Monday, February 29, 2016


        It’s Leap Year today, another reason to wonder about the universe, including the slight wobble in the earth’s revolution around the sun that causes us to have an extra day on our calendars every four years. We needn’t worry about this since there’s nothing we can do to change it. People didn’t cause it.
        I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if there’s an article out there saying we did. There is the growing trend to warn us about dangers lurking everywhere, global warming, overpopulation, water shortage, racism, obesity, identity theft, illegal aliens, sexual predators, economic failure, energy shortages, transfats, etc., etc. And these are all our fault, they say.
        Hearing such topics every day would make a newcomer to our planet think life on earth is on the brink of extinction. But this is far from true. People of the world live better today than at any time in history.
        Life was not better in the days of the horse and buggy. There were far worse examples of war and genocide during the Middle Ages or even in the early 1900’s. Diseases decimated population as recently as 100 years ago, and wars destroyed cultures almost as fast as they arose.
        We have it far better today than we think. People have more time on their hands, presumably to tell us of gloom and doom. In any other age, we’d have been too busy chopping wood, working fifteen hour days, and applying home remedies just to stay alive. Today’s news travels fast. We know instantly what’s happening everywhere, so we’re prone to panic.
        Since mankind sinned in the Garden of Eden, people have always lived with potential danger. Note that none of those dangers listed above are about the spiritual or eternal, despite the face that unbelief does bring eternal death and destruction. But the soul that trusts Christ as Lord is not in eternal danger. Faith in Christ is the door to eternal life.
        Jesus once said, “Fear not those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) Jesus came to dispel human fear, but some people seem to prefer creating and living in it.
        Rather than crying out in fear, today trust in Jesus and turn your fears over to Him. Let Him carry your burdens, whether real or imagined, and He will bring you safely through this abundant life unto your eternal home.

Smile and enjoy the day. It’s not nearly as bad as some people say.

Monday, February 22, 2016


        When I was a small child, a huge cottonwood tree fell over in our pasture during a terrific windstorm. That seemingly strong tree had stood alone for decades, but that day it fell. A close examination revealed a rotting center that had been weakening the tree. Although its exterior looked strong and healthy, that tree had been slowly dying.
        Cleaning up after a fallen tree is a fairly easy matter. You cut it up and haul it away. But what about a fallen life? What do we do when a human life collapses? Unlike that solitary tree, most people don’t live alone, but in a world of interdependence. We mingle in each other’s lives, inter-twine our roots and come to depend on each other. How do we deal with a life that has collapsed?
        Some of us don’t let ourselves be known. We may seem fine to others, but we don’t let people know the real person inside. An unhealthy habit, a bad dependency or a small but deadly sin grows within us, and like a tiny bug it attacks our heart. If kept secret or if it is excused by others, it weakens the heart and soul.
        When a collapse occurs, and everyone around feels the damage, family, friends, church members and associates. And the damage lingers, often for years. Thanks be to God there is hope for this. God repairs a damaged life if we invite Him to do so.
        A large Lutheran Church in Phoenix has weekly “Celebrate Recovery” meetings that help with drug, alcohol and all sorts of dependencies. Each Friday evening over two hundred area men, women and youth meet for dinner and a joyful worship service. Then they go to their meetings and work on a recovery only Jesus can give them.
        Jesus said in Luke 5:31, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” If you know of someone in danger by “hidden” sin, let them know you care, and try to find them a place where they can begin their recovery with Jesus’ help.

“That is how you are able to stand firm in the Lord.” (Philippians 4:1)

