Jeffrey Robert SmithIn Word Indeed
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We are here now to ask You to help us to do what is right.
We can find the direction if You’ll simply show us the light.
       Our sadness, our heartache, our suff’ring, our loss,
       Could not be as much as You gave on the cross.
   Ev’ryone needs You, and ev’ry one needs to be saved.
     - From "For All The Right Reasons"
    2005 by Jeffrey Robert Smith

 

In Word Indeed
(a little rhyme or reason)

 

 Writings:

Whatever Possessed You
Life's Not Easy, Man, But It Does Have Purpose
Conviction
There's an Order to Things

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          “Keeping up with the Joneses” - that’s what they used to call it. It is a
phrase that originated over fifty years ago. But, even after the passing of so
many years, it still applies to so many people living in our modern, material
world. To look for the telltale signs of materialism in your own life, I’ve
put together the following test (inspired by a routine often performed by the comedian, Jeff Foxwothy):
 
- If you think the Golden Rule says: “He who has the gold makes the rules”,
you might be materialistic.
- If your family car has four-wheel drive, but you don’t have to drive over
desert or rocks to get to work, or to get anywhere, you might be materialistic.
- If you own or aspire to own one or more items you might use the term
“status symbol” to describe, you might be materialistic.
- If the newsman on your television screen could be labeled: “actual size”,
you might be materialistic.
- If you think that people who say: “Money can’t buy happiness”, just don’t
know where to shop, you might be materialistic.
 
 
            For those aligning with or aspiring to a materialistic lifestyle, the
requirements are the same now as they were then. Living the good life still
involves acquiring wealth and possessions expressly for the purpose of
showing others just how much of a good life you are living. The Bible has
something to say about this, in 1 John 2:15-17 (NIV):
 
           
           Do not love the world or anything in the world. If you love the world,
love for the Father is not in you. For everything in the world - the cravings
of sinful people, the lust of their eyes and their boasting about what they
have and do - comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and
its desires pass away, but whoever does
the will of God lives forever.
 
 
            This is one of the more misunderstood concepts in the Bible. I remember
how, upon first hearing it, I thought I was supposed to lessen my appreciation
for the beauty of nature, and all that God had created.
 
            What is really a very simple statement, suffers from a common malady
of communication: terminology. Because the “world” in this phrase is actually
a term used to denote the human level of existence, what the Bible means, is that
we should be wary of being drawn into the cravings usually associated with this
realm. It goes on to describe three categories of concern: the lusts of the flesh;
lust for material possessions; and being desirous and boastful of one’s rank or
position. Not only are these attributes more akin to the ways of Satan, who has
dominion over the world, but pursuit of these only serves as distraction from the
preparations we should be making for the life everafter.
 
            And, you have to admit… God, the Great Provider, certainly gave His all
to provide us a better life at the conclusion of this one.
 
 
            For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (ASV)
 
 
            Being human, and of this realm, my own efforts to follow the advice in
1 John, are now much improved over what they once were. In fact, I should
probably call this my testimony, of sorts, although it hardly compares to the
life-changing reforms made in most testimonials…
 
            I have always enjoyed motorcycling, and much of what goes with it:
The wind in your face; the bugs on your teeth (the sure indication of a happy
biker); the frostbite when  the temperature drops unexpectedly. Okay,
it’s not always good, but it has enough good moments to keep me interested.
While I also enjoy walking and bicycling; a motorcycle can more easily transport
me to scenery a greater distance away from the crowds.
            I’ve never had what other enthusiasts would consider very expensive
or even very desirable motorcycles. But humble and unassuming as one of
them was, I later realized that I might have passed the point where I was
possessing a possession, and arrived at the point where the possession was
possessing me.
 
            At the time, I was living in a part of the country where winter usually
means the riding season is over for a few months, so I had a corner of the
garage set up where the motorcycle could sit out the snows in comfort. Yes,
comfort is a good description, because I actually had an extra duct installed,
which brought heat from the house furnace to the garage wall beside the
motorcycle. I wasn’t heating the whole garage, I reasoned, just keeping
the bike from freezing.
 
            To assure myself, from time to time, that I was still the sole
possessor of my possession, I installed a security camera in the garage. At
the time, the camera seemed very appropriate, because it served another
purpose…
 
            To be sure the bike really was warm and comfy, I had mounted a
large thermometer on the wall beside it. And to read the thermometer, I aimed
a small floodlamp in the direction of the motorcycle. Now, you’re probably
wondering why I didn’t just turn on the garage ceiling light to read the
thermometer. The answer lies in two other devices I had employed to put
my mad plan into action: a remote control and a light switch that responds
to a remote control.
 
            In case you haven’t yet figured out the lengths to which a possessed
man will go to remain a prisoner of his possession, I can tell you how it
worked: In the comfort of my home, I could  turn on my television, and turn
to my own personal security channel. On this channel, I was able to see my
motorcycle, nicely illuminated in 75-watts of incandescent splendor. And,
by indication of the thermometer that was also easily viewable in the upper
left-hand corner of my television screen, I could assure myself  that my bike
was indeed sitting out the winter months in comfort.
   
