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A Dog Story

Norman Bridwell wrote a dog story. It was not an ordinary story but one about a giant red dog. The name of the book is Clifford, the Big Red Dog. It’s a story for children, but this bedtime storybook affects people as they grow into adulthood. Bridwell gets fan mail and tries to answer each letter. One even pushed him to dedicate one of his books to a child whom he never met. What would motivate such an action? Bridwell explained: “He struck me as being very special. His mother later wrote and told me that the dedication made him feel like a star.” Everyone needs to feel like a star. Lost in a world of nameless faces, we want someone to notice, care, and love. That’s what God does for us. He puts every human being in the spotlight. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) While it is true that Jesus died for the world, it’s much more intimate than that. He died for you, to take away your sins, to make you his child. While a dog story can help a child feel like a star, Christ gives each one even more. God loves you, yes, you! -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2021-10-25T10:17:51-05:00October 25th, 2021|Blog|

The Summit

The world has 14 mountain peaks over 26,000. Many seek to climb them all. Yet, only 44 people have climbed all fourteen. One of them is Ed Viesturs. In 1993, Ed, without the help of supplemental oxygen, achieved the “central summit” of the 14th-highest peak. It was close enough to count. But across a narrow spine of 300 feet was the true summit of the mountain. Yet, it seemed suicidal to try. It took eight more years and a dozen more climbs before Ed inched his way to the true summit. As Australian explorer Damien Gildea said, “People are stopping short because it’s too hard. And I say, that’s not really a good excuse for a climber.” Do you climb as high as you can go? Paul was a climber. He gave up fame and family approval to pursue Christ and preach the gospel. He did it because something was more than “good enough.” He told the Philippians: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13–14) Has your faith grown into a convenience comfortableness? Perhaps you have decided that “far enough” is enough for God. Yet, if you are a genuine spiritual climber, ask yourself if that's a good excuse. Where are you on the mountain of spiritual growth today? -Robert G. Taylor-  

By |2021-10-18T14:33:24-05:00October 18th, 2021|Blog|

The Strong Weakling

Noriyuki was only 2 years old when a rare disease gripped his body. He developed spinal tuberculosis. He spent the next 9 years in the hospital. At age 11, doctors had given up and told him he would never walk again. One doctor took a chance and fused four vertebrae in his spine. He did not know if it would work or not. But Nuriyuki did learn to walk. He became an engineer but dreamed of becoming a comedian. After walking away from his job, he joined the Groundlings, an improv comedy group in Los Angeles. Out of his disability, he found a unique ability. What crippled him gave him stamina. Paul knew that. He had something that crippled him, a condition he hid under the moniker of “thorn in the flesh.” Prayer did not work to remove the pain. Instead, God told him how to grow strong. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) We find ourselves beaten to the ground only to believe we cannot rise. It is then that God extends his hand to lift. What happened to Nuriyki? You may know him as an Oscar-nominated actor. Most know Nuriyuki Morita, also known as Pat to many as Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid. Weakness shapes the strongest people. Will you let God shape you? -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2021-10-11T19:02:51-05:00October 11th, 2021|Blog|

TMI

Most know the expression “TMI” stands for “too much information.” It usually refers to information that is too sensitive or personal to share. Yet, the “much” needs our focus. Information floods our world. How much information? Today the daily volume of emails, texts, videos, and posts exceeds the number of stars by 40 times. Some estimate that the same number of words ever spoken will happen every quarter-hour within three years. With so much information, why is there so much foolishness and ignorance? Because we share the data created by people rather than finding wisdom in the eternal. Paul walked among philosophers, the learned of his day. He trained as a rabbi with deep knowledge of Jewish tradition. Against this backdrop, Paul knew the limitations of man’s thinking. He told the Corinthians:  “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20) God provides what we need to live, not only for today but forever. The world’s sharing is nothing more than the pooling of ignorance. We don’t need more information, but we do need more wisdom. Start listening for God’s mind in the world rather than the bytes and bits that make up our days. -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2021-10-04T13:31:56-05:00October 4th, 2021|Blog|

