Friday, December 30, 2016

Fw: draw near




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Friday, December 30, 2016 7:33 AM
Subject: draw near

Hebrews 4:16 "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Mercy and grace....we need both so much.  We need mercy because there is no way we can approach God unless He provides a way, despite our failures...our rebellion from Him.  We desperately need grace because without God's direct help we cannot find our way in this life or find our way to Him for eternal life.  As the author of Hebrews put it, we need mercy and grace for help in our time of need.  And we stand constantly in that time of need.
-
Because Jesus has come and paid the price that we could never pay, with His life, we can approach God's throne with confidence...confidence in Him...and obtain the help we need...to find life and then to go on living.
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Mercy and grace...this is the help we need.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fw: More than letters on a page




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2016 7:31 AM
Subject: More than letters on a page

Our words have a certain amount of power.  There is power to comfort and console...power to persuade...power to apologize...power to ask life-changing questions.  God's words carry amazing power.  There is power to create a universe...power to hold that universe together...power to reach inside individual hearts and shine light.
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When we read the Bible we are exposing our minds and hearts to this great power.  More than letters on a page, His Word is more like a vehicle that carries power...something like an intense laser that brings focused energy.
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Jesus is described in the first chapter of John as "the Word" that was with God from the beginning and came in the flesh.
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Here are three verses from the book of Hebrews on God's amazing Word:

Hebrews 11:By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
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Hebrews 1:He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
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Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
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Listening to His Word...reading His Word...contemplating His Word...memorizing His Word...these are ways to meet the One who made it all and desires to reach each one.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fw: taking the call




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2016 7:28 AM
Subject: taking the call

Sometimes you have to turn the ringer down on your phone and you may miss a call.  Hopefully, if it's important, they'll leave a message.  Sometimes a call comes in and when you see who is calling you are excited to hear from a family member or friend (and then you pick up).  Sometimes a call comes in from an unknown number and the message left indicates an unwanted sales call.  But how do you respond when the call comes to your heart from Jesus?  Do you have the ringer turned down?  Is your heart on "silent"?  Do you see who is calling and ignore Him?
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Jesus calls us individually.  He knows our number.  He seems to prefer to speak directly to us rather than leave a message.  But if He does call He has a message of freedom for you!
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John 10:3-4 "...The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fw: knowledge




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Tuesday, December 27, 2016 7:21 AM
Subject: knowledge

Ephesians 3:19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
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The apostle Paul is expressing his heart-felt longings for the church at Ephesus.  He caps it off with a play on words.  Knowledge can mean a mental awareness of facts.  Knowledge can also mean actually experiencing something.  We put a lot of stock in 'head knowledge' and invest years in school and work to build our storehouse of information.  But in that sense knowledge is a 'means to an end'.  The availability of information permits us to solve problems, answer questions and accomplish tasks.
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The knowledge that is experience represents not the means to the end...but the end itself.  And, as Paul states, the experience of knowing Christ personally far surpasses 'knowing facts about Christ'. 
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By faith we have experienced the Lord and so we 'know' that we are known...now and forever!
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Monday, December 26, 2016

Fw: the angle on angels




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Monday, December 26, 2016 10:53 AM
Subject: the angle on angels

Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven.....
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So a great number of angels joined together to make the joyous announcement of the Savior baby's arrival.  A multitude means an army or band of angels.  They were obviously angels to the shepherds and they came to join the single angel who came first.  When the first angel came the shepherds were filled with fear.  Scripture says "the glory of the Lord shone around them".  Can you imagine the awe that swept these humble shepherds on their hillside?
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It's amazing to consider the reality that an army of angels exists in Heaven.  Why don't they show up more often?  Why don't they exercise their supernatural power more frequently?
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Perhaps if we were to see and experience the angels more often we would allow our interest in them to take the place of our need for the Lord.  Angels have a different starting point than we do.  They start from being in the presence of the Lord in Heaven and are submitted to His authority always.  We start from a place of rebellion and are not submitted initially to God's authority.  We do have a great need to be connected to Heaven...but that connection must be centered on our need for forgiveness and cleansing of sin.  If we get too caught up in all the interesting phenomena of Heaven before being reconciled to God we will miss the narrow gate that leads to eternal life.
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We have an eternity to get acquainted better with angels!
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(and yet we may meet some along the way even here!)
-
Merry Christmas!
Rob Smith


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Fw: Let us go to Bethlehem and see...




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Sunday, December 25, 2016 7:36 AM
Subject: Let us go to Bethlehem and see...

