Sunday, August 20, 2017

AMAZING SUN GAZING

      Weekly Message comes to you a day early because I don’t want to miss our part of the solar eclipse as it comes to the United States tomorrow. In Colorado we’re not in the middle of the path, so local newscasters tell us all roads north will be clogged as the 565,000 population of Wyoming may double for a day or two. It makes sense for most of us in Colorado to watch it on television like most of you will.
      A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes perfectly between the sun and earth so that its shadow blocks all the direct sunlight except its corona. The sun and moon must be in correct alignment, and the moon’s elliptical orbit must bring it to an exact distance from the earth. Without all these and other divinely ordained alignments, there could be no total eclipse.
      What we will look up and see Monday, whether all or in part, will not occur again here for decades. America has had many total eclipses, but not one so broadly stretching across our continent. Total eclipses like this one are really quite rare.
      As I see it in person or on television, I will be thinking of the psalmist who wrote, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens… When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?” (Psalm 8:1, 3-4)
      God has made humans the highest of His creation, and if we are fortunate Monday’s event may even momentarily take our minds off national and international intrigue. At least for a day or so, journalists and politicians must relinquish their bully pulpits so the rest of us can look up and see something divinely ordained, three celestial orbs all in agreement. That alone should be proof of God’s divine handiwork.
      We humans work so very hard to master knowledge in our quest to make the amazing ordinary. Yes, mankind has advanced far, but this kind of event, designed by God and freely seen by so many millions, should tell us we still have a long way to go.
      But whatever we may know, God’s entering human history through Jesus is the event that defines everything else. In His Son Jesus, God offers us a look at His power, beauty and mercy. Most incredibly, He offers us place in His family for eternity. Nothing tops that.
      Given our knowledge and faith in Jesus by the Holy Spirit, even the most intelligent of us should stand in awe as we see this eclipse. We live on a delicately balanced world in its time and place in the universe. We are given a place by God where we are able to “live, move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) Because of that, we should join the Psalmist saying,
“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!”
Rev. Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.com

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A KNOCK AT THE DOOR

        Ever hear a knock at your door and wonder who it is? We live in a quiet Cul de sac and one evening heard a loud knock on our door. It was a salesman wanting to know if we would be interested in his services. After his rapid exit, Carol asked if there was a better way to see who’s on the other side of our door. Our door viewer was old and blurry, so I installed a new one with a clearer, wider view of who’s on the other side.
        These days, we need to know more than ever who’s on the other side of our door, with shady characters, politicians, and the noise of nations that can unnerve us. We fervently pray the noises outside will not be the sound of war, and we trust God that the leaders of all nations will be led by wisdom and common sense. 
        When David was attacked by his son Absalom in a revolt, he pleaded in Psalm 3:7-8, Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May Your blessing be on Your people.” Quite a combination of fear and faith from a king!
        In our age of clever technology and ever-expanding knowledge, I find it amazing that we cannot have peace between nations. Use of nuclear arms can bring horrendous destruction to so many, so far away and so fast. We pray God will protect us, especially since we seem to have learned so little. 
        The reason for all this is, of course, mankind’s sinful condition. Sin gives us all a weakness in our souls that keep us selfishly fighting each other. We cannot blame the North Koreans or Islamic terrorists alone for our current situation. Our human condition propels us selfishly to want our own way and take risks trying to get it.
        In the midst of fighting a war against his own son, David showed his faith in God, “Let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.” (Psalm 5:11)
        To keep all humanity from total destruction, God gave us His only Son so that we may take refuge in Him and His sacrifice on the cross for us. Without Jesus, life would be hopeless. But with His mercy, we have strength for each day and hope for the future.

Like King David, may our leaders also be led by Almighty God!


