Monday, February 28, 2011

Your Kingdom name

When we are born, our parents give us our names.  They may have pulled the name from one used in the family.  They may have found the name in a book of names and made the selection based on its meaning, or the way the name sounded when spoken aloud.  They may have been influenced by how long or short your last name was.  With our three girls, given the surname of Smith that they inherited, we decided to give them first names with at least two syllables.  But this morning, as I walked through a wooded path, I thought about our life we wonder what life is really all about when we are young.  We observed the hustle all around and we picked up on the energy and theme of the people who raised us and lived closest to us.  But we didn't find a satisfying answer to life's purpose until we found the truth of God's love for he wouldn't abandon us to a destiny of wasted dreams and short term satisfactions.  The eyes of our understanding were opened and we began a new life of love with our God.  We found the meaning and purpose for living that transcends our individual lives...the meaning we had longed to know all along.  And from that point on we looked at life differently and found we had been made for His purposes.  Along the way we discovered our Kingdom name...the name God has given us.  I wonder if you have found your Kingdom name yet?  Are you John the tender hearted or Susan the worshipful one?  Are you Patrick the encourager or Linda the soul winner?  I believe we each have a unique place in God's Kingdom...starting right in our local zip code and leading on to Heaven.  We're fashioned by the Master Craftsman for His Work and our satisfaction comes as our actions match up well with the name He always intended we'd carry.

Revelation 2:17 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it."'


Friday, February 25, 2011

tree height

I've noticed that trees tend to grow to similar heights near each other.  But, interestingly, the trees on one side of a road may grow higher than the other side of the road, especially if there is a slope to the grade.  I wondered what determined how high a tree can grow.  The answer is: nobody knows.  There are several theories about nutrition, and plant maturity and the challenges of moving water higher to feed the tree against the pull of gravity.  But who told the trees on one side of the road to grow to one height and on the other side to grow to a different height? (By the way, do you know that there are redwoods in California that are taller than football fields are long?)  I like the fact that we don't have all the answers.  That tells me that the wonders of life happen whether or not we, as people, understand why.  I think that sometimes we think we have more control over the planet than we actually do.  It is great to wonder why things happen and it is great to wonder how things happen...but perhaps it is greatest just to be in wonder "that they happen"!
Psalm 104:16 The trees of the Lord are well cared for—
      the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
Rob Smith

Thursday, February 24, 2011

No claim on tomorrow

It's been a stunningly beautiful morning.  At the pond, herons were flying and squawking.  I heard a wild turkey's gobble in the background.  The mirror of the pond's surface reflected the sleepy face of a yawning new sky.  As I drove back the winding road toward home I spied the golden throne of the dawn as the sky dressed in gilded regalia to show honor to the sun...the rising king of a new day.  And the thought came: "I have no claim on tomorrow".  I do not know if I will live past this day on the surface of earth.  And that is perfectly O.K.  There will come a day, that starts just this way, with wildlife contentedly following their routines of living and with the sun beginning its trip across the sky, that will be the last day.  It could even be today.  That is not is truth.  And it is liberating...I have no claim on tomorrow and so today is where my total focus must be.  There must be purpose in this day.  There must be something to learn today.  There must be something to be done and there must be something to celebrate today.  I have no claim on tomorrow so I must rejoice today just as the sky has rejoiced in the sun's arrival with glorious radiance.  So let us shine today with a brilliance that reflects the Son who has risen in our hearts as the sun has risen in the eastern sky.  We will claim this day for Him!

Proverbs 22:18 For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart
      and always ready on your lips.
               19 I am teaching you today—yes, you—
      so you will trust in the Lord.

blessings this day,
Rob Smith

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

language of the heart

Before we learn to speak we already know the language of the heart.  I am convinced that there is an inner language for the inner person.  This truly is the international language...common to all.  It is the link we all have to life.  Before we have a developed capacity to think we have the capacity to know we are loved.  Even those with diminished faculties of reasoning know the language of the heart.  Our greatest needs are touched through this language.  It is not a language of mind and vocal cord, but of heart and soul.  I think that music reaches this area of our being...the deeper spots.  As I walked in the moonlit darkness of early morning I considered that our greatest need is to speak the language of the heart with the maker of the heart.  We want to know and be known according to this deep and abiding and permanent language.  It is the direct connection between the Lord and our lives.

