Thursday, July 31, 2008

one rock

I remember the excitement I felt as we approached the Rock of Gibraltar.  I was on a Navy cruise in the Mediterranean.  I was sure the view would be familiar because I'd seen the Rock of Gibraltar many times in ads by a familiar insurance company.  Oddly, as we passed the mighty point, it didn't look anything like the familiar picture.  It was very impressive...just different.  I was surprised.  There is only one Rock of Gibraltar, but depending on your view, it can have many varied appearances.  This morning I was struck by the scripture from Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
I'm sure that the individual who captured Gibraltar's image was looking from a perspective that I didn't happen to share.  I was travelling a different course as I gazed upward.  Nonetheless, there is only one Rock of Gibraltar.  Similarly, there is only one Heavenly Father and one Holy Spirit and one way to know Him, through awakened faith in Jesus' work on a different rocky hill.   Once we've come to know Him, our different perspectives are meant to encourage and complete our picture rather than to divide and confuse us.  Just as I let my preconception of the Rock of Gibraltar affect my experience, we can also allow preconceptions of the Lord to override His actual appearance.  Rather, we can benefit as we compare our individual "views" of the only true God, as we travel our unique paths.
Rob Smith

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


"Absolutely!"  That was one of the words one of my favorite movie personalities, Rocky, used.  Most of his vocabulary didn't go past two syllables, but when he wanted to underline something he would say, "Absolutely!".  There is a lot of joy and peace in the absolute.  Having just bought a fairly sporty car I have realized that I can look at the qualities of the car relatively or absolutely.  From a relative standpoint, there are plenty of cars that are more impressive and that want to go faster than I do.  If I took my enjoyment from the relative, I'd find plenty of reasons to get disappointed.  I would constantly compare what I have to what others have.  From an absolute standpoint, without focusing on comparison, there is plenty of enjoyment and satisfaction in what I have.  It handles great, allows me to see more of the sky with the top down and is fast enough for any reasonable thrill.  I think we miss out when we live "relatively".  When we live in the absolute, we see how our needs are met, in particular.  We have an absolute relationship with our Lord.  He absolutely faithful, absolutely present and absolutely in charge.  If I want to focus on the relative, I'll focus on the fact that I'm a relative (a child) of Him!


Psalm 62:-8 My help and glory are in God
      —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God—
   So trust him absolutely, people;
      lay your lives on the line for him.
      God is a safe place to be.



Rob Smith

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

waking with wonder

When was the last time you awakened with a sense of wonder?  When did you last have an excitement about the possibility of seeing, experiencing and learning something fresh and new?  That's how I felt this morning, as I drove country roads past alert brigades of corn and through windy wooded paths.  The newborn day seemed to show an equal blend of cloud and sleepy sun, as if it were still deciding what it would wear.  I gazed on my friend, the great blue heron as he preened his downy feathers and blended almost perfectly with the dead log he perched upon.  I paused by the reservoir in Toano and read a passage from Acts (Chapter 1 verse 11) where two angels spoke to the disciples after Jesus ascension: "who also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." 


I think it is good to carry a sense of wonder, for one day as we look to the heavens our wonderful Jesus will appear again in them!



Rob Smith

Monday, July 28, 2008

the difference maker

1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.


2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."


We'd like to think we're making a difference...a difference in our neighborhood, on the job, with our families.  We'd like to think that our personal goals and ambitions will achieve the ultimate satisfactions that our hopes desire.  The scriptures I read this morning (above) reminded me that there is another "difference maker" and His plan for my life is the important one.  He knows that when we don't react to hatred or mistreatment as the world expects us to, we begin to show the world that it is possible to rely on another source of strength than ourselves.  We begin to point toward our Heavenly Father.  This Difference Maker doesn't always answer our prayers the way we want, or eliminate every thorn in our flesh.  I began to see that life isn't all about our personal success or satisfaction, it's about pointing to the Lord and giving Him the opportunity to "show up" in our lives.  Our weaknesses are a showcase for Him and his strength.  The world doesn't need to discover "me" it needs to discover "Him".