Rev. Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.com

Monday, August 7, 2017

DEALING WITH LEAKS

        We’ve recently heard much about government “leaks”, secrets being told for the purpose of revealing information we’d otherwise not know or care about. Leaks of this type wield power over others, because knowledge is power, especially if it is something someone doesn’t want known. Government leakers want the world to know what they know, so they wield their power. 
        There is another kind of leak, however, that is also irksome, and perhaps more dangerous. It’s the kind when water leaks out of a pipe and into a wall or room. If that leak is unknown, over time it can be far more damaging than one that is known. I’ve had leaks in the past and am dealing with one now. 
        The first leak came years ago when a water supply tube broke behind a toilet tank and sprayed a gallon or two onto the bathroom floor before I got the valve turned off. Damage was limited to a few ceiling tiles in the basement and a new supply tube. Another time a ceiling pipe sprung a leak and quietly dripped water into the basement over a period of weeks. Damage was extensive with ruined wallboard, carpet and worse of all, mold.
        A third leak I am dealing with now. With our recent hard rains, water has been dripping in over my office window. It had dripped in before, but I had ignored it. Now any hard rain results in water on my desk. Hopefully my fourth caulking yesterday has done the trick and we won’t have a wet desk again.
        Our sins resemble those water leaks. Some foolish things we do are easily seen and heard, but our secret sins are unknown until their damage becomes apparent. No matter what we think, sin will show itself, and we dare not forget that “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). No matter how successful we are in hiding, ignoring  or denying our sin, it will show itself and it will hurt us badly. 
        Thanks be to God that Paul didn’t stop with those six words from Romans! He continued, “But the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”  When we realize our sins and ask Christ for forgiveness, He will remove them. When we trust in Jesus, our sins will not become fatal. 
        I pray all the foolish and selfish government leaks will stop, and I further pray all those little quiet sins in my life will stop, also. I am grateful Jesus has forgiven them and I pray He will help me avoid them in the future.

I also pray my office leak stops, too.


Rev. Bob Tasler, wwwbobtasler.com

Monday, July 31, 2017

IRONING OUT THE DETAILS

        This past Saturday morning a friend stopped by to pick up two of my devotionals and caught me putting away my ironing board. Yes, I told her, I do the ironing here at home, as well as vacuuming and occasionally windows. Carol does the other more important things around the house, but not ironing.
        I am not ashamed to admit I enjoy making shirts and pants look good, and it began when I went away to college. As I was the youngest and ready to leave home, Mom helped me pack a suitcase and Dad arranged for a ride to get me to Concordia College in St. Paul. One of the things Mom did the day before my departure was teach me how to iron clothing. “You’ll need to know this,” she said, as she imparted the basics of using an ironing board.
        Ironing was not only helpful for my minimal wardrobe, it also became a source of spending money. Seven shirts took about an hour, so I charged fifteen cents a shirt (or seven for a dollar. Dad often said a dollar an hour was good money). And the fabrics back then were much harder to work with than they are today. College men those days wore dress shirts to class, so word soon got out there was a fellow in Walther Hall who knew how to use an ironing board on Saturday mornings.
        Surprisingly, I learned to enjoy it. Ironing wasn’t hard work, and people were usually happy that I could make their shirts and pants look reasonably nice.
        Furthermore, the principles behind taking out wrinkles seemed to fit well with my growing concept of forgiveness. We regularly come to God with our dirty clothing, and He cleans it for us through Jesus’ death and resurrection. If we ask Him, the Holy Spirit helps us iron out the wrinkles of life so we can live more like Jesus, and maybe not mess things up so much up the next time. Of course, being sinful people, we’ll always have personal laundry to do this side of heaven.
        A stretch of a metaphor? Perhaps, but one that comes to mind without fail every time I set up the board and plug in the iron. But don’t misunderstand me. I am not looking for business like I was back in the days when three to four dollars a week was respectable spending money for a college boy just off the farm.

“Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)

Rev. Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.com

Monday, July 24, 2017

YOU GET GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR? REALLY?

        How often have you heard it said, “You get what you pay for.” But old Ernie Johnson didn’t think it was true. He’d always bought on the cheap side because he truly believed “expensive” was only made so by the greed of the seller. “There isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the most expensive one and the cheapest.” he’d often said. And Ernie was proud his philosophy hadn’t ever been proven wrong (except a few times he won’t talk about).
        One day, as he was getting ready to join his wife who’d gone ahead to visit her sister, Ernie saw she’d already taken their only suitcase, so he went to town to buy a new one. At a crossroads along the way, he saw a pickup loaded with items and a sign, “FOR SALE.” So Ernie stopped to see what they had. And there it was, a brand new zipper suitcase. It was a big one and Ernie knew he could put a lot in it.
        Imagine how fast he got out his wallet when he saw the price tag - $4.89! He gave the guy a $5 dollar bill (“Keep the change, Bud”), took it home, packed it tight, and the next morning had a friend take him to the bus station (“Why drive when you have friends?”) Ernie proudly handed his new suitcase to the bus driver who tagged it and tossed it by the storage door where it promptly exploded! All the zippers on his new $5 suitcase (both of them) had ripped open at once and Ernie’s private things went flying everywhere. Totally embarrassed as he picked up his things, Ernie was certain he heard someone say, “You get what you pay for!”
        There is a time, however, when that saying is completely untrue. It is when it is applied to forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness comes to us free, with no price tag for us to pay. Jesus has already paid the price in full on Calvary’s cross, and it’s the most expensive price of all because it cost Him His life. Yet our Lord didn’t quibble about the expense. He didn’t complain about the price. He just paid it. And because He did, we are blessed forever.
         The apostle John has written, “The blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) Because Jesus died and rose again, all believers get the precious gift of eternal life.

