Monday, July 31, 2017


        This past Saturday morning a friend stopped by to pick up two of my devotionals and caught me putting away my ironing board. Yes, I told her, I do the ironing here at home, as well as vacuuming and occasionally windows. Carol does the other more important things around the house, but not ironing.
        I am not ashamed to admit I enjoy making shirts and pants look good, and it began when I went away to college. As I was the youngest and ready to leave home, Mom helped me pack a suitcase and Dad arranged for a ride to get me to Concordia College in St. Paul. One of the things Mom did the day before my departure was teach me how to iron clothing. “You’ll need to know this,” she said, as she imparted the basics of using an ironing board.
        Ironing was not only helpful for my minimal wardrobe, it also became a source of spending money. Seven shirts took about an hour, so I charged fifteen cents a shirt (or seven for a dollar. Dad often said a dollar an hour was good money). And the fabrics back then were much harder to work with than they are today. College men those days wore dress shirts to class, so word soon got out there was a fellow in Walther Hall who knew how to use an ironing board on Saturday mornings.
        Surprisingly, I learned to enjoy it. Ironing wasn’t hard work, and people were usually happy that I could make their shirts and pants look reasonably nice.
        Furthermore, the principles behind taking out wrinkles seemed to fit well with my growing concept of forgiveness. We regularly come to God with our dirty clothing, and He cleans it for us through Jesus’ death and resurrection. If we ask Him, the Holy Spirit helps us iron out the wrinkles of life so we can live more like Jesus, and maybe not mess things up so much up the next time. Of course, being sinful people, we’ll always have personal laundry to do this side of heaven.
        A stretch of a metaphor? Perhaps, but one that comes to mind without fail every time I set up the board and plug in the iron. But don’t misunderstand me. I am not looking for business like I was back in the days when three to four dollars a week was respectable spending money for a college boy just off the farm.

“Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)

Rev. Bob Tasler,

Monday, July 24, 2017


        How often have you heard it said, “You get what you pay for.” But old Ernie Johnson didn’t think it was true. He’d always bought on the cheap side because he truly believed “expensive” was only made so by the greed of the seller. “There isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the most expensive one and the cheapest.” he’d often said. And Ernie was proud his philosophy hadn’t ever been proven wrong (except a few times he won’t talk about).
        One day, as he was getting ready to join his wife who’d gone ahead to visit her sister, Ernie saw she’d already taken their only suitcase, so he went to town to buy a new one. At a crossroads along the way, he saw a pickup loaded with items and a sign, “FOR SALE.” So Ernie stopped to see what they had. And there it was, a brand new zipper suitcase. It was a big one and Ernie knew he could put a lot in it.
        Imagine how fast he got out his wallet when he saw the price tag - $4.89! He gave the guy a $5 dollar bill (“Keep the change, Bud”), took it home, packed it tight, and the next morning had a friend take him to the bus station (“Why drive when you have friends?”) Ernie proudly handed his new suitcase to the bus driver who tagged it and tossed it by the storage door where it promptly exploded! All the zippers on his new $5 suitcase (both of them) had ripped open at once and Ernie’s private things went flying everywhere. Totally embarrassed as he picked up his things, Ernie was certain he heard someone say, “You get what you pay for!”
        There is a time, however, when that saying is completely untrue. It is when it is applied to forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness comes to us free, with no price tag for us to pay. Jesus has already paid the price in full on Calvary’s cross, and it’s the most expensive price of all because it cost Him His life. Yet our Lord didn’t quibble about the expense. He didn’t complain about the price. He just paid it. And because He did, we are blessed forever.
         The apostle John has written, “The blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) Because Jesus died and rose again, all believers get the precious gift of eternal life.

Thanks be to God WE get what HE paid for.

Rev. Bob Tasler,

Monday, July 17, 2017


        Summer is travel time for many of us with vacations, weddings, camping trips and going to the lake or the mountains to escape the heat. I got a note from a sister-in-law who travels a lot to her family, and she suggested maybe I should write a short devotional booklet for travelers. I may just do that. If so, I might include the following thoughts:
        Despite our modern means of rapid travel, there are some similarities with traveling in days of old when people rode in wagons, on animals or even walked. Moses led his people through the wilderness for 40 years, but I wonder how he might have dealt with a modern airport terminal. Since he'd never been to Denver International before, he might wonder where is that rock to hit to get a drink of water. Or if and when his flight is delayed, he might have wondered where there’s a cave to bed down for the night. Or a private place on the floor behind some fake green bushes.
        What little manna and quail he’d get would come from those boring little bags of peanuts and pretzels showered upon him, but only during the flight. And while Moses did have to fight a few hostile tribes now and then, he didn’t have to deal with TSA and their ever-growing list of airport security measures. Being required to take off certain clothing might have moved him to draw his sword in protest, that is, if it hadn’t already been taken from him before he got to the X-Ray machine.
        If Moses were herding his favorite camels on an interstate, he’d have to deal with trucks, speeding drivers and road construction. Perhaps he’d get a citation from the Highway Patrol, strategically parked to keep caravans from entering construction zones without “Slow-Moving Vehicle” signs on the back of his animals. It’s certain they wouldn’t give him any speeding tickets. 
        We are all travelers in life, making our way between the infinities, from birth to death and beyond. Praise be to God He promises to go with us as we travel, no matter where we are. Jesus is our constant companion, reminding us we need not fear, for there is no condemnation for those who trust Him. 
        Even that $450 speeding ticket can’t deter us from getting to our goal, our Heavenly Home. “Lo, I am with you always,” He said, “Even unto the end of your journey.” (Matthew 28:20, PBV)

Be sure to study your Road Map and keep it with you on your trip!