Rob Smith

Sunday, July 27, 2008

another trinity

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;


I was reading the passages above this morning and it occurred to me that there is another trinity (spiritual grouping of three) that has great personal significance.  God, the Father, has not been seen directly by any man.  He is the marvelous invisible One who rules over all.  He chose to reveal himself through His Son.  Jesus is the direct image of God.  In Jesus we have the best picture possible of who the Father is and what He is like.  And then, wonder of wonders, we are given the privilege of being conformed to the image of Christ.  As a result, in Christ, we are being fashioned into the image of the Father.  Father, Son and Believers...another wonderful trinity.


blessings to all being shaped into a new image!

Rob Smith

Saturday, July 26, 2008

mingling with the turkeys

Yesterday I saw a bald eagle.  Today I drove up on two wild turkeys (male and female).  I think they were wild, but they had very light plumage.  As I approached a favorite spot on a reservoir to read, these two turkeys ran...not away, but toward me!  I turned off the car engine and the male stayed within 5 feet of the car with his eye on me.  The hen ranged just beyond her partner.  As magnificent and noble as the bald eagle was yesterday, the male turkey was ungainly and ugly...all wrinkles and loose flesh around the head.  But there was something touching about the way this "tom" turkey protected his partner (and possibly some young turkeys nearby).  He wasn't about to be intimidated by this large and noisy vehicle that had invaded his territory.  If I was going to harm his family, I'd have to go through him.  Loyalty is a quality that can help us (with the turkeys) to display courage and pay any price to protect and defend that which we hold dear.  We are loyal to ourselves, our families, our country...and we need to be loyal to our Lord.  He spared Himself no pain and allowed nothing to deter Him from rescuing us from sin.  He gave us new life and liberated us from the short term satisfactions of this temporal life.  Loyalty to Jesus, at times, calls for a defense of His territory.  We must not deny Him or allow His new creation within to be invaded by attitudes and actions that would darken or diminish His work in us.  We may be turkeys, at times, but we need to be loyal ones; loyal to the One who has set us free forever!


1 Kings 8:60-61 "that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be loyal to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day."



Rob Smith

Friday, July 25, 2008

I saw an eagle

I was reading my daily devotional down by the pond this morning, comtemplating a thought for the day when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw motion in the sky.  I looked up and spied a bald eagle swoop down about 100 yards in front of me and brush the water with his talons to fish for his breakfast.  His head and tail feathers were bright white and his body pitch black.  It was the first time I've seen a bald eagle in the wild and so whatever I was going to write for today's thought has been replaced with this observation.  To see an eagle in its habitat is to behold a wonder of God!


Proverbs 30:18-19 There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; The way of a serpent upon a rock; The way of a ship in the midst of the sea; And the way of a man with a maiden.



Rob Smith

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Circumstantial Evidence

You have probably watched as many courtroom dramas as I have on TV and the movies.  So often the outcome of the story turns on the verdict of a jury.  The decision of the jury hinges on the evidence and presentation by counsel and prosecution.  This morning, as I looked over a pond near my home, I felt the strong circumstantial evidence that God is real!  As a few drops of last nights shower fell from the tree leaves onto my head and a blue sky heralded a new day, I heard an owl hooting overhead (though I couldn't see him).  A lovely mist wafted over the pond's surface due to temperature differences between air and water.  I was surrounded by things made but not by human hands: pine trees, various kinds of birds, squirrels and rabbits.  I was overwhelmed with the truth that God is not hard to find:  He's obvious!  We are the ones who are hard to find.  We are the ones in denial.  We are the ones who have determined to live apart from Him, not He from us.  The verdict is in...yes we're guilty...but the verdict also is that He is real, He is present, and He has paid the price for our guilt.  (He is the judge, the jury, the law, the sentence, and He took our punishment too!)