Googling God

In 1966, the number of people who believed in God was staggering. Over 97% of the American people said they did. Time passed, and 60 years later, the number had fallen by a third. So people today go looking for answers. And where else does a modern turn for his answers? Google. Its artificial intelligence doing brute force calculations feeds up answers. But AI (artificial intelligence) has become the god that tells us what to eat, what to wear, and how to think. But that the power comes humans carving out the electronic hieroglyphics of hexadecimal. You could say, “Hey Google, what should I do with my life?” But your answer would not be God’s answer. We now reflect a more ancient age that Paul observed. “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:22–23) As much as technology aids our lives, it is not a substitute for the Maker of life. If you want to know what God thinks, don’t ask Google. Ask God. He gives a better answer. -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2021-10-04T18:03:22-05:00September 27th, 2021|Blog|

The Happy Man

By all accounts, Eddie Jaku should have lived a miserable life. The 101-year-old man has a different title. He is “the happiest man in the world.” Jaku described himself as German first and Jewish second. In 1939, Jaku watched Jewish stores and synagogues burn due to Nazi atrocities. When he returned home from school, authorities sent him to Buchenwald concentration camp. He escaped, but was arrested again and sent to Dachau. But he survived. After the war, he found his wife and started his family. That family now includes many great-grandchildren, whom he calls “his blessings.” One of the significant errors of life is that circumstances shape our happiness. Paul knew differently. He found joy amid desperate circumstances. Out of prison, he preached: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4) No matter what happens in your life, joy comes from God, not ease. When life feels miserable, take the time to rejoice. It’s his great gift. -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2021-09-20T17:26:39-05:00September 20th, 2021|Blog|

Only One

Terry Wogan knows what it’s like to speak to multitudes. Wogan is a veteran BBC broadcaster. For forty years, he has hosted the Radio 2 breakfast show. It has quite a following. Most surveys say the audience is over nine million listeners. But that’s not how he sees it. An interviewer asked him, “how many listeners do you have?” “Only one.” He explained his answer. Even though 9 million people listened, Wogan spoke to every listener as if they were the only one. That is what made him listenable. The world comprises 7.7 billion people scattered over the globe. But God doesn’t deal with humanity, only individuals. Jesus reminded his listeners: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6–7) When God speaks through his word, he is not speaking to humanity. He’s talking to you. It is the one by one who God wants to redeem. He wants individuals to obey him. You are his only audience. It is the one by one who God wants to save. When you read your Bible, realize that God is talking only to you. Now, will you hear it? -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2021-09-13T12:15:43-05:00September 13th, 2021|Blog|

Redemption

You can’t miss Tyrone Lamont Allen with his prominent face tattoo. It made him look like the “most likely” suspect to the police. He was arrested and jailed for a bank robbery committed years before. The judge saw more than a crime. He saw a young man who had spent three years working to help young people stay away from the same offense that he had committed and wished he hadn’t. The judge wanted to give him another chance. Allen made this statement to the court: “I’m here to accept responsibility for my actions. I come from a really hard background and am trying to change. People never gave up on me when I gave up on myself. They pushed me to be a better person. And today, I know I’m a better person.” Redemption came because he wanted to change. In John 8, Jesus faced a snarling mob wanting to make a woman a pawn in a power play. Do they stone her for adultery, or was Jesus saying, “ignore the law.” He told them, “let him without sin cast the first stone.” It cleared the square of accusers. The woman stood alone. Jesus asked if anyone condemned her and, then spoke words of redemption: “She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”” (John 8:11). God takes the sinner, buys him back from sin, and then points him in the right direction. Redemption is a second chance when we don’t deserve one. How will you use your redemption? -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2021-08-30T13:25:20-05:00August 30th, 2021|Blog|

The Wrong Word

Sometimes, the wrong word causes embarrassment. But on another occasion, it almost caused a calamity. At Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, a flight controller assigned an EasyJet flight headed to Spain to prepare for takeoff on runway 09r. The parallel runway, 09L was clear for the landing a United Airlines jet coming from New York. As the United plan approached, the radio crackled with instructions. But the controller said the wrong thing. He told the pilot to land on 09R, on a head-on collision with the other jet. The EasyJet pilot asked the obvious question, “why?” It was then, that the controller caught his mistake and waved off the incoming plane. The two airliners were just 300 feet from disaster. Words can either connect people or destroy connections, depending on their use or abuse. The wise man counseled, “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 29:20) To speak without sifting your language is courting disaster. Stop and ask, “do I need to say that?” Then, your well-formed word will say what you intend to say. -Robert G. Taylor-  

By |2021-08-23T14:57:23-05:00August 23rd, 2021|Blog|

4000 Weeks

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-  

By |2021-08-16T11:47:08-05:00August 16th, 2021|Blog|
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