Friday, December 28, 2012


(From a story by Louis Lamour, with my apologies to the Lamour family for this abridged version)
Their fire was small and they huddled close. "We must go now," said the Boy, "There is no more wood for burning. Our crops were thin and when the snows come, the wild ones will come again and will kill us." "Where will we go?" the Small Sister asked, for drought was everywhere and with no better place they knew of, would it not be better to stay here and die?
The Old One stirred and mumbled, "In my sleep I saw them, strange men sitting on beasts." "He is old and his mind wanders," said the Mother. "Strange men with robes that shine," continued Old One. "How many men?" Boy asked, wondering if they would be dangerous. "Three, no more," Old One said, "sitting on beasts." Ramblings of an old man, they all thought.
They soon must leave or die, and it was better to die while doing than sitting. There was no more food - even the rats had gone. "When light comes, we shall go," said Boy. "What of the Old One? He is weak." said Small Sister. "They followed the path, where there was no path, a path of light," said Old One. "He will come with us," said Boy.
On the third day walking they ran out of water, so Boy dug for water in the sand. They ate of the corn they carried, but not all, for some would be seed for planting if they found a new home. Snow in the night gave them more water and the next day they kept walking. 
Here and there seeds could be found to eat. "Where do we go?" Small Sister asked. Boy did not know where and he was afraid. On the ninth day they ate the last of the corn except the seed. Boy snared a squirrel and a lizard, and Mother dug roots by a spring. They had left their home forever, the last of their kind who would later be called Anasazzi.
They plodded on and the cold grew. It snowed and did not melt, and Old One lagged farther behind, taking longer each day to reach the evening fire. Boy hardly looked at their eyes now, for he had nothing to promise them. "They followed a path of light," Old One muttered as he drew his worn blanket about his thin shoulders. "It is the moon of the trees on the snow."
"We have seen no path, Old One" "The path was light because they heard and they believed." said Old One. "Heard what? Believed what?" asked Boy. "I do not know, only that they believed," said Old one. "I believe we are lost," said Small Sister. Mother looked at the boy. He was now the man, but only a small man, and alone. "In the morning we will go on," Boy said.
Old One arose. "Come," he said and Boy followed. "There!" he pointed, "There lies the path." "I see no path," said Boy, "only a star." "The star is the path if you believe," said Old One. He went back to the fire and left Boy alone in the dark. The others had trusted him, but he had found nothing. They had faith and he had none. He had led them into a wilderness, and for what? There was no place for planting, little food and water, no fuel.
Old One said they followed a star, thought Boy, so he would follow a star, one still bright in the morning light. When morning came, they made ready to leave, but Old One would not move. "It is enough. I can go no farther," he said. "But you will come," said Boy, "You taught me to have faith, and now you must have it." And so they moved on, day following day and night following night and Boy following a star.
Soon Small Sister and Mother said, "We can go no farther," so Boy put them in a place of cottonwood trees where there was a water seep and branches for fuel. He snared a small animal and cooked it for them. When light came he shouldered his pack and left them, but out of their sight he sat down and put his head in his hands. He had failed them. Old One's medicine had failed. Where would they go?
As he walked on, his head was filled with dark thoughts and soon he tripped and fell. And there before him on the ground were the tracks of a deer and a raccoon. Deer would give them food and clothing. Raccoon liked water. Not in two moons had he seen animal tracks! He followed the tracks into a small valley and found a pool of water. He drank deeply and went quickly back to the others. He brought them to the place and said, "This is our home. We will stop here." 
Boy killed a deer and as they ate, he asked, "Old One, the men who sat upon the beasts in your dream, what did they find following the star?" "A cave that smelled of animals where a baby lay on dry grass. The father and mother were there and other men wearing skins." "And the shining ones who sat on the beasts? What of them?" asked Boy."They knelt before the baby and gave it gifts."
            "It is a strange dream," said Boy. "At another time I will listen to it again."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


My WEEKLY MESSAGE is late this week. It's Christmas night and nearly bedtime and I realize I've forgotten to write this week's edition. We've had such fun the past few days with our loved ones, including my son Chuck and his wife Debbie and our three sweet grandchildren from Phoenix, Debbie's mother from Tucson, and "Uncle Brian" visiting from Denver. All the Christmas activities and special worship services changed our routine and clouded my memory.
So I will share a few thoughts from my sermon for this coming weekend here at Trinity Lutheran Church, Casa Grande. 