Proverbs 3:19-20 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
      By understanding He established the heavens; 
       By His knowledge the depths were broken up,
      And clouds drop down the dew.



Rob Smith

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Mark 13:32-33 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is."


A few weeks ago I bid for a car on EBAY.  Surprisingly, my bid was accepted.  After sending the money and communicating with the dealership, far away in Texas, I began to wait eagerly for the car.  This was my "dream car"...a small open air roadster that would finally give me an alternative to the minivan.  Then I received a call that the car had been picked up by the delivery truck and sometime in the following week it should arrive.  I asked how I'd know when the car would show up and I was told that I'd get a call when the driver was in the vicinity.  I was partially nervous and partially excited as each day passed and when the call finally came that the driver was in Roanoke and on the felt like it was the night before Christmas and I was 8 years old again. 

I think the Lord wants us to wait expectantly for Jesus' return in much the same way.  That's why He doesn't tell anyone, not even the angels or His Son, when that will be.  We are all to share in the anticipation and excitement of the completion of His Kingdom.  In a sense, we are all equally close to Jesus' return because no one knows when it might happen.  We are to live as if He will break into our lives...we are to live in an anticipation of His return.  With that mindset, we are more likely to live thinking about Him and living in a way that pleases Him.

He might come back today!



Rob Smith

Monday, July 21, 2008

face the pain

Saturday I drove past a fitness center in Virginia Beach.  The name of the establishment was: "Face the Pain;  private gym experience".  This dramatic title was posted on a typical sign over the door of a strip mall location, facing Virginia Beach Boulevard.  I'm sure thousands of motorists see this every day.  I thought about the tough reality anyone faces who wants to get into shape and maintain that condition.  It's especially difficult to "face the pain" when you've been away from exercise for a while.  There's the pain of anticipating the pain that inevitably accompanies a strenuous workout and then there's the pain that follows the exercise and then there's the pain of deciding whether to go back again to add to the pain.  I suppose the only way the whole thing can work is through a high level of motivation.  We get motivated to face the pain when we're tired of lugging extra pounds and we reach a point of desperation that leads to action.  It seems there is a direct parallel in our inner lives, as well.  We can ignore the Lord for a while and try to walk on our our strength...defining our own direction, but invariably we will be disappointed.  At some point, hopefully, we "bottom out" and choose to "face the pain" and come into the best "private gym experience" by inviting Jesus into our day.  Then we'll finally have the kind of workout that will lead to things finally working out.
1 Timothy 4:6 (message version) Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart.
Rob Smi

Sunday, July 20, 2008

established in 1909

I saw those words on a truck this past week: "Roper Building Supply, established in 1909".  I was reminded that longevity in a business is supposed to communicate stability, dependability and capability in the marketplace.  1909 is almost 100 years ago.  It is pretty impressive that any business could flourish for that length of time, considering all the business cycles we've experienced.  But when it comes to "stability, dependability and capability", you'd be hard-pressed to pick a better relationship than Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth.  If He were to be seen driving a truck these days, it might say "Jesus, carpenter and human reconstruction, since before time began".
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
Rob Smith

Friday, July 18, 2008

worthy of trust

Uncertainty is part of our daily lives.  We don't really know, from moment to moment, what will happen in our lives.  Compounding uncertainty are the problems of living: sickness, bills, broken water heaters and broken down cars.  To function with peace we need a way to cope with uncertainty and problems.  We have found the Lord to be faithful as the one who sees over the horizon and as the one who can provide the means to address every problem.  But we also need people in our lives that we can trust.  We need professionals, doctors, mechanics, friends, spouses, ministers and many others that we can trust.  It occurred to me yesterday that trust between people is a hard earned and highly valued quality.  Trust says that there is confidence that you will do what is best for me, even in preference to what might be easiest or best for you.  Trust says that there is confidence that you will carry out the actions that I am not able to..that you will actually do what you say.  Trust says that I will allow you to help me with some of the uncertainty and some of the problems that I face.  We need to have people we can trust in our lives.  We need to develop and maintain trustworthiness, that others might be able to count on us.  It is among our greatest privileges and honors.
Proverbs 20::6 Most men will proclaim each his own goodness,  But who can find a faithful man?
Rob Smith

