale...)

Rob Smith

see picture

Monday, June 4, 2012


Psalm 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar
               And the peoples devising a vain thing?

The second psalm asks the question...given the reality of an all powerful God, who reigns with His Son over the universe...where does man come off thinking that he can go any direction he wants...including a path that is in direct opposition to God?  I think the answer is in one word:  freedom!  God built freedom into our experience from day one.  We have never been forced to follow or obey Him even from the time of Adam.  And we are free to set our own course even now.  But God has apparently given us this freedom that we might discover the benefit that comes from freely choosing to bow before Him.  Later in the same psalm we find the best choice is found in attitudes that reflect worship, reverence and homage to the Father and the Son (how interesting that the Son is discussed in this Old Testament book).  I especially like the phrase found in verse 11 "And rejoice with trembling".  With this attitude in mind and heart we will find true freedom!

Rob Smith

Sunday, June 3, 2012

grace for you

see attached picture

You may feel that you are too small, or insignificant, for God to care about.  But consider the picture of the hummingbird.  He weighs only a few ounces but was designed with tremendous beauty and grace.  All that the Master's hand has conceived and fashioned shows this gracious and graceful touch...and that includes you!  As you flit through this day, or pause for a bite of food, remember that you are the workmanship of God!

Job 12:
"Just ask the animals, and they will teach you.
    Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.

Rob Smith

Saturday, June 2, 2012


see attached photo

How is it that we see more clearly in the reflection?  Perhaps it is because the reflection forces us to concentrate a little harder to see the source of the image.  A flat pond is a mirror that reflects its shoreline and a quiet heart is a mirror that reflects the image of our Creator.  I think that it is a good thing to come before Him and be still...that His reflection might be clearly impressed on the surface of our heart and leave an accurate impression in our mind.

Psalm 119:15 
I will study your commandments
    and reflect on your ways.

Rob Smith

Friday, June 1, 2012


Psalm 1:
But his delight is in the law of the Lord

I planted myself in my truck by the pond this morning and read through Psalm 1.  One word that jumped out at me was "delight".  I was challenged with the question: "Do I really delight in God's word?"  I want to and that will be my goal...if I delight in His word than I delight in hearing from Him, being with Him and ultimately following Him.

Rob Smith