Have you ever had a "morning after" experience? Most of us have, at some time or other, and it's usually not something we're proud of. The morning after a passionate affair can bring guilt and regret. The morning after an auto accident brings shock and sadness. The morning after a bad decision can cloud life over for weeks. When life has severely and suddenly changed, we need hope to go on living. 

In the days following the baby Jesus' birth, life was very different for Mary and Joseph. Their travels to Bethlehem and Egypt would have been enough to change any couple's lives. But the child Mary bore into the world changed the entire world. He wasn't just a wondrous arrival, He was the promised Savior! Nothing was the same after the Christ child came into the world.

The child Jesus is God's greatest gift to mankind. Because of Him, we have that hope for life now, and hope for the future. We have hope because Mary and Joseph believed God and obeyed the angel. We have hope because the baby grew up and atoned for the sins of the world, my sins and your sins. We have this hope because on the morning after God was there with them. 

On our mornings after, God is always there with us, showing His mercy and love, offering forgiveness to the repentant, and showing a new path of life for the foolhardy, with strength for all travelers along the way. 

Psalm 25:4 says, "Show me Your ways, O Lord, and teach me Your paths." May this short prayer of David go with you every day and every morning after in the New Year.

Merry Christmas to you all! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012


No words can express the anguish of those who have lost a child. When death comes to many children at once as it did last week, we visibly see evidence of evil and wickedness in the world. There is no answer to evil except our Lord Jesus Christ alone and His victory over sin, death and Satan. 
Watching the news coverage, I recalled a conversation some thirty years ago with my church choir director who excitedly told me of a "new song" she had heard for the first time. It was called "The Coventry Carol," written sometime in the 16th Century England. It's first words are, "Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child, Bye, bye, lully, lullay." She said it had such a wonderful melody. 

When I explained to her those words came from a song lamenting the killing of children, her face dropped and she quietly said, "Oh, my goodness!" Needless to say, the church choir didn't sing the song that Christmas. It is a song few want to hear. Its haunting words and melody came to mind while contemplating the tragic deaths of twenty first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Here is what happened according to Matthew 2:16-18: 

"Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah (31:15): 'A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more'."

We can see that Newtown, Connecticut, is a modern  "Ramah," and "Rachel" the grief-torn parent. Yet the child Jesus was preserved from this ancient destruction, an act which benefitted all people of the coming ages. God could have destroyed that old tormentor king and his soldiers with a stroke. He chose rather to provide a hiding place for His people, then and for all ages. Still today, God preserves us from being swept away, even when a demented enemy comes in with weapons of death.

December 26th is the day the Church calls "Holy Innocents," a remembrance of the little boys killed by an evil man in his quest to destroy helpless children. My heart goes out to the grieving fathers and mothers, and also to the father of the young man. His family was also destroyed that day, together with the innocence of the living and dead school children. 

May the Lord have mercy upon the souls of the slain and slayer, and may He bring all survivors hope in the Gospel of our Lord. May the Lord Jesus give the pastors and all Christians in the area great wisdom and compassion in bringing hope and love to those affected.

The risen Jesus Christ alone is our hope and answer to all sorrows. 

Monday, December 10, 2012


Thank you for the many responses I received to last week's WEEKLY MESSAGE. It featured a YouTube video on a song written about a small boy in a Santa line who asked his mother, "Where's the line for Jesus?" 
I would like to share another website with you this week. It is an original video completed last year at my son and daughter-in-law's Lutheran School in Phoenix, and is set to the music of Handel's "For Unto Us A Child Is Born." I think you will enjoy watching and hearing it.

Every student and staff person at Christ Lutheran School is featured in this video holding up words from the song as they are sung. Not only is it done well, the message of the song is encouraging to us all during the year.