Thanks be to God WE get what HE paid for.

Rev. Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.com

Monday, July 17, 2017

SUMMER TRAVELS WITH JESUS

        Summer is travel time for many of us with vacations, weddings, camping trips and going to the lake or the mountains to escape the heat. I got a note from a sister-in-law who travels a lot to her family, and she suggested maybe I should write a short devotional booklet for travelers. I may just do that. If so, I might include the following thoughts:
        Despite our modern means of rapid travel, there are some similarities with traveling in days of old when people rode in wagons, on animals or even walked. Moses led his people through the wilderness for 40 years, but I wonder how he might have dealt with a modern airport terminal. Since he'd never been to Denver International before, he might wonder where is that rock to hit to get a drink of water. Or if and when his flight is delayed, he might have wondered where there’s a cave to bed down for the night. Or a private place on the floor behind some fake green bushes.
        What little manna and quail he’d get would come from those boring little bags of peanuts and pretzels showered upon him, but only during the flight. And while Moses did have to fight a few hostile tribes now and then, he didn’t have to deal with TSA and their ever-growing list of airport security measures. Being required to take off certain clothing might have moved him to draw his sword in protest, that is, if it hadn’t already been taken from him before he got to the X-Ray machine.
        If Moses were herding his favorite camels on an interstate, he’d have to deal with trucks, speeding drivers and road construction. Perhaps he’d get a citation from the Highway Patrol, strategically parked to keep caravans from entering construction zones without “Slow-Moving Vehicle” signs on the back of his animals. It’s certain they wouldn’t give him any speeding tickets. 
        We are all travelers in life, making our way between the infinities, from birth to death and beyond. Praise be to God He promises to go with us as we travel, no matter where we are. Jesus is our constant companion, reminding us we need not fear, for there is no condemnation for those who trust Him. 
        Even that $450 speeding ticket can’t deter us from getting to our goal, our Heavenly Home. “Lo, I am with you always,” He said, “Even unto the end of your journey.” (Matthew 28:20, PBV)

Be sure to study your Road Map and keep it with you on your trip!


Rev. Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.com

Monday, July 10, 2017

SINGING WITH STEWART BOONE

        Last Tuesday, July 4, 2017, the pre-game ceremony between the Colorado Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds began with the announcement, “There will be no vocal soloist for the National Anthem. The audience is invited to sing along as it is played by Stewart Boone.” 
        While the anthem has been played many times at baseball games by many instrumentalists, few would do it as memorably as Mr. Boone, age 92, sitting in his wheelchair and proudly wearing his American Legion uniform. 
        Boone served in World War Two, part of the 924th Field Artillery Battalion that fought in the 1944-45 Battle of the Bulge. It was Germany’s last effort to defeat the Allies, and became one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Boone’s 99th Infantry Division lost 59 of its 70 American soldiers, and whenever Boone plays his trumpet for public occasions, it is in memory of the Army buddies he lost there. “I have a little job that’s ongoing in creating memories for those who have served,” he said. 
        Stewart Boone began playing the trumpet at age 5, using an instrument his father received as payment for work. By 14, he was playing for military funerals, and he estimates in the years since then he’s played the National Anthem and “Taps” more than 1,200 times for public events. “I play every opportunity I get,” he said. One could see his pride, as he sat erect in his wheelchair and proudly played our nation’s song with hardly a mistake. 
        Having also played a band instrument and knowing the breath control it requires, I couldn’t help being amazed at the quality of his performance. I wondered whether I, twenty years younger than he, would still have enough lung power left to play as confidently as he did. 
        The Apostle Paul told the Colossian Christians in chapter 3, verse 17, Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” 
        I do not know Mr. Boone’s religious beliefs, but being part of the “Greatest Generation” as he is, I would imagine part of his motivation is to give thanks to God that he made it home alive after that terrible battle. His playing certainly honors those who have served as he did, especially those who didn’t make it home. 

What can you do today to give thanks to God in the name of Jesus?


Rev. Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.come