Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fw: By, through and for




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 7:28 AM
Subject: By, through and for

Colossians 1:16 "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."
-
I spotted the pictured dragonfly this morning right after reading the verse above.  I had been moved by three simple prepositions that described Christ's sovereignty: By, through and for.  This verse proclaims so powerfully and yet so concisely why Jesus has a claim on all of His creation (including us):  All things (even the dragonfly) were created by Him, through Him and for Him.  You can't get around that word "All" and you can't get over the fact that this includes all things "in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible".  It's amazing enough that Jesus created the visible things...but somehow especially reassuring that He also fashioned the invisible things.  And He made them for Himself.
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It is reassuring to remember that we are among "all things" that were created by, through and for Jesus!
-
Rob Smith


Monday, June 19, 2017

Fw: a different attitude




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2017 7:27 AM
Subject: a different attitude

It's interesting to consider how our attitudes are formed.  What are the forces that shape our hopes, our fears, our dreams, our ambitions?  It seems that there are sources within us and from without as well that shape our attitudes.  Jesus teaches on attitudes that are associated with people who are looking to God as the source in Matthew, chapter 5.  Here is one attitude: (verse 5)
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 "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
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What a short statement...only 10 words.  But what a contrast to the attitudes that the world presses on us and that can boil up from our own desires.  Our ambition often is more like: "Successful are the powerful, for they shall conquer the earth"...or "Happy are the wealthy, for they shall buy the earth".
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But the meek one is the one who doesn't need to conquer because the great battle has been won already and he is trusting in the victor...the Savior.  And the meek one isn't driven to acquire wealth because he is a child of the Heavenly Father...and his needs are being satisfied.
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"shall inherit the earth"...Rather than striving for things that perish, or do not satisfy, the meek one rests in the Lord.  On the far side of death awaits an inheritance greater than any human ambition can attain.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Fw: comfort in sadness




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Saturday, June 10, 2017 7:31 PM
Subject: comfort in sadness

Matthew 5:"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
-
My daughter's father-in-law was a wonderful man.  Steve was a Midwest pastor for 40 years in several churches.  He just retired over the past few years and moved to be near family with his wonderful wife Carol.  Then he was diagnosed with leukemia and hardly more than 6 months later he has moved on to Heaven.  Tomorrow he will be remembered in a special service.  There is grief and there is mourning in this family, without doubt.
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The second beatitude throws two apparently contradictory words next to each other...two emotions that do not appear able to coexist: "Blessed are those who mourn".  How can it be that anyone who mourns could also be blessed?  Blessed, is positive...clearly...and seems to mean that from God's point of view there is something that connects the one who mourns with the One who comforts.  It doesn't mean that the suffering and loss are removed but that there is One in Heaven who both understands and is sad with those who mourn.
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Consider Jesus' attitude when he was with Martha and Mary just after their brother Lazarus had died:  
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John 11:33  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
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When we mourn there is nothing of self left and only God can truly comfort at that time.  From God's point of view His expression and His desire is compassion and comfort.  From the standpoint of the one in grief there is nothing that can be done but receive the most personal of gifts, the personal touch of our Heavenly Father, who is also acquainted with the loss of an only child.  There are tears in Heaven.
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Blessed are those who mourn the loss of Steve.  We trust that each one will feel the comfort of the Heavenly Father.
-
with love for Steve, Carol and family
Rob Smith


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fw: Blessed are the poor




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 7:14 AM
Subject: Blessed are the poor

Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
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One way of knowing what country you are in is to look at the currency of that place.  There generally is a picture of one of the sovereign rulers stamped or printed on the paper or metal money.  To be poor in that country is to have very little of that money...in fact to be poor means not having enough to meet your needs.
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If your country is the country of the "spirit" that means the most important place you consider home is not a geographical location at all because there is no currency or coin that can buy things of the spirit or meet the needs of the spirit.  The spirit is the inner, eternal part of every person that starts life here but eventually transitions to the spiritual realm for eternity.  The one who makes this realm their place of residence has planted their flag in that place that exists outside the reach of a GPS system and beyond the measure of any clock or calendar.
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And the one who makes this realm their home and realizes they are poor...that is they don't have what is needed on their own to live in a forever place...have made Heaven their kingdom.  And when Heaven is your kingdom to dwell within, then God is your King and you are ready to receive the mercy and grace He would provide to satisfy your poverty.
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And so you are and shall be Blessed!
-
Rob Smith


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fw: sky and earth meet




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 7:22 AM
Subject: sky and earth meet

There is a place where sky meets earth,
We call it the horizon;
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Appearing as a distant line where heaven
meets the planet.
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But sky meets earth within our frames,
Our Maker came to walk our ways.
He came down and does today!
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For Heaven would be joined with man...
(after all that was the Plan...)
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And reunite us by His hand.
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Can you see the distant line, where
sky meets earth?...now bring it near!
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And as the source of Heaven's love
comes down, comes close and comes within,
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Let sky meet earth within your heart!