No matter how uncertain or fearful life may be for us, Christmas provides a respite as it focuses our attention away from ourselves to the birth of the Christ child who became the Savior of the world. 

I always enjoy remembering the "Christmas Truce" that occurred during World War One in 1914. It began during a momentary quiet period on Christmas Eve when some German soldiers sang Christmas carols and held up candles from their trenches. Although distrustful of the "barbarian" Germans, British soldiers  joined in, a few even approaching enemy soldiers in "no man's land", sharing cigarettes, personal photographs and handshakes. 

The High Command on both sides was livid, issuing stern orders against fraternization with the enemy. Despite the official orders, some officers relaxed the rules, seeing the truce as a chance to improve morale and re-supply their trenches. The 1914 "Christmas Truce" lasted through Christmas Day, after which hostilities and brutal killing quickly resumed.

Our annual observance of the birth of Jesus usually comes amid hostilities in the world, our own nation and in many peoples' hearts. May the child born in Bethlehem's manger lead people of all nations to seek, "Peace on earth, good will towards all people" this year and every Christmas.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and His name shall be called... Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Monday, December 3, 2012


Last Friday night Carol and I entered our mini-float of a simple nativity in the Parade of Lights here in the retirement park where we live during the winter. Of all the entries, ours was the only one that reminded folks this time of year was about Jesus' birth, not Santa Claus, elves, decorated trees or silly costumes. It reminded me how far removed we've come from the true story of Christmas, Jesus' birth at Bethlehem.
Then today a friend sent me a story about singer Becky Kelley. While at the mall a couple of years ago with her four year old nephew, Kelley, the boy and his Mom watched as children lined up to see Santa Claus. Having been taught that Christmas is the time Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, the boy asked, "Where's the line to see Jesus?" The boy's innocent question stayed with the two women until they came home.

They mentioned this to their song-writer father, who quickly jotted down some lines, wrote music to the words, and did a recording of the song at his home studio. His friends loved the song, so he sent the recording off to Nashville where a Christian song writer suggested some changes. Becky's Dad then asked her to record the song, and the new demo tape was sent again to Nashville.

But there was no response until two weeks before Christmas when Becky's cousins decided to do a YouTube video of it. It went, as they say, "VIRAL!" The first day their new YouTube had 3000 hits and it soared from there, bringing them e-mails, phone calls and Facebook messages, all asking for the music, CD's, iTunes, anything.

If you haven't yet heard this fine song, you can hear it here:

With all the commercialism at this time of year, it's easy to forget why it all started. "Where's the line to see Jesus?" is a question we all should ask. We actually can answer it by going to church during midweek Advent services, or attending Sunday morning services, Christmas and New Year's services. That's where we all can get in line to see Jesus. 
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given...And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Type "Robert Tasler" in the search box)

Monday, November 26, 2012


Are you getting what you want out of life? Or do you feel that the economy, government, or other outside factors should be doing more? Do you even feel that others are robbing you of value and joy in your life because they are not providing what you feel you need? 

A few years ago, a polling agency asked one thousand people what they most desired in their lives. As part of the poll, the participants were asked to indicate the extent to which the Bible was important to them. Ninety percent of those who identified themselves as Bible-believing Christians said they wanted these things: a closer relationship with God, a clearer purpose in life, a higher degree of integrity or a deeper commitment to their Christian faith.

It's interesting that these heartfelt desires are all things people can do something about, without the requirement of outside human help. There's no need for a governmental program or public assistance to achieve these goals. Difficult economic times need not take them away. These noble spiritual goals are achieved as we allow God's Word to rule in our hearts, and as we pray for and receive the strength of the Holy Spirit to build up our faith.

St. Paul wrote the people of Ephesus in Ephesians in 3:16-17, "I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith."

In our ever more complex world, it is tempting to put the quest for what we desire into the hands of others. So many of us, Americans or other peoples of the world, have come to expect some outside human or governmental entity to fulfill our desires instead of we ourselves seeking them with God's assistance. This is both counter productive, as well as wasteful of the talents and resources God has given us. 