Rev. Bob Tasler,

Monday, July 10, 2017


        Last Tuesday, July 4, 2017, the pre-game ceremony between the Colorado Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds began with the announcement, “There will be no vocal soloist for the National Anthem. The audience is invited to sing along as it is played by Stewart Boone.” 
        While the anthem has been played many times at baseball games by many instrumentalists, few would do it as memorably as Mr. Boone, age 92, sitting in his wheelchair and proudly wearing his American Legion uniform. 
        Boone served in World War Two, part of the 924th Field Artillery Battalion that fought in the 1944-45 Battle of the Bulge. It was Germany’s last effort to defeat the Allies, and became one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Boone’s 99th Infantry Division lost 59 of its 70 American soldiers, and whenever Boone plays his trumpet for public occasions, it is in memory of the Army buddies he lost there. “I have a little job that’s ongoing in creating memories for those who have served,” he said. 
        Stewart Boone began playing the trumpet at age 5, using an instrument his father received as payment for work. By 14, he was playing for military funerals, and he estimates in the years since then he’s played the National Anthem and “Taps” more than 1,200 times for public events. “I play every opportunity I get,” he said. One could see his pride, as he sat erect in his wheelchair and proudly played our nation’s song with hardly a mistake. 
        Having also played a band instrument and knowing the breath control it requires, I couldn’t help being amazed at the quality of his performance. I wondered whether I, twenty years younger than he, would still have enough lung power left to play as confidently as he did. 
        The Apostle Paul told the Colossian Christians in chapter 3, verse 17, Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” 
        I do not know Mr. Boone’s religious beliefs, but being part of the “Greatest Generation” as he is, I would imagine part of his motivation is to give thanks to God that he made it home alive after that terrible battle. His playing certainly honors those who have served as he did, especially those who didn’t make it home. 

What can you do today to give thanks to God in the name of Jesus?

Rev. Bob Tasler, www.bobtasler.come 

Monday, July 3, 2017


        Ernie Johnson, Jr. is a sportscaster and son of Ernie Johnson, Sr., former Major League relief pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves. Senior played alongside teammates Warren Spahn and Hank Aaron, and pitched against the likes of Stan Musial, Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson. He later went to the broadcast booth and took many opportunities to share some amazing moments with his listeners.
        Senior’s favorite story, however, wasn’t about the giants of baseball, but about his son Junior when the boy was in PeeWee baseball. It happened during a break in a sandlot game when the ball had bounced over the fence into the lot next door. The coach, pitcher and infielders had finished their conference on the mound, and were getting ready to play when someone noticed two of their outfielders had gone missing. 
        Junior, the center fielder, and the left fielder had climbed the fence to retrieve the missing baseball when something over there caught their eye, a ripe blackberry patch. So while the infielders had been getting instruction from the coach, the two outfielders were harvesting whatever delicious fruit they could reach with their skinny arms. 
        This delay later became known the Johnsons as the “blackberry moment.” It represented a time of briefly stepping away from the game (i.e. job, meeting, difficult task, or other pressing matter at hand) to follow something more interesting, unexpected and better. 
        Have you ever had a “blackberry moment” in your life? Was there a time you were side-tracked by the unexpected and were blessed by it? Or maybe you’ve taken a chance briefly doing something seemingly less important but much better, more fun or fulfilling? 
        From time to time our Lord places in front of us certain people, events or sights that may never come again, and our reaching out to them becomes a lasting blessing or memory. Like the time in 1968 I happened to be in Washington, DC, picking up a friend, and ended up standing along the Reflection Pool across from the Lincoln Memorial with tens of thousands of others as a motorcade carrying the body of Robert F. Kennedy passed by. Or the Sunday I sat down in the only empty chair in a Bible Class, right next to a pretty woman in a green dress who later became my wife. 
        God gives us occasional opportunities with blessings that may never come again. It could be lending a helpful hand to someone in need, or speaking a kind word to a stranger, or giving an unexpected but needed gift. Will we step aside from the normal and seize the “blackberry moment” or let it pass us by? Moses told his people during the sabbatical (seventh) year to forgive a debt, or help neighbor in need, And the Lord your God will bless you, as He promised you.” (Deuteronomy 15:6)

Enjoy your Fourth of July,

Rev. Bob Tasler,
(Story of the Johnsons from Reader’s Digest, July/August, 2017, p 36-38)