Sunday, November 19, 2017

AT THE DEATH OF ONE WE LOVE

        A member of a family had just died while doing her duties as a nurse. The medical assistance helicopter she was in crashed during an emergency run, and there were no survivors. She left behind her husband and sons, as well as the others in the family, all of whom had already lost an adult member, either through death or divorce. Weeks after her death, the remaining family members had gathered for Sunday dinner and were talking about how much they missed her.
        In a quiet moment of reflection, the grandfather said, “Someone said we are all passing time, and each of us occupies our chair very briefly. I believe the time we had together with Linda was a gift, and we are all the better because she occupied her chair so well. Some may say we have had more than our share of loss, but I see God’s light in this family every day. And though I may not understand it, I trust in His plan for us all.”
        This past summer Carol and I have received word of several good friends who have passed from this life and into eternity. We all have experienced loss through the death of a loved one, someone precious to us who has “occupied the chair” of life among us. It is a blessing of God that we are allowed to do so. Our Creator God has a plan for us all, and although we may not understand it, we can trust that His plan is good for us all. 

“Oh Give thanks unto the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1)


Rev. Robert L. Tasler. www.bobtasler.com

Monday, November 13, 2017

A GOOD ATTITUDE ABOUT LIFE

        Here is a little story I’d like to share with you. You can take from it whatever thoughts you wish, and even if you think the attitude within is rare, it is certainly something we might seek, no matter what our age.  
        A 92 year-old woman had decided to move into a nursing home. Her husband of 70 years had passed away, necessitating her move to an assistance facility. And she had also become blind. She was well dressed, poised and held herself proudly as they helped her from the car into a wheelchair. “I certainly don’t plan to spend all my time in one of these,” she said with a smile. “I’m just helping you get to your new room,” the attendant said. “Of course, and thank you,” the woman said with a smile.
        As she was being wheeled down the hall, the attendant stopped now and then and described her surroundings, the Office, the Dining Room, the Library, the Exercise Room and other areas. As they went, the elderly woman said with an enthusiasm almost like a child at Christmas, “Oh, I love it already,” 
        “But we haven’t reached your room yet,” the attendant said. “That doesn’t matter,” the woman said. “Happiness is something I decide on ahead of time. Whether or not I like my room doesn’t depend on whether its window faces a tree, or if it’s a small room, or even how the furniture is arranged. It’s all in how I arrange my mind. Before I ever got here,I decided to love my new home and my room.” 
        “You see, this is what I try to do every morning. I figure I can either spend the day moping about my life, or I can get dressed, smile and decide to be thankful for what I still have. Each day is a gift from God for me, and as long as I remember that, I can be happy.”

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)


Rev. Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.com

Monday, November 6, 2017

KEEPING OUR LISTS

        A week or two ago I was making a list of things to do before we took an extended trip. It included 1) Disconnect outside hoses, 2) Turn down thermostat, 3) Lock windows and doors, 4) Winterize cars, 5) Turn off water heater, and many other items. When we return, that list will be on the kitchen counter where I left it with all items crossed off.
        We make lists because we want to remember things, and we’ve learned we cannot always trust our memories. Martin Luther made his list of 95 reasons why the church needed to be reformed and follow the Bible. Yesterday at worship on All Saints Sunday, we remembered a list of people who have died during the past year in that congregation.
        And now in south Texas, sadly, there is a list of people who died in church because a man committed the evil act of murder. God, too, has His list of Ten Rules which people must follow instead of their own sinful ways. To ignore or deny them leads to our destruction.
        Lists help keep us organized. With them we remember, prioritize and accomplish things. Lists can help us do the right things in life. For example Apostle Paul had his list of nine Fruit of the Spirit: “Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. Against such things there is no law,” he wrote in Galatians 5:22-23.
        Sometimes we misplace our lists or forget to take them with us. What good is a grocery list if it’s left at home? What good is a list of things to do if we don’t intend to do them? God wants us to remember the important things, for instance, that He is God, that we need Him, and we should love each other and know His Word which tells us of His Son Jesus who died to forgive us so we can live with Him in eternity.
        Last week my sister-in-law wrote me a nice email with some good lists in it. It concluded with this list of three. I think they are worth memorizing.
        1. The NICEST place to be is in someone's thoughts.
        2. The SAFEST place to be is in someone's prayers.
        3. The VERY BEST place to be is in the hands of God.
Now there are some things worth remembering!
Rev Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.com