It is true that we may sometimes need help, and that we cannot live in isolation of others. However, it is not outside human resources that will provide our true happiness and contentment. That must come from God being within our hearts by our trusting Him, and from Christ being at home in our lives by faith. 

Far better it would be that we would follow the words of Isaiah 55:6-7, "Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon."
Now that's getting help we need from a source that will never fail us!


You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems like only yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet some days that was eons ago, and I wonder where all the time has gone.

I know that I lived those years, and I have memories of how it was back then, as well as some of my hopes and dreams. But, here it is, the winter of my life, and I am caught by surprise. How did I get here so fast? How did those years pass, and where did my youth go?

I remember well seeing older people and thinking they were far away from me, that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or even imagine what it would be like.

Yet, here it is. I move slower and see an older person in the mirror now. Most of my friends are retired and quite grey. Some are in better or worse shape than I, but we see each other's changes. We are no longer the ones we remember who were young and vibrant. Now we are those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be.

Today I often find that just taking a shower or doing other normal things is a real accomplishment. And taking a nap is not a treat anymore, it's mandatory!  If I don't get enough rest on my own, I may fall asleep where I sit! It is strange to find myself in this new season of life, unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!

Yes, I have a few regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done, and some I should have or wish I would have. But indeed, there is so much I'm happy to have done. It's all a part of my lifetime, the one God gave me.

If you are not yet in your wintertime, be reminded that it will be here faster than you think. Whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, you'd best do them quickly. Don't put things off too long. Life goes by so fast, so do what you can today.

You see, you can never be sure when your winter will come. You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life. Live each day as it comes, and say all the things you want your loved ones to remember. Hope and pray they will appreciate and love you for all that you have done for them in all the years past.

Remember, it is faith, hope and love that make up your real wealth, not gold, silver or houses. Your life is God's gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to God and to those who come after. Live it well!

Monday, November 19, 2012


This year Carol and I are especially thankful for the valuable people God has placed in our lives over the years. We'd like to share with you a story of someone who showed his thankfulness in life by living the principles his father gave him. 

In 1924, a boy named Johnny who loved to play basketball completed the eighth grade in a small rural school. His father had little money for a gift, so he gave Johnny a card on which he had written his own seven-point creed. He urged his son to start following them daily. 

Here are the seven points his father gave him: 1) Be true to yourself, 2) Make each day your masterpiece, 3) Help others, 4) Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible, 5) Make friendship a fine art, 6) Build a shelter against a rainy day, and 7) Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

Johnny followed these points during his life. He excelled at basketball, becoming an all-American player at Purdue University, and helping his team win the national championship. Johnny later went on to become an outstanding college coach, with his team winning ten national championships in a twelve year period. Johnny was named national coach of the year six times and is one of only three players named to the Basketball Hall of Fame as both player and coach. 

Johnny was revered by his players, inspiring many of them to excel in life. Like his father had given him, Johnny gave his players short, inspirational messages, including his "Pyramid of Success" which helped them achieve success in basketball and, more importantly, in life. 

When he died at age 99, Johnny, better known as John Wooden, had been a lifelong devout Christian, devoted husband of fifty-three years, loving father and grandfather, and inspiration to countless men and women, both athletes and non-athletes. He wanted his faith to be apparent to others, saying, "If I were ever prosecuted for my faith, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me." 

Our heavenly Father has given us an eternal gift of His Word that comes to us in the form of His Son, Jesus. His Son said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by me," (John 14:6) That includes all people who have saving faith in Him, including John Wooden. 

This Thanksgiving let us be grateful that there is a way for sinners to come to God for forgiveness, and it is through faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

By God's grace, may we make each day our masterpiece for Him.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


(by Ben Stein and spoken by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary)
"I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat...

"Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

"In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

"In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said, 'OK.' 

"Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school... The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said, 'OK.' 

"Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said, "An expert should know what he's talking about.' And we said, 'OK.' 

"Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

"Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

"Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

"Are you laughing yet? Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

"Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not, then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in."

