So many come to a church building but have little personal connection with the God they come to worship. How can we bring back the luster of God’s presence in our lives on a daily basis?
We view our lives through the yardstick of years. We mark them with birthday candles on a cake or a “date of birth” on official documents. We need to change our measure of life. What happens when you bring it down to weeks? The average human being lives 4000 weeks. The number seems large until you start to use them. If you get out of college at 21, you have used over a quarter of them. Retirement at 65 means you have burned through 3380 weeks. For me, I have used up 3428 weeks. It was Moses that gave voice to the swiftness of life. “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10) Then he counsels, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Take a moment and let this sink in. Time passes faster than we imagine (and seems to speed up with the years). Unless we take stock of our lives in the time we have, we may miss what we can do for the Lord. So, what will you do with this week? -Robert G. Taylor-
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Many marriages found difficult times in the last year. How do we make marriage the cornerstone of an effective family and spiritual life?
For fifty years, Europe has sped down the autobahn of secular thought. Cathedrals do not contain worshippers, but sightseers. That is especially true about East Berlin. Freed from communist rule, it embraced an “anything goes” view of the world. It is not too surprising a new worship center opened called The House of One. It is not what you expect from a place that proclaims it is a place to worship. Using the codewords of “relevance” and “connections,” The House of One embraces all beliefs. The door is open to God, Jesus, Allah, and whatever philosophical system someone holds in its walls. Those who believe in “one God” receive an icy reception. One theologian at the center said, “This is not a club for monotheistic religions—we want others to join us.” The danger of believing as you want is ever-present. It was chiseled in marble or cast in bronze in the ancient world. Now it slips through world views taken for granted. But, the truth that gets ignored is the truth that can save. Jesus told his disciples: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) While those words form too narrow a thought for the world, they serve as the door to eternity. We must choose the way to follow. -Robert G. Taylor-
Sometimes, turn about is fair play, as the saying goes. That’s what happened to two con men. The Spaniards attempted to sell a a supposed original work of the Spanish painter Goya. A man posing as an Arab sheik contacted them and paid 1.9 million dollars to a deal broker. When the sellers tried to deposit the money, the Geneva bank, they used to tell them it was counterfeit. A con man had conned the con men. John warned his readers about the danger of counterfeits. He told them, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) God’s message is accurate, but human portrayals might be nothing more than fake. Before you believe something as truth, lay it against the Bible. If it doesn’t measure square, reject it. After all, con men are everywhere. -Robert G. Taylor-
Hearing loss would seem a curse to a musician, but it could be a gift. At age 30, Beethoven complained that he was losing his hearing. “From a distance, I do not hear the high notes of the instruments and the singers’ voices.” It enraged him. At times he even contemplated suicide. He would lay on the floor with a pencil clenched in his teeth. With it, he would bang on the keys to get the vibration through the pencil. Some pianos he left in ruins. It would prove to be a gift. After his hearing loss, Beethoven created his best work, including his Ninth Symphony. One scholar wrote: “It seems a mystery that Beethoven became more original and brilliant as a composer in inverse proportion to his ability to hear. Deafness freed Beethoven as a composer because he no longer had society’s soundtrack in his ears.” The noise of our world rattles our souls. We cannot think, grow, or respond to God over the din of competing voices. Jesus knew no soul develops in the noise. With crowds thronging and requests flowing constantly, he told his disciples: “And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” (Mark 6:31) In our world, we need to turn off our phones, leave Netflix dark, and spend time alone with the Master. As Beethoven learned, it might be what our souls need most. -Robert G. Taylor-
Some think that we just continue as we always have? But God is a God of bringing back to life that which is dead and decaying. How can God revive us again?
MyShake is an app with a single job—to warn of an earthquake. It works through receiving information from local authorities and then alerts people to the impending earthquake. This allows for people to quickly find a quick spot to endure the shaking. Residents of the Pacific Northwest are alerted to massive quakes. These alerts allow for up to a minute and a half preparations. Earthquakes originating from the Cascadia Subduction Zone can send shock waves and tsunamis as far as Japan. Wouldn’t you want to receive a warning before an earthquake? Then, why do people not heed warnings of even more profound events? In Luke 16, Jesus tells the story of the reversal of fortunes involving the beggar, named Lazarus and the unnamed man of wealth. The rich man finds his torment too much to bear and begs Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers. But Abraham refuses. “He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ” (Luke 16:31) God provides the warning of judgment and destiny through the words of Scripture. We heed it to our delight and ignore it to our peril. Are you listening to the alarms? -Robert G. Taylor-
An evening of singing with a devotional from Kirk Israel.