Job 33:14 For God speaks again and again,
      though people do not recognize it.
         15 He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night,
      when deep sleep falls on people
      as they lie in their beds.

Rob Smith

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shouting the whisper

Matthew 10:27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!

Yesterday we were moved to shout praise to God, as Psalm 100 stated.  This morning we were encouraged to shout from the housetops...messages that have  been whispered to us in the quietness of night by the Lord.  As I stood still beside the pond this morning and felt the freshness of the breeze I also heard the air moving through the pines all about me and it was as if the Lord were whispering to me.  When He whispers I must listen close and when He whispers I know He is speaking to me personally.  But I must not whisper this message to others.  God is real...He can be known...Eternity runs alongside our lives like a river flowing next to the path of our days and soon our path will lead into that holy current.  Won't you yield your heart and the ownership of your life to the Lord...our eternal river guide.  Now is the time to appreciate the river view.  Soon we will travel those waters.
Rob Smith

Monday, February 21, 2011


Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!

This morning was gray and breezy.  I decided to walk a new path through woods not far from home.  It was good to be alone because it reminded me that I never am...alone.  My heart was filled with worship for the One who had made all I could see around.  I sat by a small pond and tried to take a few pictures of the water in the pre-dawn light but the flash was too weak to capture the tranquil beauty of the place.  I looked into the Word and as I read Psalm 100 I was struck by the word "shout" in the first verse.  I decided to to apply scripture and, as I proceeded up the path, I actually shouted as loud as possible.  Then I decided to shout out some prayers and some praise.  It felt good to be alone with Him in the midst of the tall trees, shouting out loud.  Somehow, the sound of my voice made me realize I was really talking to God.  I realized that sometimes you have to be alone to know that you aren't.
shouting out blessings to my friends,
Rob Smith

Saturday, February 19, 2011

nothing between

Morning is such a beautiful time.  By its very nature it means "new beginnings".  There is a freshness about the young day, especially when you are surrounded by nature.  This morning, as the sun was still rubbing his eyes and squinting through the trees, I looked out from the cab of my truck by the edge of my favorite pond.  There was a breeze coursing over the water and ripples stood from the surface like goose bumps.  I wanted to feel the breeze so I left the truck.  Immediately I felt the breeze and, more than the breeze, I was immediately reminded that when we stand exposed to the world we are always in the presence of God.  When I was still in the truck I could see the effect of the breeze, but when I stepped out of the truck there was nothing between me and the wind and I felt the force, the temperature and heard the sound of the wind.  My best times with the Lord are the times when there is nothing between me and Him.  That seems to happen when I walk outside, sense His presence, and begin to talk with Him.  At those times I want to make sure that there is "nothing between" us in our relationship because the sweetness of His presence is like the freshness of the wind on a sunny morning.

Job 9: 33 If only there were a mediator between us,
      someone who could bring us together.

Job 16: 21 I need someone to mediate between God and me,
      as a person mediates between friends.

Job 19:25 "But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
      and he will stand upon the earth at last.

Job 41:16 They are so close together
      that no air can get between them.

Rob Smith

Friday, February 18, 2011

Playing catch

Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

One of the fondest memories I have of growing up is playing catch with my Dad.  We'd both grab our ball gloves and a hardball after dinner and head out to the back yard.  The best part was probably just being with him.  We'd start off slow, with easy tosses, and gradually increase the speed of our throws.  I tried to impress him with my strength and enjoyed when the ball made a loud clap as it trapped the air against the leather of his glove.  Catching and throwing...catching and throwing.  It became an easy rhythm...almost like conversation, without speaking.  You might say that our walk with Christ is something like playing catch.  We receive comfort, love, mercy and fellowship from Him and we throw it back...not directly to Him but to others.  It's almost like being in the backyard with Jesus and learning to throw by watching and catching....and then returning the motion.  I'm confident that He is smiling when we grab our gloves and head out to the yard with Him.
Rob Smith