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

Monday, November 12, 2012


How do you deal with disappointment? What can you do to work through your feelings when things do not turn out the way you expected? The prophet Elijah knew all about being disappointed. We learn of him in last Sunday's Old Testament lesson in the well-known story of how God provided for the widow and her son the oil and flour that never ran out.

In 1 Kings 17, we hear how God called Elijah to speak His Word to King Ahab of Israel. The Promised Land had been divided into northern kingdom of Israel and the southern of Judah. Ever since King David and King Solomon, it seemed like every new king in the land was as bad or worse then the last one. 

Then along came King Ahab whom the Bible said, "He did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all who were before Him." (1 Kings 16:30) He married Jezebel, daughter of the King of Sidon and served her god, Baal, encouraging even the horrible practice of infant sacrifice. 

Ahab's behavior angered God, so He sent Elijah to speak God's Word. Through this great prophet, God showed His great power, raising the widow's son from the dead, withholding rain for three years, and then sending fire from heaven to consume the sacrificial meat, water, wood and even stones of the altar as thousands were witness.

God told Elijah to slaughter all the prophets of Baal as punishment for their idolatry. Then he ran like the wind before Ahab's chariot when the rains returned, all according to God's almighty Word. 

But Elijah was no match for Queen Jezebel. When she threatened to kill him, Elijah ran off and hid in a cave to escape her wrath. In 1 Kings 19:9, God came to Elijah asking, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" A fearful and disappointed prophet answered, "Your people have deserted You, O Lord. I am the only one left, and they seek my life."

But God reminds Elijah He is still in charge. Instead of being disappointed, Elijah should remember what God had already done through him. The dead had been raised, fire rained from heaven and all the people had shouted, "Jehovah is God!"

When you and I are disappointed in people or events, we must not hide our faces in fear, but rather remember that God is still in charge. He has done great things through us and for us. If we will trust Him rather than the leaders of this world, our disappointment will not last long. Trusting God's providence for our earthly life and His forgiveness in Jesus for our eternal life, we, too, can speak with faith and confidence, "Jehovah is God!"

"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes." (Psalm 118:9)

Friday, November 9, 2012


"IF I WERE THE DEVIL" by Paul Harvey
(Paul Harvey first wrote an essay with this title in 1964. He recorded it in a 1965 radio address, and updated it several times. Recently it has been circulating the internet in a version somewhat different from his original. Paul Harvey died in 2009 at age 90. Here is his 1965 revision reprinted from his radio address.) 
            "If I were the devil … If I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I’d have a third of it’s real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — Thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first — I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.’
            “To the young, I would whisper that ‘The Bible is a myth.’ I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is ‘square.’ And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…’
            “And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
            “If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames. If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions — just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.
            “Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography — soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. If I were the devil I’d make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
            “If I were the devil I’d take from those, and who have, and give to those wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what do you bet? I could get whole states to promote gambling as thee way to get rich! I would caution against extremes and hard work, in Patriotism, in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.
            "In other words, if I were the devil I’d just keep right on doing on what he’s doing. Paul Harvey, good day.”

Thursday, November 8, 2012


(This week's message is a reprint of an article by a Canadian journalist, Douglas J. Hagmann, of "The Hagmann & Hagmann Report." Here is what he wrote on November 7, 2012)
"It is unlikely that the majority of Americans are familiar with the name Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I had forgotten the account of Mr. Bonhoeffer until a valued listener of our nightly radio program sent me Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, a gripping book written by Eric Metaxas.

"I devoured the 592 page book in three days, reading the final page only yesterday. I find it anything but coincidental that I completed this gripping account on the very day that the 2012 U.S. presidential election was decided in favor of Barack Hussein Obama. While reading the account of Mr. Bonhoeffer, a German pastor, theologian and spy who was involved in the plot to kill Hitler, I became awestruck by the obvious and stunning parallels between 1930’s Germany and present day America, specifically in terms of the Christian church.