Thursday, July 17, 2008

fabric of relationship

Just as threads woven together form fabric useful for clothing, so prayers exchanged with Heaven make a fabric of relationship with the Lord.  I was struck during a devotional time this week with Philippians 4:6,7  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  As I thought about the passage it occurred that anxiety should lead to prayer, which encourages a thankful attitude as we lay our needs before God.  Interestingly, this passage doesn't address how the prayers are answered.  Instead it expresses how the result of prayer is God's amazing peace and presence providing protection and security through the active work of Jesus in our lives.  It seems that the difficulties of daily living should thrust us before the Lord to allow Him the opportunity to show us His love.  He takes our difficulties and gives us the delight of Himself.



Rob Smith

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

wakeup call

This morning I awoke easily after a good night of sleep.  I wondered, "What caused me to wakeup at that particular moment?"  Obviously our body has a natural need to sleep and a need to awake...but what specifically triggers the dramatic change from sleep, where we are out of touch with our world, to wakefulness?  A little online research suggests that our bodies respond to light. There is a part of the brain called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), a group of cells in the hypothalamus that respond to light and dark signals. From the optic nerve of the eye, light travels to the SCN, signaling the internal clock that it is time to be awake. The SCN signals to other parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or awake.* (from  I have also wondered what specifically triggers one to become alive in Jesus.  What specifically triggers the dramatic change from sleep, where we are out of touch with our Lord, to wakefulness in Him. 


Once again I think the answer lies in our reaction to light...the light of Heaven!


John 8:12 Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in."  



Rob Smith

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

focusing on mileage

These days we're all a lot more conscious of the mileage that our cars provide per gallon of gas.  We're seeing dollar amounts on the gas pumps that are eye-popping as we fill up our tanks and it causes us to think about the necessity of each trip in the car.  Hopefully, gas prices will retreat a bit from these "high tide" levels but, I suppose, high fuel costs are pretty much inevitable.  Last night I purchased gasoline and a gallon of milk.  I noticed that a gallon of milk costs about the same amount as a gallon of gas.  Cars run on gas and I run on milk.  I don't know how to measure the miles per gallon that I provide on the milk I drink.  I do know that the price of milk has also drastically increased over the past year or so.  It made me think about the kind of mileage I'm providing the Lord on the fuel I'm consuming.  I wonder if He's getting the kind of mileage He's looking for per gallon of milk.  As we fill up each morning with our food I wonder if He shakes His head about our lack of efficiency.  We can't do much about the price of gas, or of milk, but we can use our cars and our time wisely.  We can keep our engines in tune and we can consider how much mileage the Lord is getting for each gallon of milk He puts in our tanks!


Philippians 2:13 (Message version) Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God's energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.



Rob Smith

Monday, July 14, 2008


There should be a bumper sticker: "Weeds happen".  It doesn't matter that we've pulled all the weeds out of our garden.  Within several days more have been recruited from an endless supply of willing volunteers to take their place.  I think some kind of mischievous elf comes during the night and plants weed seeds.  Of course, if we didn't stay after them, they'd be more than happy to makeover our garden in their image.  It takes tending to maintain the attractiveness and order we want.  This morning I was struck with the similarity to tending our hearts.  Sometimes we have to do the hard work of pulling out "weed thoughts" and attitudes by the roots so that healthy thoughts can flourish.  It occurs that, if we take time to deal with the weeds, we also will be more likely to water the flowers...after all, we're already out there working in the garden...


Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.