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The End

"The End"

I don't think that movies still do this...but they used to display "The End" on the screen after the story was over and before the list of credits began to roll.  I thought about the meaning of the three letter word.  Of course the primary definition has to do with the "termination" or final extent of something, whether geographical or activity.  We look forward to the end of the work week.  We are eager for an unhappy baby's cry to end.  We dread the end of summer, as kids, and the start of school.  But "end" has other meanings.  Webster's unabridged dictionary (definition no. 4) says: "an outcome worked toward especially with forethought, deliberate planning, and organized effort: purpose".  So, depending on how you look at it, "end" can represent a finality or "end" can provide meaning to our lives.  All of us wrestle with the "end" of our lives.  We wonder about death and we are so familiar with this life that we can easily fear the end of our lives.  When our heart opens to the truth of Jesus paying the price for our sin, we realize that the end of this life is really a door to the next.  Through His life, our life will not will change.  But knowing this, and being confident of living forever, can provide our lives with a different "end" energized purpose.  We can live with the "end" in mind that others would also be set free from fears of "the end" of life.  Such a life should bring no end of joy to us and to our Heavenly Father.

Psalm 89:27 I will make him my firstborn son,
      the mightiest king on earth.
 28 I will love him and be kind to him forever;
      my covenant with him will never end.
 29 I will preserve an heir for him;
      his throne will be as endless as the days of heaven.
Rob Smith

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"All You Need is Love" (Really...?)

Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

The Beatles had a hit song: "All You Need is Love" (Lennon and McCartney)
There's nothing you can know that isn't known. Nothing you can see that isn't shown. Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be. It's easy. All you need is love, all you need is love,
Perhaps John Lennon and Paul McCartney could have learned something from another Paul, who wrote about 19 centuries earlier.  There is more to love than a warm feeling, or even a kind gesture.  Paul  (the first century one, that is) tells us, above, that love must grow with two important companions if it is to thrive: knowledge and discernment.  We need to grow in maturity and wisdom just as we grow in love.  It seems that when love, knowledge and discernment come together we can have a quality of life that is "sincere and without offense" and that is also filled with "fruits of righteousness".  This, apparently, is the kind of life Jesus will be pleased to find when He comes to us, or we go to Him.
Rob  Smith

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Image Management

Sometimes I think that the worst thing that can happen to someone is the very thing they are striving for.  I was considering what it is like to be a celebrity...political, acting, singing, etc.  These folks become famous by carving out a certain image that is appealing and marketable.  In a sense they have become very much like a product that has been advertised and priced for sale to a particular audience.   But then they must spend money and time and possibly sacrifice their true identity to feed the image that sells.  They also can become victims of fame through a loss of privacy.  So then you have people who are desperately trying to manage the public view of an artificial image without being able to escape (without hiding from the ones who feed the fame).  Somewhere in there they seem to have lost their identity in the process of becoming famous.  Our identity is unique and rather than maintaining an image of ourselves, I think our lives are better spent discovering that identity.  Actually, I don't think we can really find our identity until we find who we are before the Lord who made us.  As we are in Him and He is in us we may find ourselves as we lose ourselves.

Colossians 3: If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at theright hand of God2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Rob Smith

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be mine

Comes the call from Heaven:

"Will you be mine?"

"I would be your love forever."

"I have crossed the skies to rescue you."

"There isn't anything I wouldn't give...anything I wouldn't do...
to show my love for you."

"Even as you have dark and difficult days, I want to be with you now."

"Can you hear my words.  Can you feel my touch in your heart?"

"You are my and forever."

"I long to be with you...truly one and without any separation."

"That time is coming."

"I am preparing your home now."

"Soon you will fly to me and we will be one."

"Do you long for me, as I do for you?"

"Come away, even now, and listen to my love song for you..."