            So, there’s one man’s answer to the question: “What in the world
possessed you?” I’ve come to appreciate God’s wisdom and forethought in
planning that when I make the trip into the eternal life, I will be traveling
much lighter than I did in this life.
 
            Come to think of it, I haven’t seen anything mentioned in the Bible
about Heaven having closets or basements.
 
                                                                       by Jeffrey Robert Smith
 
 
            No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love
the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot
serve both God and Money.   Matthew 6:24 (NIV)
 
 
 
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For since the creation of the world God’s invisible
qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have
been clearly seen, being understood from what has been
made, so that men are without excuse.   Romans 1:20 (NIV)
 
The Engineer of the universe has made me part of His whole design.
                                                                - Leigh Nygard
 
       There is a song on my album, “First Things First”, about a man who is afraid of commitment. Represented in my song: The Easy Man (a Life without Purpose)”, he believes that nothing is lost if nothing is ventured, because he lives by a policy of non-involvement and non-participation.
            I call him the “easy man” because he thinks he is going through life the easy way. He is, basically, just doing time in this world. It is very likely that he will live a very uneventful life, and will accomplish little of any importance while living it.
            If only I could have given the “easy man” more endearing qualities, but that would have muddled the point of the song. I think Alexander Pope would have shown a bit more compassion than I did, when he said: Blessed is he who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed". That mine is lacking, will be very evident in the following words, from the last verse of my song:
           
There is no reason to be silent or discreet;
You leave no footprints on the ground below your feet.
So you would be surprised, when heaven fin’ly calls,
If your obituary mentions you at all.
 
            Although that last line has often elicited some chuckles from my audiences, I can think of few things sadder to most of us than believing we are not even worthy of mention in our own obituary. Despite much evidence to the contrary, I would prefer to go on  believing that the “easy man” subscribes to a lifestyle rarely witnessed by most of us.
            All pity aside, I might ask what would cause someone to become an “easy man”? Perhaps he has no sense of purpose, and a limited vision of why he exists. Since he is not a man of strong beliefs, it follows that he probably does not believe in God. That would be a sad case, indeed. For belief in God and in His works, brings assurance of one’s purpose in life, and in one’s place in God’s design for the universe and for all that exists within it.
 
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart.
Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
 
I used to work in a photo lab, where we processed pictures for people.
This was in the days when most cameras still produced negatives (usually 35 mm), which we would develop into photos.
 
To do this, we often used a small dark box. It took up less space than
a whole darkroom. You simply placed your hands (and some of your arms) inside to work with the roll of film. You had to know what you were doing, because only your hands could fit in there. Of course, even if you could fit your head inside the darkbox, it wouldn’t help, because it was well…dark in there.
 
One day, we had processed a bad roll of film, where all of the photos
had turned out black. I believe it was from one of those manual cameras that
needed a warning label on the back, in two-foot-tall letters, saying: “Before taking pictures, remember to open the shutter”.
 
Understandably, photos like these never make it into the family photo
album. But I couldn’t see just throwing them all away, so I put two of them up
on the lab bulletin board, and added captions.
 
Under the first black photo, I wrote: “This is the inside of a dark box
on a dark and dreary day”. Under the second black photo, I wrote: “This is the inside of a dark box on a bright and sunny day”. Next, I wrote: “...And you
thought your life was uneventful”.
 
Now, I brought this up because some of us stay in our own little dark box. Like the “easy man”, our lives might seem uneventful because we live in the dark void of a life without rhyme or reason, not understanding our place in this world, or our usefulness to others. Having a stronger faith in God;  and a better understanding of His vision and in the purpose He has designed for us, would help to restore our own vision. Without this, we will not be able to see or even recognize what we can accomplish in this world.
 
            God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5 (NIV)
 
Every life has its dark moments. And every day has its dark night.
(Even Darth Vader had his dark side). But life is not supposed to be perfect.
 
            God promises a safe landing but not a calm passage. - anonymous
 
            Think of it as a learning experience. If you open your eyes, your mind, and your heart to God, you will find yourself stronger, and better prepared to move from the more difficult, but temporary phase of life on this side of heaven, to eternal life (or: “Phase Two”, as I hear it is called in God’s brochure - but I’m not sure of exactly what brochure, as I heard this from an unreliable source).
 
        We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  
Romans 5:3-4 (NLT)
 
Incidentally, if you were a dark box  (although being reincarnated as a darkbox is an impossibility within the doctrines of our Christian faith) - a dark box with a positive attitude, I should say - you would realize that much can be accomplished… even in the dark.
You could proudly say that you played a very important part in turning
35 mm film of weddings, graduations, and family vacations into tangible memories to be looked at, smiled at, and proudly shared with friends and family for many years, and maybe even lifetimes to come. And you did all that from a pitch-black environment.
            If this has inspired you to think a little more on what God intended for you to accomplish during your short stay in this life, I offer the following words from my song “He Gave You a Heart”.
Never under-estimate the purpose
Of your life, and what you do while you are here.
If you only plant the seed that helps others more in need,
You might find the path to Heaven very near.
2004 by Jeffrey Robert Smith
                So, if you’ve been thinking of your life as uneventful,  it just might be
time
to start “thinking outside of the box” (or “outside of the darkbox”).
 