Rob Smith

Sunday, July 13, 2008

identify theft

In this age of easy access to information, it has become too simple for unscrupulous individuals to determine confidential information about you.  Just this past week, the IRS published a notice that scams are being run surrounding tax rebates and economic stimulus checks.  About 700 reported instances of identity theft were reported in May and June in connection with this problem.  It occurred to me that, regardless of how advanced technology becomes, and despite the pervasive issue of human corruption, our identity in Christ cannot be stolen.  It is at the same time the most personal of our identifying features and the most public.  Should someone attempt to steal our identity in Christ, I think we'd offer to share it.  Should someone attempt to erase our identity in Christ, our Lord will protect it and there is no way to "hack into" His divine security system.
John 10:27-30 "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
Rob Smith

Saturday, July 12, 2008

give and take

It occurred to me the other day that there is a very important distinction in the "life view" of those without Christ and those who have come to trust Him. 


In the world, folks start with the presumption that they don't have enough (possessions, self-worth, accomplishment, control) and spend most of their energy trying to accumulate more.


in Christ we start with the understanding that we have everything that matters and we can spend the rest of our lives giving it away. 


We have come to see that, as children of the eternal King, we have unending life, our true needs are met, our purpose is His purpose and all control is His.  All that is truly worth accomplishing has been done and it is ours to share that with the world.


Just a thought for this sunny Saturday.


Exodus 9:16 But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.



Rob Smith

Friday, July 11, 2008

farmer's market

This past weekend, as we were visiting friends in Charlotte, we went to a large farmer's market.  There were several long buildings with concrete floors, simple roofs and pickup trucks backed up to booths.  Each building had 40-50 places for farmers to display their produce.  We marvelled at the bounty and the amazing diversity of foods.  They were mostly fruits and vegetables that had just been picked or plucked and we spotted berries, beans, basil...corn, peppers, flower bouquets, tomatoes and all manner of fresh items.  I couldn't help but think of God's wonderful provision for His people.  He could have chosen to just give us manna, like the Hebrews of the desert, but He seems to delight in variety.  The abundance reminded me of God's desire for us to experience a full and abundant life.  I think these are two great characteristics of our Father (and His Son): they deal in amazing creativity and variety and their heart for us is abundant living.  (And, perhaps, as the Father looks at us He sees His own farmer's market of people...a crop varied in nature and purpose).
Job 36:31 For by these He judges the peoples;
      He gives food in abundance.
Isaiah 55: "Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
      Come to the waters;
      And you who have no money,
      Come, buy and eat.
      Yes, come, buy wine and milk
      Without money and without price. 
John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Rob Smith

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I've started reading the biography of Albert Einstein.  He practiced a form of mental "picturing" that helped him understand natural phenomena.  He would imagine a man running at the speed of light or a person in an elevator accelerating through space.  He cherished freedom of thought.  With his great conceptual mind, universal truths about space and time began to emerge as he exercised mental imagery.  The point was made that every good idea comes through an individual brain.  Many can benefit from the idea that has come through the one.  Breakthroughs in medicine, science, and human behavior have come through individuals and millions of lives are touched.  This morning I am reflecting on the importance of keeping our individual minds free and receptive to the Lord.  I suspect he has many thoughts He longs to share with us.  One definition of "idea" is "vision".  The Lord may be looking for a receiver for an idea that will help others and you may be the one He wants to introduce that idea through.  Are you walking with a mind open to an idea from Heaven?


Galatians 1:11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.



Rob Smith

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

buy low, sell high

These are the basic, familiar terms associated with successful investing...but this morning I thought of an application to people.  Michael Vick is the former all pro football quarterback who is serving out a 23 month prison sentence for sponsoring dog fighting.  He lost his multimillion dollar career, his reputation and his fortune.  The world has turned its back on him.  If he were a stock, you might say he had fallen to a very low value.  The Lord might say, "Ah, now I have him at a good price to buy".  Low points are often where we see how we can't make it on our own and we need help.  Michael was quoted at a recent bankruptcy filing: The suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback hopes he "can, after the conclusion of the bankruptcy case, rebuild his life on a personal and spiritual level, resurrect his image as a public figure, and resolve matters with the NFL such that he can resume his career," according to the filings.  It can be difficult to buy a stock that has been beaten down, even if it has great potential to rise...but this is just what savvy investors do.  It can be tempting to give up on people who have lost everything, but these are just the ones who are primed for the new life in Christ!