  How beautiful you are, my darling! 
   Oh, how beautiful!
 (from Song of Solomon)

Jesus Valentine for you

love and blessings,
Rob Smith

Saturday, February 12, 2011

the briar patch

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 

When I was young, some of my favorite stories were "Uncle Remus' Tales"..folksy stories about interesting animal characters.  My favorite tale was called the Tar Baby and had to do with Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit.  The fox was constantly in pursuit of the rabbit.  He was wily and quick but his hunger dulled his wits just a bit.  He thought he'd caught Brer Rabbit for sure when he tricked the hare into punching a Tar Baby that he'd made and Brer Rabbit was trapped. All Brer Fox could do was think about how he would serve up the rabbit for a meal now that he' d finally caught him.  But Brer Rabbit kept his poise.  If he could convince Brer Fox to do something that appeared to be a fate worse than death...he could escape!

So Brer Rabbit talked in a mighty humble way.

"I don't care what you do with me, Brer Fox" said Brer Rabbit. "Just don't fling me in that briar patch over there. Roast me, hang me or skin me Brer Fox, but don't fling me in in that briar patch," said Brer Rabbit.

Brer Fox swallowed the bait and flung his exasperating foe into the tangled briar patch, thinking it would be the end of the rabbit.....but it turned out that the briar patch was where Brer Rabbit was most comfortable.

"Born and bred in the briar patch, that's me," laughed Brer Rabbit. "I told you not to throw me there. In all the world, that's the place I love best!"

With a lippity clip, he hopped away.

As lovers of Christ, we were born and bred for eternity and, at the appointed time, death is a doorway to the best looks fearful but we once we are there we'll find that we are home.  This knowledge can free us to give it all we have for our Lord every day...the worst that His enemy can do is throw us in the briar patch.

blessings, with thanks to Mom for those stories and to Uncle Remus (I hope to meet you in the briar patch),

Rob Smith

Friday, February 11, 2011

the "Thank you" ministry

We struggle, at times, with how to share our faith and how to represent the living Lord to the outside world.  We know that we've been called to be a "peculiar people" and to be "set apart" to serve Him.  We know that we are to be "in the world but not of the world".  We know the secret (that really isn't secret) to eternal life by putting the full weight of our trust on the work of Jesus on the Cross and the work of His Father to raise Him and the work of the Spirit to convict our hearts and convince our will to lay self down and take faith up.  But we face headwinds when we step out into the world and we feel pressure to just blend in.  Yesterday it occurred to me that there is one thing that we can do to make a difference.  The world says that whenever we buy, the exchange of money is the requirement for the transaction to be complete.  But these transactions are also strategic opportunities to show a different attitude than most nonbelievers.  The goods and services purchased are nothing, in value, compared to the people involved in the purchase...those who do the work and make the sale...or even receive our money at the cash register.  Every opportunity we have to buy something can be an opportunity to look a total stranger in the eye and, for a moment, show sincere interest.  We can go one step beyond the world when we go one step beyond the exchange of money, or the swiping of a credit/debit card, to acknowledge the person behind the purchase.  So, as an example, after I bought and ate my sub at the local franchised sandwich shop yesterday I decided to walk back to the counter where the folks had made the sandwich and tell them "Thanks, for that great sandwich...I sure appreciate it".  I can't prove it, but I think that something happens in human hearts when even small gestures of sincere gratitude are expressed.  It's actually love on display in a simple way and I think that the Holy Spirit rides on these simple actions to touch hearts and begin to open doors as part of the process that leads to faith.  You might call this the "Thank you" ministry.  (It's not just the sandwich that has value in that sandwich shop!)
Titus 2: 13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Rob Smith