Monday, October 30, 2017

TIMELESS WORDS OF JESUS

        Ever since God gave mankind life on this earth, words have formed the basis of communication. Whether by mouth or sign, people have expressed ideas, information and influence as best they could.
        While speech in itself is remarkable, some people are very good at it. Consider what this man says, and whether or not you’ve heard or read similar words:
        1) “Freedom is the possession of those who have the courage to defend it.”
        2)  “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”
        3) “Wealth is to be properly used, not just something to boast about.”
        4) “Time is the wisest counselor of all.”
        5) “What you leave behind is not what is engraven on monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

        Pericles, the man who uttered these profound words, lived 2500 years ago. He was one of the most prominent and influential of Greek statesmen during its Golden Age, and his ideals turned Athens into an empire. Besides being an outstanding General, Pericles promoted the arts and literature, helping Athens become the educational and cultural center of the ancient Greek world. A champion of democracy, his projects on the Acropolis included the majestic Parthenon.
        Pericles spoke many more such brilliant concepts that have endured through the ages, and yet his words compare little to the words of a carpenter from Nazareth. The reason is simple: Jesus’ words go past this life and into eternity. Earthly life can be amazing to experience, but eternal life in the presence of God offers hope and joy we cannot find this side of eternity.
        1 Peter 1:24-25 says, “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
        History has heard some remarkable thoughts from people such as Pericles, but his words cannot compare in significance to those of Jesus.

Don't you wish someone today could speak so eloquently?
Rev. Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.com

Monday, October 23, 2017

WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE?

        One never knows how much one’s life can be influenced when God puts a special person in your life, someone you really need to know.
        This past October 3, heaven opened its doors to a dedicated and caring servant of God who helped change my life. Rev. Leland Wendland departed this life after serving as pastor nearly 60 years. He was my internship supervisor at St. Mark’s, Minot, ND, 1969-70, and his guidance turned my life around.
        After a bumpy six years of college and seminary training, Vicarage (internship) assignment was at hand and I didn’t want to go. My wife urged me to find a Lutheran teaching position, but despite several promising interviews it was too late to be called, and I lacked key training as a teacher. 
        I can still recall that St. Louis spring day when we first met Pastor Wendland with his bright smile and positive attitude that put us at ease. As he told us what to expect from life and work in North Dakota, our fears quickly melted. Later when we met his gentle, sweet wife and their young family of seven, we knew God had led us to the right place and especially to the right person. 
        Working with Lee was never dull. He gave me independence and responsibility that helped overcome my uncertainties. He showed me true Christian service and how God wanted to use my abilities. I became a pastor because he believed I could do it, and he helped me to believe in myself. I thank God that He brought us together that year. 
        Lee was a powerful preacher of the Gospel of Jesus. He once told me a pastor’s job was to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”  He didn’t invent that concept, but he lived it in his ministry and urged others to do the same. I thank God for His faithful servants who have helped me, whoever and wherever they are. In our last conversation, a few days before he died, I told Lee how much he had helped me. 
        Is there someone special in your past whom God gave to help you? If he or she is still alive, maybe you should give them a call. Let them know the difference they made in your life and don’t forget to tell them thanks. 

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

Rev. Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.com

Monday, October 16, 2017

WHAT NEXT?