Luke 2:15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."
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This Christmas morning we should follow the recommendation of the shepherds.  They just had a very "un-shepherd-like" experience with a lot of angels.  It probably started out as a night, like all nights, filled with the blackness of sky and quiet except for the occasional cry of a lamb or crackle of the fire.  Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to them.  Imagine what that was like!  Apparently they were clear that this was an angel and he was from the Lord.  The angel has a specific message telling them of a newcomer to earth.  This newcomer had three key identifying characteristics: He was (1) a Savior, (2) Christ and (3) the Lord.  The shepherds needed a Savior because they were, like all men, sinners who couldn't "self correct" their separation from God.  The shepherds needed one commissioned and specifically sent by God...the Christ...because no one else would have the power or authority to restore them.  The shepherds needed the Lord, Himself, to come because no one else could walk in the flesh without being consumed by it and no one else could pay the price needed to restore them to the Father.
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The angels were the first witness of God coming in the flesh and the shepherds responded to their witness and went to see for themselves.  After they went to find the baby they did two things: they witnessed to Mary and Joseph and others what the angels had told them and they worshiped and glorified the Lord.  They heard the message.  They went to Bethlehem to confirm it.  They believed the message and were changed...they were shepherds who now had become sheep of the Great Shepherd.
-
Merry Christmas,
Rob Smith





Saturday, December 24, 2016

Fw: Behind the scenes...




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Saturday, December 24, 2016 10:51 AM
Subject: Behind the scenes...

 Luke 2:2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem...
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Micah 5:2 
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
    one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming is from old, from ancient days.

Sometimes it's the small things that convince you that God has the master plan.  The prophet Micah had prophesied hundreds of years earlier that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Messiah.  But the specific reason that Joseph and Mary ended up in Bethlehem was at the direction of the Roman authorities.  Their motive was to get all the taxes they could from the local people.  But God always knew that this would take place.  He is the sovereign ruler over time and events and He guided even the Roman rulers to make sure His plans would be fulfilled.  
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God's plan is greater than man's....and we are grateful...our plans so often have the wrong purpose.  But God can wrap us up in His greater purpose...and He will certainly complete all that He has begun.

Merry Christmas!
Rob Smith                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


Monday, October 17, 2016

Fw: clear reflection




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Monday, October 17, 2016 7:11 AM
Subject: clear reflection

A full moon lingered over the pond this morning as dawn delayed its arrival.  I saw a sharp reflection of the moon in the still pond water and realized that when the water is very still, the reflection of what is in the sky is most clear.  I was encouraged to be still, myself, and consider how the Lord's reflection is most clear when I am most restful...in Him.
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Proverbs 27:19 As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Friday, October 14, 2016

Fw: me or You?




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Friday, October 14, 2016 7:27 AM
Subject: me or You?

me or You?...the question goes,
I see has been the theme.
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every day this is my choice,
who rules my life...
who calls the shots...
who leads the way...
who takes the reins...
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I know it should be you...but
me elbows in and squeezes out
your quiet presence (but still you wait).
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There is a place where surrender wins;
Where You loom large and I grow small...
I stop my noise...
listen close...
hear your soft voice...
follow your prod...
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me or You...the answer's clear,
It must be You!
and then I find the me...
You'd want for me to be.
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Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator....15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fw: seasons




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2016 7:28 AM
Subject: seasons

As I looked around this morning at leaves starting to turn color it occurred to me: "Seasons happen".  We don't control the movement from summer to fall to winter to spring.  But the seasons change every year.  And each season comes as a familiar friend when it first arrives.  I usually find that I'm ready for the next season when it starts to show up (with the possible exception of winter).  And there are seasons in our lives as well... as we grow up and mature and grow old.  And we don't control those seasons either.  This morning I considered how the God who controls the seasons of nature and of my life also has accompanied me in a personal way and, thankfully, broke into my awareness in an earlier season.  I was reminded that life isn't about "control" but returning gratitude for the One who does.
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Leviticus 26:4 then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fw: spillway




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 7:37 AM
Subject: spillway

At the pond I like to visit in the morning there is a continual flow of water leaving the pond and falling over a concrete spillway.  It never stops...day and night...every day...there must be springs that feed the pond because this excess water is constantly overflowing and rushing out.  The pond was once a mill pond and people would take the power of the water moving out of the pond to crush grains into flour.  Water in motion...a reliable and constant source of power.  I thought about the water and the power you can hear as it rushes out.  I realized that the great honor of being a Christian is that we become residents for the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16 "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?")  I thought about the great power of God and the lack of power in "me" and realized that allowing God's power to overflow is the highest privilege of life.  I considered the ambition of being a simple "spillway" for the Lord...to allow Him to flow out and over and into others.  Because the pond's overflow is constant you really don't notice, or really see, the concrete spillway...but it is useful and it is effective....and it is enough!