Thursday, February 10, 2011

bare metal

It is bare metal that shines the brightest.  When I was in the Navy we had men working every day to chip rust off decks, railings and all kinds of external metal surfaces.  They would then recoat those surfaces with heavy paints saturated with anticorrosive chemicals.  But, inevitably, those same surfaces would need to be treated again.  Metal and salt water aren't friendly companions.  It reminds me of our lives in the world.  When we are free of sin's impact we shine brightest...but we don't stay free of sin's impact.  The corrosive forces of our fallen world, under the strong influence of Satan, are constantly acting on our surface, looking for weak spots to corrupt and corrode and turn our brightness to rust.  We need to chip away that corrosion by first admitting that it is forming and that it is blocking the sun from reflecting off the bare metal God wants to see.  We then need to do the hard work of chipping, grinding and polishing to bring back the original shine, or to return to bare metal.  We need fresh coats of God's Word and of time in prayer, worship and fellowship to inhibit the return of rust.  As long as we are in the world we are like ships at sea and we will fight the battle of corrosion.  But there will come a time when we are in the clean air of Heaven and we will be able to set our chipping hammers down...and just shine.
Matthew 6:19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Rob Smith

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

the front porch

It's roof's a summer hat that shields from glare and heat...
It's floor extends a hand to shake those passing on the street...
It's wide steps: an invitation to come away from cares...
It's rocking chairs nod approvingly to those who take a seat...

The screen door's slam is a welcome clap,
So let's enjoy the view,
This porch we find relaxing,
Where doing nothing is the most important thing to do!

[Note: I've been struck by the feeling of welcome that a front porch seems to express.  I hope that our attitudes to all around make them feel as welcome as a front porch]

Acts 28: The people of the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us.
blessings, with a porch-like welcome
Rob Smith

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

cut loose

Freedom and bondage are two of the themes that run through our lives.  Interestingly, the apostle Paul preached freedom while in bondage.  (Ephesians 6: "that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.")  Last night I was watching a concert by Bruce Springsteen on TV.  I had never listened to him for more than one song but his performance was full of passion, conviction and energy.  At one point he almost preached about the way to freedom.  The capacity crowd was completely engaged and participating in every drum driven song.  Springsteen seemed drenched in sweat the entire performance.  His energy and total commitment to the music and the crowd was electric.  A lot of the songs seemed to speak about freedom in our modern world.  But the lasting thought I carried away was that if anyone has the right to really "cut loose" and passionately sing of freedom it is you and it is I, who have been cut loose by the hand of God.  One of the marks of Springsteen's driving songs is his style of completely selling out with all his heart and energy.  I don't know what his personal life philosophy is but I do know that we, who have put our trust in Christ, have been set free to give everything we are and everything we Springsteen-like the pursuit and service of the God who lives!  We have been cut loose so we can cut loose for Him!
Rob Smith

Monday, February 7, 2011

early reflections

The dawn is coming a little earlier as we move through winter and spring is just over the horizon.  It's interesting how the skies begin to brighten well before the sun actually appears.  As I looked out over my favorite pond I saw reflections of the trees along the shoreline in the surface of the water well before sunrise.  Early morning is a good time for reflecting.  My thoughts formed around the reality that we are essentially spiritual beings.  We progress through this life from infancy to adulthood to old age within a physical frame.  It takes quite a while for us to reach physical maturity...something like a quarter of our lives.  But our spiritual maturity is a quest that only begins here.  Much of our frustration in life may come from the false expectation that the physical worldcan provide all we need and fulfill our deepest desires and greatest longings.  But we are deep water and the physical world, with all it has to offer, cannot reach to our depths or raise us to the heights we've been made for.  At some point we have to make peace with a mystery...the mystery of being a spiritual being trapped temporarily in a material world.  Because of this reality we are filled with inner questions and wonders that defy answer or resolution from nature or science.  It's almost as if we are living in a place that is always pre-dawn, with just enough light to see that there is more that will be seen when the sun fully rises.  I suppose the peace that we long for comes when we meet the One who commands the spirit world we have been made to ultimately dwell in.  The restlessness we may experience as spiritual beings housed in a physical frame finally finds peace when we accept the peace offered by our Maker.  The book of Ephesians touches on this spiritual identity and challenge in chapter 6.

Ephesians 6:10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take thesword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.


