Monday, January 25, 2016


        People can often be trapped by life, pummeled by the effects of bad decisions, covered by forces of evil and feeling abandoned when they most need help. It is then we must remember that God told us in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
        On December 8, 1988, in Spitak, Armenia, Samuel sent his son to school with a hug and these words, "Remember, Armand, no matter what, I’ll always be there for you." Later that day a powerful earthquake rocked the area and the radio said there were thousands of casualties. Samuel grabbed his coat and headed for the schoolyard. When he reached the area, he saw Armand’s school was now a pile of rubble and some parents were already there weeping.
        Samuel found the place where Armand’s classroom had been and pulled a broken beam off the rubble. He then grabbed a rock and tossed it aside, and then another one. One of the parents asked, "What are you doing?" "Digging for my son," Samuel answered. The man said, "You're just going to make things worse! The building is unstable," and tried to pull him away, but Samuel kept working.
        One by one the other parents left. When a worker tried to pull Samuel away from the rubble, he refused to leave and kept digging. All through the night and into the next day, Samuel dug into the rubble. Tearful parents came to place flowers and pictures of children on the rubble, but Samuel kept digging.
        Finally he heard what he'd been hoping for, a small voice that said, "Help! Help!" Samuel began digging furiously. Then he heard the voice again. "Papa?" Samuel reached in and tossed away rubble until he saw his son Armand. "Come out, boy!" he said with relief. But Armand said. "No, let the other children come out first, because I know you’ll get me." Child after child emerged from the hole until finally little Armand did, too, the last of the live ones. When Samuel took him in his arms Armand said, "I told the other kids not to worry because you said you'd always be there for me!" Fourteen children were saved that day because one father was faithful. This story is true.
        How much more faithful is our heavenly Father? When we are trapped by the debris of life or ensnared by the rubble of hardships and struggles, we are never cut off from God and His love for us. He is true to His Word and will rescue us. He is reliable and trustworthy and can always be counted on. And we who know we will be rescued can encourage others, telling them of our Heavenly Father's faithfulness. No matter what, God will be there for us.
And His Son Jesus helps rescue all of God's children.

Monday, January 18, 2016


Did Jesus exist? I lead a Bible Class on this topic, and when the pastor announced it in the Sunday announcements, there were a few chuckles in the audience. When he led in the opening prayer, saying, “Dear Lord, who really does exist,…” someone giggled. Of course Jesus exists! After all, we’ve just celebrated His birthday.
My presentation that day gave evidence not usually known, for it was based on historical references to Jesus and the early Christians from non-Biblical sources. The Bible gives us “insider” information, but is there evidence of Jesus outside the Bible?
I spoke of writings by pagan Roman historians, Tacitus and Suetonius, who both despised Christianity, as well as the Jewish historian Josephus who is well known among scholars but was not a believer in Jesus. There is even a letter to Jesus from the King Abgar V of Edessa recorded by Christian historian Eusebius in his 3rd century history book. All of these referred to a man called “Christos” and his followers.
A striking fact of non-biblical references is that ancient secular sources have never denied or disputed the fact that Jesus lived. It wasn’t until the 18th century and the “Age of Enlightenment” that secular philosophers began penning doubts that Jesus existed. “Mythicists” like Arthur Drews, Bruno Bauer and Bart Ehrman challenged His existence.
We may not be able to prove Jesus is the Son of God or that He did miracles or arose from the dead, but only a fool would believe He never lived. Only someone filled with human pride would think it was all made up.
Jesus of Nazareth did exist, and two and a quarter billion Christians today do believe He arose from the dead and is the living Savior of the world. It is still true today what Paul said when he wrote, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3) There should be no doubt that He lived His life for all mankind.

May the Holy Spirit lead you to trust in Him.

Monday, January 11, 2016


        What do you say when someone meets you and asks, “How are you doing today?” or “How’s it going?” or some other variation. How do you respond? Our standard come-back is probably “Doing fine,” or “Just great,” or if we’re caught off guard, we may answer, “Not bad” or even a bland, “Okay.” But what do we mean by our answer?
         Probably it means we haven’t given it much thought. Unless we’re in the midst of a life crisis, we probably are just giving a thoughtless response to what we think is a thoughtless question.
         How about responding with something more positive and truthful? “Wonderful - thank you!” or, “More good than bad!” Maybe you can make a belated New Year’s resolution to give people a more meaningful response, like “Better than I deserve!”
         I’ve been thinking lately about Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  That certainly describes the New Year God has given us. The oldness of 2015 has passed away and we can do nothing about it.  The future is not yet here, so we don’t know what it will have for us. All we have is now, a new 2016, and Paul reminds us, “Behold, the new has come.”
        Can we be a new creation in 2016? I recently saw evidence that a small snake had shed its skin. God makes that creature with the ability to get rid of a damaged and worn outer cover so it can look and feel better with a new one.
         God scales gives us something similar. It comes when, “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Can we shed our old skin of worry or resentment, of fearfulness or regret, of weariness or apathy? Can we accept God’s gift of forgiveness in Jesus and know what means to become new again, at least for awhile? In Jesus Christ, all are made new. We just accept His gift of newness every day.
          I’ve decided my New Year’s resolution will be to give people a more cheerful and hopeful response when they ask how I’m doing. Maybe their question isn’t meant to be answered honestly, but why not give them something new? After all, when we trust Him, we are “In Christ” and that means we’re “a new creation.”

In 2016, I plan to respond, “Better than I deserve!” That ought to make them think!

Rev. Bob Tasler

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Dear Friends,
        HAPPY NEW YEAR! Time goes by quickly, doesn't it? Commentator Ben Stein writes with humor and common sense, making him interesting and worth reading. In a November, 2011, Newsmax article, Stein wrote, “Of all life’s mysteries, the most cruel and unyielding is that the moment, which seems to be permanent and fixed today, passes and is gone forever.” He concluded his comments, “The only thing I can do about it is to cherish the time I have left and appreciate it while I still have it.”
        “Tempus Fugit” - time flies. 1 Peter 1:24-25 says, “The grass withers, the flower falls,” and then gratefully adds, “but the Word of the Lord remains forever.” Some seem to delight in speculating publicly that each new year will be cataclysmic, that something will happen to change the course of human history.
        Maybe so in 2016, and maybe not. But if you trust in God for your life, then “No evil shall befall you, no scourge will come near your tent.”(Psalm 91:10, RSV) This doesn't mean we will avoid all evil, but trusting in the Lord we need not be crushed by what comes.
        We meet the new year best by renewing our trust in Jesus, rededicating ourselves to holding God's hand in faith, no matter what happens. He assured us “Whoever believes in Me has eternal life.”(John 6:47) We know not the future, but Jesus will be there when it comes.
Cherish and appreciate your fellow travelers on the road of life.
Rev. Bob Tasler