Psalm 116:6 The LORD preserves the simple;
         I was brought low, and He saved me.



Rob Smith

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


The iPOD music boxes have transformed compact and portable entertainment systems.  They were originally developed in less than one year by Apple Computer and have been extremely popular.  About half of Apple's revenue comes from iPOD sales and there are well over 100 million that have been sold.  I have noticed that a high percentage of folks you see walking and jogging are also wearing iPOD's.  I'm sure the portable music is meant to distract from the pain and physical demand of exercise.  But I was struck this morning that we have the music of heaven playing all the time and wearing an iPOD might block us from hearing it.  As great as the music storage is within an iPOD, it can't compare with the capacity or download speed of heaven.  There's no hard drive to crash or battery to recharge or replace.  When you put on your GPOD (heavenly iPOD) and ask the Lord to play, he uses a multimedia approach.  Heart, mind and spirit can be soothed, lifted and warmed as you are connected to the Lord in a totally wireless format.  Rather than being distracted from your surroundings, you find yourself connected to them by the One who has put it all together.  I'd encourage you to strap on your personal GPOD the next time you head out the door, for exercise or a casual stroll.


Song of Solomon 8:13 You who dwell in the gardens,
      The companions listen for your voice—
      Let me hear it!



Rob Smith

Monday, July 7, 2008

in the nose of the beholder

I was intrigued with the smelling habits of Jake, the dog, today.  He belongs to my niece and I took him for a walk.  He seemed endlessly fascinated with almost every tree and mailbox we passed and with sprigs of grass and patches of dirt that seemed totally uninteresting to me.  Of course I've heard about how keen a dog's sense of smell is.  It turns out that dogs have 25 times the number of olfactory sensors that we have.  They can detect odors at concentrations 100 million times lower than us.  They can detect a drop of blood in over a gallon of water.  When a dog is out for a walk, even a bare sidewalk yields a ton of information about the neighbors, their animals and the ice cream cone a child ate last week.  In a sense they "see" the world through their highly sensitive noses.  Sometimes I think we limit the extent of our knowledge to what our limited senses can perceive.  If we, ourselves, can't see, touch, taste, hear or smell something we may question its reality.  Just as dogs show us that there is more than meets the eye to our surroundings, so we might consider that there is more to life and more to spiritual reality than we can pick up naturally.  Truly we need the Holy Spirit to show us more of the "rest of the picture".


Ephesians 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power



Rob Smith

Sunday, July 6, 2008


As I was walking dogs with my good friend Dean this morning, he was recounting some of the challenges of his job over the past several years.  One incident that caused some stress involved a woman who worked for Dean at a large public utility.  She was apparently troubled and misinterpreted some corrective guidance by Dean as "harassment".   Human Resources was brought in to investigate the allegations.  It was possible to interpret the words Dean used two ways, depending on the context in which they were delivered.  Dean explained his intent to correct work-related behavior.  Fortunately, he had earned a reputation for fairness in supervising his employees that was well known and the woman's false allegations did no harm.  I was struck with the importance of our reputations.  Because he had been fair and reasonable in the routine times, his reputation carried him when under attack.  It made me consider how important our reputations are in the Lord.  Am I walking with Him and properly reflecting Him in the routine of life?  I think we'll carry more credibility for the Lord if that is the case, when times get tough.
Acts 6:3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;
Rob Smith

