Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fw: moving forward from Easter




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Saturday, April 29, 2017 7:24 AM
Subject: moving forward from Easter

We recently celebrated Easter...the great remembrance that the one who was perfect became perfectly estranged from His father to bear our punishment on a Cross of execution...and then rose from the dead to proclaim victory over sin.  So now we move forward from Easter and we appropriate this great work on our behalf.  But just what shall we do?  How shall we live now in light of this great truth?  What actually should change about our behavior?
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Hebrews, chapter 10, gives some guidance.  After teaching on the effectiveness of Christ's perfect sacrifice the author gives us stepping stones to follow, as we also must rise to new life.
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Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
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Here are three phrases that provide stepping stones to action:
"Let us draw near"
"Let us hold fast"
"Let us consider"
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A great price has been paid to gain our direct access to the Lord.  Nothing hinders us from taking every thought, every concern and every need directly to Him.  And we can dwell at His feet, in His throne room and behold the beauty and wonder and peace that comes from His presence: "Let us draw near".
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Day by day, as we walk through the challenges of living we will face doubts, discouragement and we will stumble at times.  We need to keep returning to the promise of our Savior, that His love for us was perfected through His saving work on our behalf.  Our destiny is secure in Him and our hope is established: "Let us hold fast".
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And there is something for us to do to encourage others...to share this love we have received with people who need to know...to gather and celebrate and worship the God who gave all and gives life to all who will receive Him: "Let us consider".
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As we move away from Easter on the calendar we keep moving toward our Creator and Savior, with the help of His Spirit.  We draw near, hold fast and consider all that has been done and all that we are and all that we can be because He lives!
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blessings,
Rob Smith


Monday, April 24, 2017

Fw: Ransomed!




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 7:24 AM
Subject: Ransomed!

1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
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The word 'ransom' comes from old French words that mean: the sum paid for release of a prisoner or captured man.  Can there be any doubt about the effectiveness of our salvation when the payment made was the life blood of Jesus?  Can there be any doubt that this payment will satisfy the debt we owe for our sins?  A ransom is a transaction.  It isn't a pretty transaction but when it comes to saving lives it is a necessary one and one that was definitely accomplished.  How is it that some wonder if they can know, for sure, if they are saved when such a clear and compelling ransom payment has been made.  Perhaps they have not crossed the threshold of trust...of reliance...of faith that (a) they are a prisoner themselves and (b) the ransom was paid for them, personally.
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Jesus has accomplished the payment and all people can look on the transaction, as they reflect on the Cross, and say, "Yes...your ransom payment applies to me!"  and "I was a prisoner but you have set me free!"
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blessings,
Rob Smith


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fw: coming and going




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2017 8:00 AM
Subject: coming and going

John 14:And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
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Jesus' coming and going establishes the reality of Heaven and the promise that we can one day be there with Him.  Jesus illustrated the three great realities of life that answer the questions we cannot find answers for anywhere else.  Where does life originate from?  What happens when we die?  Where will we go afterwards?
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Coming in the flesh, Jesus had first lived with His Father in Heaven.  Life has its origin in Heaven, where the Father spoke all of Creation into being and knew that each of us would live one day.  Death follows life and since the first man death is due to his disobedience and we inherited that disobedient nature.  Jesus also died, but not for His disobedience.  He died for ours.  Death appears to be the end of life but Jesus showed that there is life after death.  In John, chapter 14, Jesus clearly teaches his disciples that He will come back for them so that they can share this life with Him.
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Interestingly, each of us has nothing to do with our natural birth...the reality of our natural existence.  But each of us must be involved in the decision to live in the place that follows natural death.  That is a birth based on belief.  If we grasp the love of Jesus and want to embrace His "going and coming" at the most personal level we believe His word and at that moment are born again....born to the eternal life that Jesus demonstrated when He moved from a body that was born from a mother, moved through physical death to a new life and ascended to Heaven. 
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Jesus life not only illustrates the hope of Heaven, He cements its reality for everyone who believes that Jesus has gone through this for them, personally.
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You can believe it!
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John 13:Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward."
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blessings,
Rob Smith


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fw: a lasting relationship




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 7:26 AM
Subject: a lasting relationship

John, chapter 15, paints a picture of how our relationship with the living God has results that go on forever.  The word "abide" is used several times to show how we ought to remain 'plugged in' to Father and Son and if we do that we are promised to bear fruit in our lives that will also remain.  Here are passages that paint this picture:
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Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." 
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{Note, it's not just us abiding in Him but Him abiding in us!}
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5... "Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit" 
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{Note the promise that comes from abiding in Him}
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If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."
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{Here's how we abide}
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"9...Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love"
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There are two great outcomes from abiding in Jesus: (1) the Father is glorified and (2) lasting fruit is produced
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"8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples."
16..." I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide"
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Oh...and abiding in Him is the path to joy!
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"11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."
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blessings!
Rob Smith


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fw: abiding




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 7:23 AM
Subject: abiding

John 15 takes us past the answers to a troubled heart provided by John 14 and leads us to fruitful living.  And the key is to "abide" in Christ.
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Here is a quote from verses 4 and 5: " Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches."
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It occurs to me that a natural branch has no choice as to whether it will abide in the vine.  That's how it is made...all one living thing.  But we have choice on a daily basis as to where we will take our nourishment from.  It seems to me that if we don't purpose to remain/abide in the Lord we drift away.  And what does it mean to abide anyhow?
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A good test might be to consider where our thoughts go as we begin our day.  As concerns and issues begin to compete for our attention do we corral them and take them to the Lord?  In his second letter to the Corinthians the apostle Paul used this phrase regarding his thoughts: "take every thought captive to obey Christ" (from chapter 10, verse 5).  Abiding means in part to hold up the thoughts that enter our minds to the mind of Christ that He might shine light on them.
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Matthew 6:25-33 provides Jesus' teaching on not worrying about food or clothing...the practical issues of life that often capture our minds and lead us from abiding in him.  He said that the key is to start with Him and not the worries.  "33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
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Perhaps where we start each day has a lot to do with where we remain during the day.
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blessings,
Rob Smith