        Sometimes when bad things happen, especially multiple things, we are tempted to ask, “Why?” Or, “What next?” Last Friday’s news carried such a story.
        A California woman narrowly escaped death during the Las Vegas shootings last month while attending a concert where nearly five dozen people were killed and five hundred injured. A thousand bullets rained down, injuring people next to her and killing one. But she had not even a scratch. A few days after returning home, however, she was forced to evacuate her Santa Rosa house due to a wildfire that eventually burned 4,000 homes and killed nearly 40 residents. While many nearby neighbors lost their homes, the woman expressed gratitude that her home was spared, 
        What would you say if you were her? “Why?” “What next?” “Thank God I’m still alive!” I’ll guess it would be the latter. If tragedy strikes all around and we’re still alive when it’s over, giving thanks to the Good Lord is surely the first thing to do.
        A farm wife suffers immense injuries in a machinery accident, confining her to a nursing home for the rest of her life. A young pastor’s wife is widowed when he is murdered while making an evening pastoral visit in Chicago. An middle-aged farmer who lost both legs in an machinery accident, loses his wife to a heart attack. A violent auto accident claims the life of a young wife, while her husband has no injuries. 
        Do we say, “Why?” “What next?” Or, “Thank God I’m still alive!” Sometimes maybe all three. Thanking God must be both said and felt, no matter what follows. As hard as it is to understand, Job the Old Testament prophet had it right when he said, “The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” It isn’t that we feel glad God is no longer playing tricks on us, but that He gives us any time of life to live at all.
        A 94 year-old WWII veteran told me of his experience in the Battle of the Bulge, and he repeatedly said,“Only by God’s grace am I alive.” He then quoted a poem his mother had sent him during the war, a hymn verse by Jesse B. Pounds he has kept with him always:
"Any where with Jesus I can safely go, 
Any where He leads me in this world below,
Any where without Him dearest joys would fade, 
Any where He leads me I am not afraid."
        “Thank God I’m still alive!” I’ve said that so often since our auto accident in 1984. I’ve never thought of it as luck, but a genuine goodness from God that He has allowed me to see my sons grow, and marry fine wives and be blessed with good children. And He also has allowed me to experience the love of a second good woman. 

It’s part of a gratitude that helps us say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”


Rev. Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.com

Monday, October 9, 2017

WHY DID JESUS COME TO EARTH?

        Why did Jesus come to earth? What was His purpose in being here? Ever since His birth at Bethlehem, mankind has struggled with what to do about Jesus. While many have tried making Him a great teacher, or a rebel, a peacemaker, a genius or even a charlatan, only His Holy Word tells us who He truly is, the Son of God and Savior of the world. 
        Dr. Donald A. Carson, in his book, Praying With Paul, wrote some remarkable words about Jesus’ purpose. In a quote often attributed to others (usually Max Lucado), Carson helps us zero in on the nature and purpose of Jesus. He wrote:
        “If God had perceived our greatest need was economic, He would have sent an economist. If He had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, He would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, He would have sent us a politician. If He had perceived that our greatest need was health, He would have sent us a doctor. But He perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from Him, our profound rebellion, and our eventual death. So He sent us a Savior.”
        We cannot understand Jesus unless we see what He considered was our greatest problem, that sin has caused rebellion against God and tainted our entire world. Recent mass murders have again resulted in people asking why they happened and what can be done about them. Who has not heard, “If there is a God, why does He allow this to happen?”
        All manner of reasons and solutions may be given, but rarely do analysts consider the real problem Jesus came to solve, to forgive sinful people of this rebellion and help them to live better by power of the Holy Spirit. He didn’t come to stop sin, but to forgive its consequences. He didn’t come to create robots, but people who see themselves for who they are, sin-weakened sons and daughters who desperately need their Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus.
        Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The plain truth is that the tragedies we see in the world will remain with us until Christ returns again in a new heaven and earth. 

We must not cease trying to stop evil, but we must admit its true cause. 

Rev. Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.com