Rob Smith

Saturday, February 5, 2011

the audience

In a sense we step out onto a stage every day.  Each morning a fresh production unwinds where we are the central character.   Even if we are alone the act goes on.  The script and the plot play out from the attitudes we carry within and that emerge.  Last night Shirley and I saw a very intense movie about a ballerina who was forced to choose whether capturing her lifelong dream of dancing a starring role was worth the price of her life.  As I considered her dilemma I realized that her greatest choice was about the audience she most wanted to perform for.  Was it a controlling mother, a highly ambitious director, other dancers in the company, the paying audience...or would she perform for herself?  Perhaps we can simplify the struggle of our personal lives if we will first consider who our most important audience is.  Who has paid the greatest price of admission to our lives?  Who has fashioned our personality and given us our presence on the stage?  Who will appreciate our performance even when the curtain is down and the stage lights are dimmed?  What if we remembered this audience as we stepped out onto our stage each day?  Perhaps we'd find that as we sought to please Him, we'd receive the most lasting applause from His warm embrace and abiding peace.

Who is your audience today?

Psalm 33:13 The LORD looks from heaven;
         He sees all the sons of men.
 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

Friday, February 4, 2011

I think you know

Who do you think rules past our lives?
Who do you think rules  past the skies?
Who will you see when your eyes finally close?
Who will you face when you leave this place?
I think you know...I think you know...

Why do we hide from the one who knows?
Why do we live for ourselves alone?
Why do buy and build and bother so,
for that which breaks and fades and goes?
I think you know...I think you know...

Why do we pretend this life is all?
Why do we deny death's certain call?
Why do we cling to this fading frame?
Why do we fear the unseen place?

I think you know...I think you know...

Why does He reach out now
When soon we'll meet
Why did He give so much
When we cared the least?
I think you know...I think you know...

How can we meet the one beyond the skies?
How can we know the one beyond our lives?
How can flesh and spirit thrive?
How can we see without our eyes?
I think you know...I pray you'll Know!

Ephesians 5:14for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,

                 "Awake, O sleeper,
                  rise up from the dead,
                  and Christ will give you light."


Rob Smith

Thursday, February 3, 2011

60 seconds in Heaven

Ephesians 4:18b Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Last night, in our small group, we were discussing the importance of listening to God and of having time that is dedicated to being still and just focusing our thoughts on Him and His Word.  We get so busy that we sometimes feel that we just can't squeeze God into our day.  The passage above from Ephesians seems to be talking about the same kind of personal worship experience that is so key to having a close walk with our Lord.  I reflected on this as I awoke and got an idea...What if we took60-second devotions here and there during the day.  We could purpose for one minute to clear our minds of all the thoughts and worries of our busy day and just concentrate on God.  We could hold one scripture in mind...lift up one concern...picture our loving Lord in our midst...for 60 seconds.  We have a God who lives outside of time and I think we'll find that one minute with the Lord can be like an hour of ordinary time.  I'm going to try this today and I encourage you'all to do so also.  Perhaps we can truly sample 60 seconds of Heaven in the midst of 24 hours on Earth.
Rob Smith

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

two levels of maturity

Ephesians 4:11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

We often consider the importance of our personal spiritual growth.  We know that we need to spend time in the Word and in prayer and we are aware that God has given us new life that we might grow as "new creatures".  I think we may think less often about God's plan for the whole church, that it would mature as well.  From the passage above it is clear that God has gifted us in different ways to help in that growth process.  It seems that there are two purposes: that we would grow in unity and that we would become more like Christ, as an entire church.  If we are His body in the church then that body is intended to progress toward maturity, just as the individual members are.  I suspect that as we use the gifts God has given us to help others grow....we will find ourselves growing in our personal lives as well.  We are saved individually that we might grow corporately that the world would see the living Christ in His body on earth.



Rob Smith

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


So still I'll be to feel His touch,
So still to hear His voice,
So still to know I'm loved so much,
It wasn't I..... He made the choice!

It wasn't I who came to Him,
But He who came to me,
My thoughts are ever on myself,
He raised them up to see,

That life was never mine to own,
It wasn't mine to give,
The gift was not to live, alone,
But Him to live!

So I will still be His today,
And He will still my soul,
For still He makes the waters be,
And still I know I'm Home.

Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

blessings, with stillness
Rob Smith