Monday, May 24, 2010


There is an email of encouragement making the rounds that says, "The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you." No one seems to know who wrote this, and though this saying is not in the Bible, its intent surely is. This saying is about (a) God's will and (b) God's grace.

The will of God refers to what God wishes for His creation. Since God knows the future, He also has a plan, a Big Picture that encompasses all He wishes for the human race, and for each of us individually.  "God's will is that all people are saved and come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Timothy 2:4) The will of God would never take you away from God, nor lead you into temptation, for the Bible says, "God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. " (1 Corinthians 10:13)

The grace of God is God's love which we do not deserve. Grace is the love He shows to sinful people, we who are unworthy of His love, yet still receive it.  "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) That's true grace! His grace grants us eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.  "By Grace you are saved through faith." (Ephesians 2:8)

Thus, it is true:  "The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you." I found some further sentences that help make this saying more clear. Their author is also unknown:

1- "The will of God will never take you, where the grace of God cannot keep you, where the arms of God cannot support you, where the riches of God cannot supply your needs, where the power of God cannot endow you."

2- "The will of God will never take you, where the Spirit of God cannot work through you, where the wisdom of God cannot teach you, where the army of God cannot protect you, where the hands of God cannot mold you."

3- "The will of God will never take you, where the love of God cannot enfold you, where the mercies of God cannot sustain you, where the peace of God cannot calm your fears, where the authority of God cannot rule over you."

4- "The will of God will never take you, where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears, where the Word of God cannot feed you, where the miracles of God cannot be done for you, where the omnipresence of God cannot find you."

5- "Everything happens for a purpose. We may not see the wisdom of it all now, but trust and believe in the Lord that everything is for the best."

It takes great faith to believe such Godly concepts as these.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Do you always tell the truth? I've been working on my summer Bible studies, brief topics to use when I am doing Sunday Pulpit/Bible Class supply. One topic I'm working on is, "Truth vs. Lying" which is filled with ethical questions, such as, Is lying ever the right thing to do? Is telling the truth ever wrong? It seems to me lying is gaining more acceptance among young and old today. Whether it's in business, school, politics, sports or even in the courtroom, lying is becoming more prevalent, and it is weakening our society.

Martin Jay, author of "The Virtues of Mendacity," (Mendacity is the tendency to be untruthful) says there are moments when lying is okay if it serves a higher purpose. As an example, Jay refers to a situation in which a peasant is asked by the Nazis whether or not there are Jews hiding underneath his floorboards. The peasant tells the truth, and the soldiers come in and shoot them. Author Jay said it would have been morally justified in that instance to lie. Dietrich Boenhoeffer, martyered Christian apologist during WWII, might agree with that situation when such evil is involved.

Yet this seems to contradict what Jesus tells us about the Truth. In John 8:44, He says about Satan, "When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." And again Jesus tells us in John 8:32, "The truth will set you free." Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:15 to "Speak the truth in love." Judging from the dozens of negative biblical references about lying, as well as the equal amount of positive references about telling the truth, it is clear God favors the truth.

Psychologist Alan Hilfer says we all tell "white lies" and in doing so are not necessarily being irresponsible. Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are examples of "benign" lies which stoke children's imaginations and make for happy memories. Our ability to tell white lies may actually start when we are young children and are coaxed to spare the feelings of others: "Tell grandma how much you love the book she sent you."

Truth is always best. Our Christian life is filled with choices, some of them between the lesser of two evils. It takes faith to tell the truth, faith that God will protect us and bring about the good He desires. When we assume the right to lie, even to protect someone else, we also assume the risk of where it will lead. In our everyday speech there is a good axiom to follow: "Tell the truth and you'll never have to remember what you said."

God forgives our sins of weakness and rebellion, including our telling lies, for whatever reason we may have. God's people always need to remember, though, that the truth does set us free, free to serve God and free to love His people in the best way.

Do we need to go cold turkey on white lies and learn to value the truth?

Rev. Bob Tasler (LCMS, Emeritus)
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Monday, May 10, 2010


In 1964, in his third album, Bob Dylan sang, "The times they are a-changin'." While that's always been true, lately times seem to change faster. I know my body isn't cooperating like it used to. Life is no longer the way it was before, not with eyeglasses, hearing aids, daily meds, new aches/pains, and a fading memory (or have I already mentioned this?)

No one said life wouldn't be without change. Today our house is being painted, and for the first time, I'm not doing it. The hired crew is doing a great job, but an old shoulder injury keeps me from swinging a brush like I used to. These guys are caulking, scraping, priming, spraying, brushing and doing it far better and faster than I ever did. "The times they are a-changin'."

Politics, economics and legalities are changing also, and sometimes these changes make their way into the church, for better or worse. During such changing times we give thanks to God for what doesn't change. In the winter Carol and I attend an LCMS congregation in Casa Grande, AZ. It's a sleepy church, primarily due to so many winter residents, but we delight in always hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter what else may happen, whatever new hymns, liturgy or special music may come, the Gospel of Jesus is always heard. That's also true of our home church in Colorado.

Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." I like that verse. His church may change, and His people may change, but Jesus Christ remains what He is and always has been, our Lord who loves us. He gave His life that we might have eternal life. He remains at heaven's gate with open arms, awaiting our arrival. As Henry Lyte wrote in 1847 in his famous hymn, "O Thou who changest not, abide with me."

I do wish life wouldn't surprise us with changes I'd rather not see, and I won't rehearse them here. I hope amid the changes we see in society that God will still have a place of honor, especially in His church. I pray that God's forgiven people will not abandon the Gospel or lay aside the essentials of the Christian faith. Times may be a-changin', but we don't want that kind of change.

Praise God the truth of Jesus Christ remains changeless!

Monday, May 3, 2010


I like to sing. Ever since I was a child, I've enjoyed singing, whether for myself, in church, or to entertain others. I learned early that "the urge to perform does not guarantee talent," so I've practice often to do it well. I tried learning the piano for accompaniment, but discovered I didn't play well, so I taught myself to play the guitar. It was easier and far lighter to carry around than a piano.

Back in the 1970's I bought two guitars, a twelve-string Conn and six-string Yamaha. Both have served me well, and though I like the full sound of the Conn, tuning 12 strings has always been a challenge. Last week I discovered something I should have had long ago - a guitar tuner. I've always thought I could tune it myself well enough, but I should have had a tuner from the start. 

That old Conn sounds better now than ever because it's finally in tune. It's older but better - something we all like to hear! With correct tuning it's even easier to play, and all because I used a tuning standard, a musical yardstick to measure how it should sound. It works better than when I tuned it by myself.

Some things in life take awhile to learn. Instead of doing everything my own way, I have found life is better when I follow something better than my own standards. The Bible's standards of behavior are always better than one's own. Psalm 119 verse 105 speaks to this: "Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path."  I once broke a toe walking into a heavy chair one dark night. Two weeks of pain would not have been necessary if I'd have turned the lights on. 

God's Word is our Light. It tells us there's forgiveness for trying to live our own way. Jesus gives us a chance to start over. He forgives our sins and helps us do better the next time, but not if we don't reach out to Him. My tuner won't correct those guitar strings all by itself - I need to pick it up and use it. If you and I read and use the Bible, life can be better. If we ask the Lord Jesus, He'll help us do better the next time.

I think I'm going to enjoy that old Conn now more than ever!