"Yesterday, for the second time in four years, the majority of Americans decided in favor of Obama despite the vocal and visible moral objections made by many Christians of all denominations. I have no doubt that many people who profess to be Christians cast their vote to reelect Obama, somehow justifying their vote over any moral or ethical concerns residing in their spirit. How is this possible?

"It is here that I cite the foreword written by Timothy J. Keller, friend of the author and author of the New York Times bestselling book The Reason for God.  Keller writes in his Forward to Bonhoeffer: 

'It is impossible to understand Bonhoeffer’s book without becoming acquainted with the shocking capitulation of the German Church to Hitler in the 1930s. How could the ‘church of Luther,’ the great teacher of the Gospel, have ever come to such a place? The answer is that the true Gospel, summed up by Bonhoeffer as Costly Grace, had been lost. On one hand, the church had become marked by formalism. That meant going to church and hearing that God just loves and forgives everyone, so it doesn’t really matter much how you live. Bonhoeffer called this Cheap Grace. On the other hand, there was Legalism, or salvation by law and good works. Legalism meant that God loves you because you have pulled yourself together and are trying to live a good, disciplined life. Both of these impulses made it possible for Hitler to come to power.” (end of Keller's Forward)

"Does that sound, or ‘feel' familiar? Thanks to the laborious research by author Eric Metaxas that is articulately detailed in his book, which also corrects over a half-century of the hijacked legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by the Progressive Left, Christians in America should now fully understand exactly what is taking place within our country. We have allowed the Word of God to be diluted, perverted and turned into a convoluted platform for social justice by elected leaders whose tyranny has extended into and ripped into our spiritual fabric.

"Many Christians have collectively embraced 'Cheap Grace' and 'Legalism' promoted by leaders across the political spectrum as spiritual equivalents to the true Gospel, thereby reconciling their faith with the perversity that exists in America today. After all, it is both politically correct and socially acceptable to tolerate perversity in all forms, rather than risk being labeled as intolerant, bigoted, Islamophobic, homophobic or the mother of all derisive brandings, racist. It is precisely here, however, that tolerance of evil becomes evil itself.

"This is the exact moment in time for all Christians in America to live in the spirit of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by uniting and practicing 'Costly Grace.' As a Christian, I believe we were born for this exact moment in time, and have been selected to engage in this spiritual battle for not only our salvation, but the salvation of others. Like it or not, we have been selected as being warriors on the front lines of an epic spiritual battle.

"Some might look at the re-election of Obama and other leaders with similar agendas as a death knell for the Judeo-Christian spirit in America. I chose to view it as a real-world test of my Christian faith personally and our Christian faith collectively. It is clear that the spiritual battle lines have been distinctly drawn. We are now called to emulate the spiritual strength of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, so that we may change the course of Christianity in America. Unified in the spirit of Costly Grace, we can do it.

"We must engage the battle and not abandon the fight at this historic moment in time. Traditional marriage between a man and a woman as defined by the Holy Bible must be reinforced, not redefined. The wholesale slaughter of our nation’s unborn under the demonic perversity of women’s rights must not be accepted or further tolerated. We must not submit to a system that requires us to forsake our beliefs under the color of law. Acting in the spirit of Costly Grace, we must summon the spiritual courage of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to change the course of our nation.

"As my friend Steve Quayle has often said, there are no political solutions to our spiritual problems. Never in the course of American history has this proven to be so true. Therefore, it is up to us, the 'Bible holding bitter clingers,' to rise to the level of true Christians and engage the forces of evil that have overtaken our great nation.

"Make no mistake - this is obviously not a call for violence, but a call for leadership to every Christian living in the United States. We have been given a most important task, which is to be leaders among men. Believers of the true Gospel can no longer be silent. Together, we can make a difference. Our souls depend on it." (Copyright © Douglas Hagmann. )

There is much to reflect upon here. I hope you will do so.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Dear friends,

During the past years, I have written several books which are now published in electronic form on KINDLE and NOOK. You can find these books at these locations:

 - NOOK:
In each place, you can preview my books by typing in my name, Robert Tasler.