Saturday, July 5, 2008

living art

I have virtually no artistic ability, but I'm learning to appreciate art and to begin to understand what it's all about.  This weekend we're staying with close friends and catching up on lots of things.  I always knew that our good friends were gifted (he an engineer and she a teacher).  I also knew that Leigh had a degree in fine arts.  Now that their kids are just about raised, Leigh has returned to actually producing beautiful art...not just teaching it.  She showed us several recent paintings and explained how the process she's using is a growing thing.  She is coming up with a unique approach to using acrylics to give the pictures depth and she has a general theme of combining natural beauty with buildings and other manmade backgrounds.  With each picture she continues to play with color, composition, and the use of the acrylic material to discover new ways of expression.  I am beginning to realize that art is a growing thing, just as we are.  The really interesting part, to me, is not the paintings...but the process, the passion and the dynamic growing aspect that lies behind each picture.  Perhaps the Lord is an artist, too.  He doesn't just make us and walk away.  He stays involved and continues to be active in our lives, working with the color and the composition to frame new pictures through us.  Art, like our walk with the Lord, is a growing thing.
Psalm 33:14 From the place of His dwelling He looks
         On all the inhabitants of the earth;
 15 He fashions their hearts individually;
         He considers all their works.
Rob Smith

Thursday, July 3, 2008

inspiration, motivation, perspiration

I had to thank my wife this morning.  Somehow she activated both of us to do a thorough cleaning and reorganizing of our garage last night.  Normally this would be a weekend project.  But we attacked it after dinner and between moving stuff to the basement, throwing stuff out and shifting stuff around, we ended up with a lot more room and a tidier appearance.  This morning I thanked Shirley for providing the three things needed for any job: "inspiration, motivation and perspiration".  She inspired me with thoughts of improved access, motivated me by taking the lead and heading for the garage door first, and shared perspiration with me as we lifted, sifted and shifted stuff.  I think every meaningful task calls for those elements.  We need to visualize the benefits before they are achieved, fire up our energy to take on the task, when it is most daunting at the beginning, and sacrifice time and energy to see the task through to completion.  Inspiration, Motivation, Perspiration...I think these also relate to the challenge we have to come after the Lord and realize all He has for us and all He has through us.


2 Corinthians 8:10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; 11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. 12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.



Rob Smith 

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

change is possible

When I was younger, I despised the idea of putting any kind of gooey stuff in my hair.  I thought it was vain and silly to do anything but cut it short and wash it occasionally.  Several years ago my wife encouraged me to use some hair gel to control the crop growing on top of my head, especially the unruly cowlick in the back.  Grudgingly, I cooperated.  I found that the hair gel worked and made it easier to corral things on top of my skull.  These days I don't hesitate to use the stuff.  In fact I boasted to my wife that I was amazed that I could still change habits at this advanced age.  I guess old dogs really can learn new tricks!


Revelation 21:5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."  



Rob Smith

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Life in the balance

On the way to work Friday I experienced a traffic jam on the interstate.  This is not unusual, especially on a Friday in the summer.  I-64 is like a coronary artery for vacationers headed to the beach and that traffic competes with others, like me, who also use the road to commute.  Sometimes you never find out what specifically caused the back-up...the traffic mysteriously seems to slow down and then get past a certain point and recover speed.  But Friday the problem with traffic flow had nothing to do with eager vacationers or less-eager workers.  A large truck, hauling some kind of trailer, had been struck by another vehicle.  The trailer was decimated, with splinters of wood and pieces of various kinds of metal, glass and personal items sprayed across the road.  No police or ambulances had yet arrived but a number of private people had stopped and were doing their best to assist.  Suddenly I spotted the man, who had apparently been the driver.  He was lying, shirtless, on his back in the middle of the right lane.  He was motionless and could have been a fatality.  It was the most sobering auto accident I've ever personally seen.  Later I thought about the uncertainty of life, the dangers of driving and, perhaps most importantly, how 'life hangs in the balance' every day.  A scene like that brought home the reality that each of us has one life, a precious gift.  All the folks around us are equally precious.  Life is highly valuable and surprisingly fragile.  This accident was a sobering reminder that there is a limited window for each of us to find the life that lasts forever.  None of us knows how long we will be here and our departure could be sudden and unexpected.  Each of the folks around us on the highway also have a life that hangs in the balance.
James 4:14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
Rob Smith