 (a song of the Savior)
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Ephesians 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Fw: weathered tree




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 1, 2017 7:07 AM
Subject: weathered tree

Oh weathered tree, you are like me;
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Your twisted trunk has worn the years
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and seasons past-yet you still last,
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With roots that show your anchor's fast.
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Connecting to your life supply-
fed from the ground and from the sky,
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Your summer leaf's the flag you fly.
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You show the wear but also stand
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to bear the mark...the Master's hand.
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Psalm 52:8
But I am like a green olive tree
    in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
    forever and ever.
-
blessings to all the weathered trees!
Rob Smith


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Fw: the shepherd and the sheep




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 7:26 AM
Subject: the shepherd and the sheep

Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
According to Phillip Keller, who wrote "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23", sheep are very reluctant to lie down.  He said that four requirements must be met before they will lie down:1) They are very timid and must be free of all fear first.2) They must not feel intimidated by sheep around them.3) They must be free of torment from flies or parasites.4) They will not lie down unless totally free of hunger.-I spotted sheep in Colonial Williamsburg Friday evening.  They were all 'standing up' and busy eating the grass at their feet.  Some of the sheep, like the one pictured, were sorely in need of shearing.  They were the picture of harmlessness, and I suppose, vulnerability.  As we consider how "The Lord is our shepherd" we realize that we, also, are vulnerable.  And like the sheep that Phillip Keller described we cannot find complete contentment unless we are free from fear, intimidation, torment or hunger.  In both a natural, survival, sense and a spiritual...heart-peace sense we need a Shepherd's assistance.  Keller discussed how, as a shepherd, his very presence would bring calm, settle disputes and reassure the sheep of protection and provision.-Ezekiel repeats the picture of God as our shepherd in chapter 34.  Here is a passage that restates the thoughts we've just discussed:-Ezekiel 34:15 "I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice."-May the Lord be your shepherd and may you find peace and comfort to also lie down,Rob Smith


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Fw: a gift received; not an argument won




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 7:25 AM
Subject: a gift received; not an argument won

Colossians 2:2 " that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments."
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"Plausible arguments" are arguments that appear to be true...may be convincing...but are not necessarily true and may be deceptive.  It occurs that Christ is not an argument won but a Savior received...a gift unwrapped within individual hearts.
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Paul goes on to say: "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving."
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Men may be convinced that they have it all figured out in their own minds and need no other input (or want no other input).  This is where philosophy reaches its limit.
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Consider Paul's next words: "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority."
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When we receive Christ we are filled with the one who transcends man's thoughts and arguments and we are transformed.  One final quote from Colossians 2: "19 ...holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God."
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True life becomes possible when we have received the One who is the author of life.  He is a gift that answers arguments with truth, wrapped in mystery.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Friday, May 26, 2017

Fw: thrown a curve




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2017 7:31 AM
Subject: thrown a curve

The straight line of my life turned a corner the day I was thrown a curve.
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Where did this creature come from...who walked into my life?
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Why did I sense that what I missed I'd find with her beside?
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In my way life seemed straight and moving on a line...
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But the curves moved past, my heart just flipped...
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my path was re-defined!
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I'd been to school with only guys and worked aboard a ship.
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Men were all I'd hung around and tasks were linear...binary...
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Everything about this girl was circular and scary!
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From the softness of her skin to the music of her voice to the way her walk was dancing...
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But especially those curves!  Her everything en-trancing...
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My life was moving down the line, in arithmetic sequence,
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Until the curve came cross my path and turned me round (thank goodness!)
-
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Genesis 2: 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
"This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man."
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To Shirley...the curve that straightened me out!
Rob


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Fw: the good competition




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 7:30 AM
Subject: the good competition

Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
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We were built to love each other.  The twelfth chapter of Romans discusses the design God used to give each of us different gifts so that we could give them to others...spiritual gifts and gifts of service.  When we get outside of ourselves and help others we are putting His design into motion.  Paul exhorts the reader to "not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord" and puts that command inside lots of direction about helping others.  Here are some of the ways he lists to help  others:
"Contribute to the needs of the saints"
"seek to show hospitality"
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them"
"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep"
"Live in harmony with one another"
"Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly"
"Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all"
"so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all"
"never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God"
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head"
"Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good"
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The Lord has loved us with an unusual love that goes out of its way and calls us to the same.  This is the competition worth giving ourselves to.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fw: Plans fulfilled