            You could become a light in the darkness of someone else’s life.
 
                                                            by Jeffrey Robert Smith
Teach us to make the most of our time,
so that we may grow in wisdom.  Psalm 90:12
 
 
Nothing in this world is without meaning.
                                                       - A. W. Tozer
 
 
 
 
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He knew it was coming  
He knew it was near;
But He still taught the lessons  
For which He was here,
So that we could see victory  
 In a life that was lost,
And know our salvation  
Was won on a cross. 
 
2006 by Jeffrey Robert Smith
 
 
 

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There’s an Order to Things

In the beginning, O Lord, You laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of Your hands. Hebrews 1:10 (NIV)

 

The Engineer of the universe has made me part of his whole design.
- Leigh Nygard

 

Nothing in this world is without meaning. - A. W. Tozer

Because we live in an age when so many achievements have been made in technology and science, we have become very impressed with ourselves. Some of us even believe the words of men over the Word of God.

But, before our heads get too big, as we rattle off our own theories of evolution, adaptation, and natural selection, we should remember that science cannot even begin to explain how we came to have the powers of love, and reason, even creative thought.

In the complexities of our universe, our world, and the DNA that we are made of, an increasing number of learned scientists are finding order and purpose... evidence of a grand design, set in motion by one extremely intelligent Creator.

Yes, Darwin, there is a God. And, in the beginning, science did not create the heavens and the earth... He did! And rather than trying to present science and creationism as opposing views, understand that God is the reason why there is science.

Just imagine how much time and money was invested in the education of so many of our great scientists, by their parents...so they could eventually come around to understanding what we Christians learned in Sunday school!

(In some of my music ministry performances, I follow the reading of this poem with my song “Coincidence” which pertains to the same subject. When my album: “From This Side of Heaven” is available, the lyrics and a short audio sample of “Coincidence” will be posted on this website.)


You might see your existence
As just passing time,
With no meaning; no purpose;
No reason or rhyme.
Your life, just a basket
Into which things are placed
To fill in the time,
And to fill in the space.

Life defined by possessions,
Can seem empty, it’s true;
And the things you’re possessing
Will soon possess you.
In your system of values
You are what you’re worth…
By the standards of measure
Created on Earth.

You believe what you see;
You believe what you touch.
You believe what you hear…
Without thinking too much.
So you know about faith;
And you know about science;
But you give either one
Your uneasy compliance.

Your life is a journey,
But you won’t know the way
If there’s no One to guide you;
And the devil to pay.
If you think there’s no heaven,
You’ll have nothing to show…
All dressed up at your funeral
With no place to go.

If you’re long on denial,
And short on belief,
It might come as a shock,
Or a needed relief
When you pay more attention
To that which came first…
To the teachings of prophets,
And the knowledge of verse.

It is time for decision…
On what to believe;
On what to reject;
And on what to receive,
On what you should trust;
And on what you should not.
It’s your life in the balance…
The one life you’ve got.

As a big consolation,
It might help to know
There are some things in life
That don’t readily show.
There’s structure, and meaning
In the world that surrounds us.
Evidence of design
Can be seen all around us.

There’s an order to things
In the world that contains us;
The sunshine that warms us;
The land that sustains us.
There’s order; and purpose;
And planning; and reasons
For the passing of time,
And the timing of seasons.

There’s more to our world
If you’re willing to find it.
Men of science have noticed
The order behind it.
There’s a Hand and a Mind
Behind all that is right;
Between midnight and noon;
Between morning and night.

It would be hard to believe
There is just evolution;
To accept adaptation
As the only solution
To why things became
What they are, what they’ve been,
When evidence shows us
Again and again…

There’s an order to things,
Just look, and you’ll see it:
A pre-ordained plan;
There’s no mystery, so be it.
The stars and the planets,
Their movements in space;
The sun, at its distance;
The Earth in its place.

The land that can forever
Stir our emotions
At the sight of a mountain;
The sound of the oceans;
The feel of the desert;
The smell of the plain…
In the sunlight, or moonlight,
In snowfall, or rain.

For all that has purpose,
And for so many reasons:
For the coming of age;
And the coming of seasons;
For the reasons we love;
And the reasons for life;
For the times that seem easy;
The times filled with strife…

For the power of thought;
And the power to love;
For the power to believe
In a Power above.
For the way it feels good
To give thanks, to give praise.
For the answers so certain
To the questions we raise.

There’s an order to things
If you listen, you’ll hear it
The world would just stop
Without someone to steer it.
For if all that exists
Simply fell into place,
We might just tumble helplessly
Out into space.

“There’s an Order to Things” © 2006 by Jeffrey Robert Smith

  

The world is a great stage on which God displays his many wonders.
- Saint Francis of Sales

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2009 Jeffrey Robert Smith
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