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


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Fw: The great 'turn around'




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2017 7:30 AM
Subject: The great 'turn around'

Today we celebrate Easter, the resurrection of Jesus from death to life.  This was an historical event witnessed by Roman soldiers and confirmed by followers of Jesus who went to the tomb.  After His resurrection, Jesus was seen by about 500 people before He ascended weeks later back to Heaven.  But what does it all mean?  It had appeared that Jesus had been defeated by death.  He'd been betrayed by one of his disciples, captured, beaten and convicted falsely of blasphemy.  The worst that could happen and the worst that could be done to Him took place.  But Jesus didn't just triumph over death by raising back to life.  He didn't just prove his accusers and torturers wrong. 
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He completed the work His father had given Him by intentionally going through the whole experience.
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Jesus actually had to die...the one perfect sacrifice...so that payment could be made for my sin.  I actually deserve the punishment Jesus absorbed on the Cross.  My composition has a flaw, a flaw that I share with every other human being.  That flaw is my personal rebellion against the God who made me.  Since Adam each of us thinks we are the center and that we know better and life really is all about, or centered around, our individual lives...and we feel no need for God.  But that kind of life doesn't end well (it doesn't even 'live' well really). 
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So Jesus' apparent defeat was actually God's plan for our victory.  And the defeats we experience in life are all reversed, even transformed, to victory as well when we say to God: "What you have done through Jesus...you have done for me."
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And Jesus' resurrection pictures our resurrection from death to life as we realize that 'evil' is 'live' with the letters reversed...just as the direction of our lives can be reversed by opening our eyes and our hearts to what God has done.
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Romans 6:We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
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blessings (with thanks for 40 years of marriage to my sweetheart today!)
Rob Smith


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Fw: absolute peace




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <toanosmith@yahoo.com>
To: Rob Smith <rsmith@mycwa.com>
Sent: Saturday, April 15, 2017 8:23 AM
Subject: absolute peace

We've been considering the problem of "troubled hearts" this week and what Jesus had to say about finding answers for them.  John chapter 14 has been our reference as Jesus taught his disciples the night he left them to face the Cross.  He offered the following antidotes to troubled hearts:
1) the hope of Heaven and of Jesus' return to take us there.
2) the focus on Jesus, alone, as our path to life and truth.
3) the need to move from fear to faith...belief in Him with the full weight of our trust.
4) the promise that if we keep His words in our heart and in our actions He will replace anxiety with purpose.
5) the amazing truth that Father, Son and Holy Spirit will save, help and reside within us as we obey.
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And the result of this amazing covenant we have is peace.  Peace...the opposite of a troubled heart...Peace the world cannot know or understand that takes away every worry...every fear...every uncertainty.  There is peace that is more than the absence of trouble.  There is peace that is the presence of God even within individual human hearts.
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John 14: 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 
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blessings as we all prepare to celebrate the Risen one on Easter morning...who has also risen in the hearts of people who have believed in Him,
Rob Smith