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 7:39 AM
Subject: Plans fulfilled

Jeremiah 33:14 "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: 'The Lord is our righteousness.'
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Jeremiah was known as the "weeping prophet".  He prophesied over a period of fifty years and five kings in Judah.  It was a time when Israel was far from the Lord and they had given their hearts to worshiping false gods.  The Lord answered by conquering them and taking them into captivity.  But through Jeremiah He also gave the promise quoted above, that a "righteous Branch" from the house of David would eventually come to "execute justice and righteousness".  A commentary I read said that this is referring to the second coming of Jesus, when He will rule as conquering king.  When Jeremiah prophesied he wasn't believed widely.  In fact people got tired of his words, which often predicted judgement and the coming conquest of the Babylonians.  At one point he was even thrown down a deep pit...but survived.  Jeremiah lived about 600 years before Christ.  His words are still being fulfilled.
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There are some today who scoff at the reality of God and who demean those who tell of His coming and of His coming again.  But, like Jeremiah, the plan of God is not dependent on the opinion of scoffers.  And many who weep today will rejoice in the many tomorrows of eternity.
-
blessings,
Rob Smith


Monday, May 22, 2017

Fw: peaceful morning




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2017 7:20 AM
Subject: Fw: peaceful morning




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2017 7:20 AM
Subject: peaceful morning


Peaceful morning greets first light,
We have come through sleep and night.
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Knowing not what lies ahead...
Shall we cope with fear and dread?
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Or deny our deep concerns?
Run from trouble?...Take blind turns?
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But peaceful morning reminds us true,
God in Heaven yet sees you too!
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The light that breaks on nature's rest
proves He's here to bring His best.
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And as He watched you while you slept,
Even so He'll guide your steps!
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Peace will come despite the storms.
They rage outside His sheltering arms.
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Peaceful morning will become,
His new day...
Eternal sun.
-
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Psalm 90:14
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.




Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fw: empty or risen




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Saturday, May 20, 2017 8:06 AM
Subject: empty or risen

The tomb was empty.  [Jesus' tomb, that is.]  That much is accepted by all.  When Mary Magdalene went to visit the tomb early in the morning the stone had been rolled away and she saw that Jesus' body was gone.  Clearly the tomb was empty.  But she thought the body had been taken away by someone.  She ran and told Peter and John about this and they ran to the tomb and found the linen cloths that had wrapped around his body and head folded neatly.  John believed at that point that Jesus had raised from the dead but Mary was still troubled that the body had been moved by others and as she sat weeping angels tried to address the situation.  They sat in the tomb at the place where Jesus' head and feet had been and asked Mary why she was weeping.  Despite the fact that she was talking with angels she had not grasped the reality of the resurrection.  So then Jesus, himself, appeared and also asked Mary why she was weeping.  But, at first, Mary thought this was a gardener working around the tombs.  She asked the "gardener" to tell her if he'd moved the body and then Jesus called her by name and Mary recognized Jesus.
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Mary had to move from "empty" to "risen" in her concept of the tomb.  When that took place her life moved also from empty to risen.
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In a sense our lives are empty until we grasp that One has risen from the dead to fill us with life...eternal life.  When we realize, on a personal level...one at a time...that Jesus was resurrected from death and that He who had been buried was now alive...then we also leave a "tomb" of an incomplete life and are also raised to eternal life.
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It all turns on our view of the tomb.  Was it only "empty" or was He "risen"?
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John 20:
16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to Him,[a] "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"
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Believe and be risen...let the empty tomb become the place of resurrection for you as well!
Rob Smith


Monday, May 15, 2017

Fw: overflow




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2017 7:21 AM
Subject: overflow

Recent heavy and sustained rains caused the local pond to overflow the spillway.  The excess water rushed out to feed the creek that leads to the York River and find its way to the Chesapeake Bay.  The overflow was powerful and loud and you realized that water can be transformed from the calm of a pond's surface to the appearance of a herd of wild mustangs when channeled to a narrow passage. 
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We experience the overflow of the Spirit of the living God as we walk with Him.  He rains into our lives and causes the overflow that can impact people, cultures and the world beyond.  He can bring peace, like the surface of the pond, and also channel great energy to those who thirst for life from above.
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Habakkuk 3:10
The mountains saw You and trembled;
The overflowing of the water passed by.
The deep uttered its voice,
And lifted its hands on high.
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blessings,
Rob Smith