Wednesday, October 31, 2012

powerful reminder

The great storm swept into the Northeast like an uppercut from a champion heavyweight. And despite the clenched gloves of those on the shoreline, the powerful fist drove hard and deep inland and up to rock the seemingly impregnable jaw of New York. Damage from wind, rain, and especially rising surf put a sudden stop to almost everything man was doing and a return to normalcy will be far slower. As the stunned residents of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and elsewhere rise up from the canvas it is interesting to consider how one mighty breath from the vaults of the atmosphere could shut down subways, businesses, Halloween, and even the mighty stock exchanges. A Presidential election campaign was halted in its tracks just as it reached its most dramatic final week. Perhaps it is good to be reminded that man does not control his day, or his destiny, and we need to humble ourselves before the One who rides over the winds and contains the seas within the boundaries He sets.
Psalm 33:7 He assigned the sea its boundaries
and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.
With love and prayers for all those who have felt and fallen under the impact of Sandy.
Rob Smith

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

that simple way

Life rushes by and rushes in...
and twists me side to side...

The day ahead, unknown and dark,
Brings fear to stir inside...

The past can grab and drag and pull,
and stumble, we may fall...

I need a hand to reach within,
one stronger than my own!

How can I reach that hand from God?
How can I know His touch?

Why it's a very simple way...
It starts by looking up!

A simple cry for help to Him...
A simple honesty,
That bows the head and heart to God
And simply states the need.

He simply loves us, you and me
Full-time we're on His heart...

So bow before you fall again,
and, simply, life will start.

Psalm 19:
The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
    reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.

Rob Smith

Monday, October 29, 2012

large storm

We are in the early stages of a very large storm...Hurricane Sandy. Tropical force winds radiate out nearly 500 miles from the center of this dynamo. It is a southern storm...a tropical hurricane...that is becoming a northern storm, a giant nor'easter fed by the jet stream and cold air out of Canada. Experts are saying that is something like the "perfect storm" of 1991, but it's hard to think of something so destructive as perfect in any sense. When a storm comes, people prepare by laying up extra food, water, and batteries and tie down anything that can become a wind borne missile. This storm is dramatically visible from satellite pictures as a huge cloud turbine, spinning like some giant pinwheel. We cannot change the path of the storm, or the intensity of the storm. We can only prepare for the storm and weather its impact. There is another giant storm that is blowing. It is unlike Hurricane Sandy in that it is raging all the time. This storm seeks to blow down human lives with an internal kind of destructiveness. It is Hurricane Sin and it doesn't feed on water temperatures and air movement. It centers on the perfect storm conditions of the human heart. We carry the potential for destructive force in the seeds of self centeredness, lust, greed and rebellion that lay within. When these tendencies mix with opportunity in the depressed climate of tempation a full blown storm will blow that can tear down lives, marriages and even nations. Unlike Hurricane Sandy, however, there are some actions that can be taken to prevent the storm and to minimize is destructiveness. When we take the center of our being and place it in submission to the Lord who is greater than all storms we gain sensitivity to temptation as an early warning sign and we can execute an attitude shift that will cause the elements of sin's storm to be quieted. There is peace after a hurricane but it can be the agonizing peace of damage control and repair. There can be peace from our personal hurricanes when we are delivered from the destructive winds of anger, pride and self centeredness as we center on the One who brings peace within from every storm.
Psalm 107:28 "Lord, help!" they cried in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
29 He calmed the storm to a whisper
and stilled the waves.
30 What a blessing was that stillness
as he brought them safely into harbor!
Rob Smith

Friday, October 19, 2012

The eyes of Jesus

Quiet I am,
and still beside
the busy-ness
I leave,

To feel His gaze
now soft and kind,
My Jesus
You do see.

And now you live within as well,
that well I now can be,

And as I look at others true...
May your eyes see through me.