These are titles of my e-published books:
 - "DAILY WALK WITH JESUS": Devotions for each day of the year on various topics
 - "DAILY WORD FROM JESUS": Devotions for each day based on Jesus' Words in Matthew
 - "COUNTRY PREACHER": Short stories about a young pastor in rural North Dakota
 - "SMALL TOWN PREACHER": Short stories about a young pastor in a North Dakota town
 - "BOBBY WAS A FARMER BOY": A children's e-book about my life on a Minnesota farm
 - "IMMIGRANT SON": Stories about my German immigrant family members and friends.
 - "MURDER AT PALM CREEK": A short "who-dunnit" novel set in a retirement RV park

These works are available only in electronic form. None are in paper print. They are reasonably priced and may also be read if you download a free Nook or Kindle e-reader onto your personal computer.

If you wish to contact me personally, my E-Mail is:

Thank you and may God bless you.


One of the Christians whom I and millions of others have admired for decades is Dr. Billy Graham. It is estimated he has helped lead 3.2 million people to Jesus Christ, and his 400 crusades and many media programs in 185 countries have been witnessed by over two billion people worldwide.
During his career which began in 1947, he has preached the Gospel countless times, advised presidents, and supported many just causes, including racial integration. He invited Dr. Martin Luther King to speak at his revivals, and once bailed Dr. King out of prison when he was arrested during a demonstration. Dr. Graham has appeared on Gallup's list of most admired men and women 55 times since 1955, more than any other individual in the world. 

It is perhaps less known that Dr. Graham is a life-long Democrat, supporting its basic philosophy as well as candidates for office. Perhaps some of you read the full-page ad Dr. Graham recently placed in The Denver Post and several dozen other national newspapers. Here is the simple yet eloquent message that he said in his ad:

“On Nov. 6, the day before my 94th birthday, our nation will hold one of the most critical elections in my lifetime. We are at a crossroads and there are profound moral issues at stake. I strongly urge you to vote for candidates who support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms. The Bible speaks clearly on these crucial issues. Please join me in praying for America, that we will turn our hearts back toward God.”

This is my wish and hope, that our decisions in the coming days will be guided by our faith in Jesus Christ. I pray that all of us will let the Bible guide our decisions in life, now and always. And also, may we all support and pray for our national and local leaders who will be chosen in the coming elections.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


In view of the "superstorm" that has hit America's Northeast, my already composed message on the meaning of Halloween seemed rather hollow (pardon the pun). So I am starting over with a new direction.
Whenever nature unleashes its power and destruction anywhere in the world, it should make all of us pause to reflect. Carol and I this morning were talking over breakfast in our safe, dry, warm home about the value of living in the middle of our great nation rather than on its coasts.

We know that storms and other natural problems can affect us anywhere, but the idea of a "superstorm" is interesting. Some have called it a "perfect storm," although that adjective seems misleading, considering all the damage and loss of life. "Perfect" leads one to think of goodness, not destruction. One doesn't think of a "perfect death" or "perfect illness." So "superstorm" seems more appropriate than "perfect storm." 

(By the way, my SpellCheck keeps changing it to "superstore." Evidently it doesn't think a storm could be super.) Whatever we call it, the notion is that when several powerful and evil entities come together, their power is increased and greater devastation results. 

If this is true, then Good Friday should be considered the greatest "Superstorm" of all times. On that day, all of the sin, pollution and evil means of human devastation Satan tried to inflict on us met together on Mt. Calvary, all falling on the person of Jesus Christ. 

Holy Scripture tells us when all this evil was placed on Him, that He died, willingly giving up His life on our behalf. There was darkness for several hours, and an earthquake, causing the temple curtain, perhaps two to four inches thick, to tear in half from top to bottom.

Just at the moment when the perfect little white lamb was being sacrificed in the Temple for the sins of the Jewish people, the Perfect Savior of the World was sacrificing Himself on Calvary for the sins of the people of the whole world. 

Satan must have thought he had won, that he had crushed the Holy One of God. But he was badly mistaken. The outcome of Calvary's divine "Superstorm" was victory for all believers of all times who trust that Jesus gave His life for us, "That whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life." (John 3:16). 