Monday, February 15, 2016


Dear friends,
        My wife loves to go shopping and I often go with her, sometimes to help pick out something, and most often to carry what she has bought. It’s enjoyable so long as it doesn’t take too long. Or cost too much!
        A large clothing chain store near us has an annual sale on January 1 with very low prices, so one year we went. The packed parking lot told me this was no ordinary sale. Inside we joined hundreds of eager shoppers as they ravaged racks of tops, slacks, jackets and anything else men and women like to purchase on sale days.
        The clerks at the register were having a heyday. Their hands flying, removing hangers, flashing price tags over the laser price readers and stuffing treasures into bags as fast as they could. People grabbed and bought things they’d passed up before, because the prices were so low. One of the clerks told me that sale helped make his monthly sales quota. He wished they did it every month, not once a year.
        At one point my wife handed me a blouse on a hanger and told me to go stand over by a men’s table while she shopped. I was dressed fairly neatly and the table held several mannequins, so I decided to become one! I stood up straight, hung the item she’d given me on my collar and looked straight forward, not moving a muscle. A few people looked at me and smiled, and a couple of women actually came up to look at my outfit before they realized I was alive. It was great fun and it passed the time quickly!
        Sometimes people treat others like mannequins. We notice them there, but don’t really look at them or take them seriously. We don’t bump into them, but we don’t talk to them either. To us they’re just standing there like imitation people, store mannequins.
         But Jesus sees us all as real people. "Love one another," He said, "as I have loved you." (John 13:34) He looks at us and knows what is in our hearts. He wants us to trust Him and rely on His guidance. He also wants us to treat each other as the valued persons God has placed in our lives.

Today try seeing other people with the eyes of Jesus.

Rev. Bob Tasler

Monday, February 8, 2016


        One of humanity’s continual quests is to do better, perhaps even achieve perfection. Not everyone seeks this, of course, but most of us will try if we want to do something good. Whether it’s inventing a better tool, formulating a theory, composing music or writing a story, most of us want to get it as near as we’re able. The sinful human heart will never, of course, be perfect this side of heaven.
         So when a writer puts his words in print, he wants to see something good, not glaring errors. In last week’s WEEKLY MESSAGE I really left a real blotch on the paper, and it took only two words!  I began,“Are you’re a worrier?”
        WHAT? How many times could I proof read that opening line and still miss a stinker like that? It’s “you” not “you’re!” So much for my quest for an errorless article, much less an interesting one. What kind of writer misses that? (Don’t answer that...)
        Sadly, that mistake is also in hundreds of copies of Day By Day With Jesus I’ve sold, because I lifted the article from my devotion for February 21. Jesus must have chuckled when He saw me hit the “Send” key. Then again, He probably ignored or deleted it as some surely do.
        Today’s message also has an error in it. You may already have found it. At one of my former congregations I told members each of my bulletins contained at least one mistake and thus gave them something to do if the sermon got too boring. Sometimes I received a corrected copy in the offering basket.
        Only God is perfect and without sin. He originally made people that way, but they soon placed the indelible blotch of sin into everything they did. The good news is that Jesus fixes our foolish foibles. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake God made Him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
        It’s hard to imagine the Son of God willingly taking on our foolish and evil thoughts, words and deeds upon Himself, and yet He did. Thus there’s no need for us to be perfect. The Holy One did that for us. We can show Him our attitude of gratitude by living the love He showed us on the cross. But He is the only perfect one.

Thank You, Jesus, for becoming sin for us.

Rev. Bob Tasler

Monday, February 1, 2016


        Are you’re a worrier? Do you “sweat the small stuff” in life, or are you one of those who have learned not to worry about things? A wise person once said the only thing worry is guaranteed to do is shorten our life. Some of us might argue the opposite, saying that being anxious can lead us to take better care of ourselves and be more healthy. I tend to agree with the former – worry shortens life.
        But we surely have much less to worry about than people of Jesus’ time. Just having enough to eat or being safe from harm were their major concerns. Today it is rare for people in developed countries to be without enough to eat, drink or wear. We rarely worry about food, clothing or safety, but that’s not all there is to worry about these days.
        Today we can worry about paying our bills, mortgage, utilities, auto, school or medical payments. We might worry about the political direction of our nation. We may worry about our own or our child’s marriage. Commercials try to make us worry about not having enough funds for retirement. No matter who we are or how much we have, we can find cause for worry.
        But Jesus urges us to trust Him. My mother often said, “Worry is concern without faith.” She meant we should be concerned about what we do and how much we have, but that we should give those concerns to Jesus.
        I visited a man in the hospital who was gravely ill and given only a short time to live. After I prayed with him, he laid his hand on mine and said, “Don’t worry, Pastor. I’m okay because soon I’ll be with the Lord. But you look worried. Is everything okay with you?” And he listened as I poured out to him some minor trouble I was having. He died about a week later and after the funeral I got a lump in my throat thinking how he had ministered to me.
        Life is a complex and wonderful thing God has given to us. We must value and cherish it, and help each other through the dark days of worry.

“Bear one another's burdens.” (Galatians 6:2)