1 Corinthians 12:27 All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it.

Rob Smith

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

tin roof

Riding through the western Michigan countryside yesterday I spied some long lived farm homes with tin roofs.  I thought about those humble coverings.  They are noisy drums that resound when heavy rain and hail shower down but they have provided protection for the homes within and below for years and families and perhaps even generations, without need for replacement.  There are flashier roofs...there are architectural roofs with more appealing shingles...but there are few reasonably priced alternatives to provide a more lasting covering.  And I remembered the covering...the roof...over my life.  Jesus is the tin roof of my life...He will shelter all that is within my frame and He will not wear out.  He is not flashy...but He lasts...and He is effective...and He will not be replaced!

2 Samuel 22:
    my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
    and my place of safety.
He is my refuge, my savior,
    the one who saves me from violence.

Rob Smith

Monday, October 8, 2012

inner talks

Of all the talks we have in life
The ones that mean the most
Take place within our minds
and hearts,
The dialog of self.
Questions we all ask inside
of life and death and meaning
The outer skin may not reveal
What inside we are weighing.
For all the past that we have known
Can only help in part
To understand our needs today
and walk in peaceful light.
But when our heart is in His hand
Those questions find their rest.
Answers find their questions lost
In the warmth of His caress.
Ephesians 3:16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
blessings and agape love,
Rob Smith

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

the healing process

It's almost healed now...I wore a quarter-inch patch of skin off my left hand between the thumb and index finger from a day of digging and pushing long-handled yard tools a few weeks ago.   The top surface of skin just pulled away and exposed the tender pink layer beneath.  It was just painful enough to be annoying for a few days but I watched the gradual healing process as the body provided a coating of protective serum that eventually hardened to a scab.  Now the scab has dried and broken off and the healing process is just about complete.  I thought about the healing process and how it cannot be rushed.  The protection of the wound and formation of replacement skin takes time.  And, I suppose, that is true for our relationships with others.  When we have worn off a patch of skin in our relationship with others, tender nerves can be exposed and there is pain for a time.  But as we allow the healing presence of the Lord to begin with a request for forgiveness the circulation system of love begins to build a protective layer to first ease the pain and to allow the formation of a new tenderness beneath.  Ultimately the scab drops off and the relationship can resume, with a new appreciation for the process of healing and restoration.

Proverbs 17:
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven,
    but dwelling on it separates close friends.

Rob Smith 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

best time for promises

Genesis 32:12 "But you promised me, 'I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore---too many to count.' "

Jacob is returning to his homeland with his four wives, children, and a host of animals and shepherds.  He has one big problem...his brother Esau lies in his way and the last time he saw Esau he had stolen his older brother's blessing by committing the first recorded incident of "identity theft".  He knows that Esau has vowed to kill him and so this seems to be a good time for Jacob to claim God's promise that he will survive and thrive in the future.  Jacob was a rascal...and Jacob was a sinner...but Jacob had learned a few things about hard work and patience and he also had come to experience God in a real and personal way.  The inner voice of faith told him to proceed on the basis of the promises God had made.  Perhaps this is good advice for us too.  As we learn and find our way through life let's listen and gather the promises of God because the time will come when we will need to claim them as we head into unknown and threatening territory!

Rob Smith

Monday, October 1, 2012

invisible force

Hebrews 11:11 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

We have been reading through the book of Hebrews in our Sunday Mini Bible College class.  Chapter 11 is known as the "Faith chapter" in the Bible because it both describes and illustrates faith as it is and as it is demonstrated in the lives of Bible personalities.  So I was thinking about how we acquire faith, as it is defined in the first verse of the chapter.  How do we reach the place where we have "confidence that what we hope for will actually happen".  How do we have rock-solid "assurance about things we cannot see".  After all, faith is invisible.  But then I realized that the starting point for all of Creation was invisible.  Before there was anything to be seen there was the command from God that brought the visible into being.  So it makes sense that there would be an invisible force that would connect us with the One who issued the commands and brought us, and all we can see, into being.  It also makes sense that faith, itself, would be a quality that we could not develop on our own.  This invisible force that connects us and provides confidence that God is and that He has provided a rescue for us...this force was also a gift.  It's almost as if God has given us the ability to communicate and understand in a new language...a Heavenly language of trust that links us with the One who made the invisible visible...and who has dominion over all life.  Somehow the miracle of faith becoming real within our beings is very much like God's command that brought Creation into being..when the invisible became seen.

Rob Smith