The winners of Calvary's "Superstorm" are you and me and all believers in Christ. Because of Him, we come through the storms of life, battered but not defeated, bruised but not drowned. We are the "Super Winners."

Praise be to God who brings us out of natural death and into eternal life.

Monday, October 22, 2012


In a novel I once read (which name I can no longer recall), four men are confessing their sins to one another. On hearing the vile nature of their sins, one of the men exclaims, "How can God let us live? Why doesn't He just kill us to purify His creation?" Another of the men said, "Because God is a potter. He works in mud."
This is literally what God did in Genesis when He formed and shaped the first human being from the dust of the earth. Like a potter, He molded and fashioned him from the clay of the earth into a vessel useful to Himself. 

I wonder how many times God looked at what He'd made and decided to start over before He finally breathed the breath of life into Adam. I also wonder how many of you reading this think He quit too soon and should have tried once more!

God continues to work with dust and mud still today, fashioning us, changing us with hard times and difficult experiences, molding us into the people He wants us to be. He wants us to serve Him and love others, and usually that takes several major and painful changes before we can become the people He wants us to be.

Most of the time, of course, we are difficult projects. Our sin has made our goodness elusive and self-serving. We want to be like God, but God wants us to have fellowship with Himself. He wants humble servants who can make the world He created a good place to live, and we aren't always good at doing that. 

After Adam and Eve sinned, God continued working with our mud, fixing, re-developing and changing us. Finally He decided to start over by sending His only Son into the world. Jesus would die in the mud and muck of our sins that put Him on Calvary's cross so that He could straighten out the messes we have made in this world. 

In gratitude to God for His mercy and faithfulness, we today should consider using our hands, feet and voices to do good for His glory. We are alive on this amazing planet, not to be perfect (Jesus already did that), nor to save the planet (one Savior is all we need). 

Rather, we are here to serve and love Him the best we can, knowing He accepts us and forgives us our failures when we have faith that His Son did all that was needed to earn salvation for us. 

Here's mud in your eye!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Dear friends,
Church members know that when they have spiritual needs, they can go to their pastor. But when a pastor needs help, where does he go? When he needs strength and relief from the struggles of parish ministry or demands of his congregation or family, where does he turn? Each year thousands of valuable pastors do not know where to go, so they leave the ministry, and the whole church suffers.

Now there is a place where struggling pastors can go, a place they can be heard, encouraged and receive spiritual direction. It is called "Shepherd's Canyon Retreat" (, and I have just spent the past week there as staff Worship Leader. This is my second time to do this, and again it has been rewarding to see God's blessings happen.

"Shepherd's Canyon Retreat" is held at "Standing Stones" (, a beautiful newly developed desert conference center 15 miles west of Wickenberg, Arizona, on US 60. Each SCR conference has a maximum of eight participants who meet with trained counselors to examine their personal and professional lives and find how they might serve the Lord and their families in the best way.

Both "Shepherd's Canyon Retreat" and "Standing Stones" are the fulfillment of dreams of Dave and Barb Anderson, musician evangelists of Fellowship Ministries. In their travels they saw pastors and churches suffering from ministry weariness, misunderstanding, malaise and even fear. Too often they heard the stories that led to separation, and so they sought a way to help. The result is "Shepherd's Canyon Retreat".

This is the 23rd SCR retreat, but the first one at "Standing Stones". This lovely 9 acre oasis is truly a gift from God and His people. Now it just needs participants.

The next SCR retreat will be Nov. 6-14, and others are already planned for January and February. If you are a pastor and would like spiritual refreshment and peace, go to the websites for information and phone numbers. You will also see what "Standing Stones" looks like, and the plans they have to make it into a retreat center for other spiritual purposes for 60 or more people.

Where does a pastor go for strength, direction and a better understanding? "Shepherd's Canyon Retreat" is a wonderful place to start. God has given us this fine place, and it is open to all denominations. Now it's up to the Church and its workers to make use of it.

Will you pray for this and encourage others to do the same?