blessings and love,
Rob Smith


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Fw: fog




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 7:39 AM
Subject: fog

You hang in space where cold meets warm...
suspended as you wait;
-
For morning's sun to shine new light
and make you dissipate.
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But fog, I resemble you, when morning comes
and sleep meets day,
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Cold meets warm within my frame and fog results;
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Until I think on your sweet name.
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My fog then lifts as You remain...
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All is well...all is well


Monday, October 10, 2016

Fw: air and water




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2016 7:35 AM
Subject: air and water

It occurred to me this morning that air and water are two substances that can be the picture of calm when they are still and the epitome of violence when they are fully active.  Hurricane Matthew has just spent his power in wind and water up the southeastern coast of the U.S.  Heat from the summer sun and stored in southern ocean waters was the meteorological cause of the hurricane.  This weather system took the most common of ingredients...air and water...and transformed them into agents of destruction and damage.  The satellite picture of a hurricane shows its organization and serious intent.
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Air and water...barely noticed when they are still...inescapable when raging at full force. 
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God is present too...as present as air and water.  We take Him for granted...we walk without noticing Him...we forget that He is the creative and sustaining force behind all we can see.  But He can become stirred up as well.  His awesome power can fashion a hurricane within individual lives and across nations.
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We are wise to bow before the One who is sovereign over air and water and also rules the power of His Holy Spirit.  He can be very still but He alone holds the power to transform lives and make the most permanent of changes that affect people everywhere.  He is the power behind the air and the water.
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Psalm 107:25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
    which lifted up the waves of the sea....28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
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blessings and peace,
Rob Smith


Monday, October 3, 2016

Fw: the claim




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Monday, October 3, 2016 7:36 AM
Subject: the claim

I recently saw a western movie where the good guys beat the bad guys.  I like that simple old theme and I like westerns.  The center of the drama was a town of poor folks who had risked everything to make their living on land they'd bought, probably sight unseen, before making the difficult trip west.  But, to their surprise, gold was found on their property.  A really bad guy, with lots of money and other bad guys under his control, barged onto their land and started mining there.  He put his own corrupt sheriff in place in the town and tried to cheat the local folks by giving them a pittance for the deeds to their land.  So it was up to the heroes of our story to save the town and the good local folks from all this.
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I thought about the deed to each of our lives.  We may tend to think that we hold the deed, ourselves, to our lives.  After all we seem to take the risks and we live inside these bodies and we make the choices and we go where we want.  Don't we hold the deed?  And when we find gold in the form of talent or success, doesn't it belong to us?  If we think about it, the deed is held by our Maker.  He placed us here, in our bodies and in this time.  We may have a lot of freedom to go where we want and do what we want but ultimately our time will end here and our bodies will return to dust and our spirit will move on to ultimately face Him.
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He holds the deed and He places the gold on His property.  He allows us to do some of the mining and He allows us to put some of the gold to work and He makes sure our needs are met.  And there may be evil forces that seek to rip the deed to our lives away from Him...but He can be counted on to protect His claim and hold onto the deed.
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Leviticus 25:23 "The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me."
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Monday, September 26, 2016

Fw: stillness




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2016 7:29 AM
Subject: stillness

There is a time of stillness
before the day begins,
-
When sleepy skies rub their eyes
and birds begin to sing.
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Awake and walk in early times...
before the cares of life arrive.
-
Your heart and mind can now receive
Heaven's thoughts...
they carry life!
-
Before the tumult of the world
intrudes upon your inner place
find the stillness of the morning
and renew within His grace.
-
-
Isaiah 14:7 The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fw: seeds in the wind




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2016 11:01 AM
Subject: seeds in the wind

I was jogging yesterday out by a local reservoir.  As I headed into a wooded area I spotted some seeds being carried by the wind and drifting across the road above me (like the picture).  I thought about the new life represented by the seeds and how, at the end of the summer, preparations are already being made for spring...despite the winter that must come between.  How beautiful that God designed a way for the wind to carry this new life and establish it before the cold of winter.  He knows that spring lies just ahead...just past one very cold season.  I am reminded that the Holy Spirit is the divine wind that carries the seed of new life to people even as they are about to enter "winter" experiences in their lives.  Spring, for them, also lies just ahead...through one cold season.
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Psalm 104:30 When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith
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