A Father’s Voice

Imagine you go to the eye doctor, who asks you to read the chart. There is a large “E” at the top. To do so, it must be four times larger, about half the size of the wall. You cannot read it. Now, imagine skiing with that kind of vision. Would you? Fifteen-year-old Jacob Smith does. His vision is four times higher than “legally blind.” How can he ski? His brother helps him to the top of the hill. Then, he carries a two-way radio that brings his father’s voice, and that voice guides him down the mountain. Jacob must trust his father. How much? “I mean,” says Jacob, “enough to turn right when he tells me to.” We share a similar experience. Our alpine slope is real life where human instinct fails us. How do we make decisions in a complex world, or do we love those who hurt us or respond with compassion? Jesus told his followers, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27, ESV) No matter how competent we feel, we are blind to how to live. The devil whispers in our lives, and the tug of life’s lusts are constant. We are going through life needing guidance. Faith means admitting to your blindness. Listen to the voice. You listen to his voice enough to turn when he says to turn. It will tell you how to live, how to love, and how to worship. Can you hear your Father’s voice? -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2022-07-28T14:55:47-05:00July 28th, 2022|Blog|

Resume for Heaven

Beatrice Fediuk died in Winnipeg at the age of 94. She was neither well-known nor a society standout. But when the Winnipeg Free Press printed her obituary, everyone noticed. She wrote it herself. Instead of an obituary, she called it her resume for heaven. It began, "Dear Lord, please accept my application for Eternal Life." The column told of her birth on October 27, 1922, to her parents. As with most obituaries, it had a list of survivors, including a husband, daughter, and grandchildren. Beatrice shared memories. "Lord, you know that (as a teacher) I never had any 'teacher's pets.' Rather, I put my heart into teaching those with learning challenges, or difficult family situations. It was here that I feel I did my best work. … I also continued volunteer work, knitting scarves for underprivileged children." It concluded with, "Lord, I hope that you will find that I have met my Objectives and deserve a place in Your heavenly home. You know where to find me to further discuss my qualifications." The truth is we all write an obituary with our lives. Most write it with an eye on the earth left behind. Yet, the best ones are written with an eye toward eternity. Jesus said, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16, ESV) When lights shine today, God prepares a place in heaven. What will go in your obituary?   -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2022-06-23T12:53:58-05:00June 23rd, 2022|Blog|

Normal Evil

Evil has a face, and it looks normal. If you could personify evil, you could not find a better poster boy than Adolf Eichmann. He coined the term “final solution” and the method that led to the Holocaust. His plan took six million men, women, and children to gas ovens for extermination. Eichmann was found and tried for his crimes. One writer came to see what kind of man this was. He expected sinister and twisted. Instead, he found him ordinary and unremarkable. Eichmann never considered what he did evil, but only his duty to obey the leaders of his party. He refused to believe he engaged in evil. We would ask, “what makes a person do that?” Perhaps we should pose it to the person staring at us in our mirrors. Why do ordinary people find themselves caught in the trap of the devil? The Psalmist asked it. His answer is this: “For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.” (Psalm 36:2, ESV) If we never examine ourselves critically, we accept our behavior without question. We “flatter ourselves” by saying, “we are good people caught in a cruel world.” Yet, the world is not outside of ourselves but inside. For the architect of the Holocaust, “normal” does not come to mind. But is that not what we use to cleanse ourselves of responsibility? -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2022-06-16T18:59:46-05:00June 16th, 2022|Blog|

Vox Populi

To whom do you listen? For many, it is to gain the pulse of the majority, a concept captured by the Latin phrase “Vox populi” or “the voice of the people.” Starting around 1940, George Gallup began polling to find out the opinions and attitudes of people. It establishes a norm. In 1863, the people’s voice ridiculed a little speech. It was short, just 287 words. Some said the address was hard to understand and did not say anything. The speech was the Gettysburg Address. It stood the test of time and outlived all the critics. Imagine had Lincoln had listened to them. Would he have written one of the great masterpieces in oratorical history? We face the same problem. Moderns equate the truth to what most people believe. Today, the voice of the people wants to update God and his word. Through reinterpretation and mental sleight-of-hand, they change the terms of scripture to be palatable. It was the same way in the beginning. The Jewish leaders tried to silence the preaching of the cross, of which they were guilty. But Peter stood firm. “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29, ESV) When we try to make truth palatable to others, when attraction and numbers replace conviction and truth, don’t listen to the vox populi. Stay with God. God will be your only friend, and that is enough. -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2022-05-30T18:27:08-05:00May 12th, 2022|Blog|

Happy Mother’s Day

No other task is so under-appreciated and quickly passed over as motherhood. Even a mother who works outside of the home works her most important task is at home. Noses need wiping, and diapers require changing. A toddler peppering a woman with the staccato of “why” chews into sanity. Ask a mother how she is after being up with a sick child at night, and you will probably get a faint smile and a yawn-laced “I’m fine.” A mother does not raise a child to adulthood. She presents him to eternity—crafting in open laps and dirty cereal bowls. No one works harder at a task with more significant consequences. Even though man carved Mother’s Day into the second Sunday in May, it captured the heart of God, for you read of the Hannahs and the Marys, the easily forgotten bearers and shapers of life. So, today, we do more than applaud mothers and pin a corsage on a lapel. We stop and say, “thank you for giving to the Lord as well as your family.” Even if no one else knows what you do, the Lord does. -Robert G. Taylor-  

By |2022-05-06T14:27:43-05:00May 6th, 2022|Blog|

The Stuck Signal

Dave Welding has a problem. He can only listen to one station. He has a Mazda that, for some reason, had the “connectivity master unit” fried. Now, his clock doesn’t work, his navigation system is dark, and his Bluetooth is becoming a faded memory. But the one that bothers him most is now he can only listen to Seattle station KUOW, a talk channel. He has no other options. Something happens when a life hears only one station, the one the world plays. It absorbs the negative, and the soul becomes cynical. Our society bombards us with alarming messages, from politics to war to finger-wagging protestors of all stripes. No wonder we have a world find with so much tension. Paul reminds us that the messages we hear constantly reshape our hearts. He instructs: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8–9) While the Mazda has no other choice, you and I do. Change the channel your soul listens to. You don’t have to keep listening to the junk. -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2022-04-28T16:11:09-05:00April 28th, 2022|Blog|

The Meal

Claybourne Elder is not a typical Broadway actor. He and four-year-old son Bo makes a monthly date at a diner for breakfast. While they are eating, Bo watches the others and finally says, “that’s him.” Then, Elder quietly pays for the stranger’s meal. It started when he was a starving actor. He watched a play in cheap seats. When a stranger came to him and told him, “You look like you were enjoying the show more than the people in the expensive seats.” The man gave him $200 to buy good seats at a Broadway sold-out musical. From that moment, Elder seeks out people to show silent kindness. He gives away tickets to people who cannot afford them. Paul knew what Elder had learned. He reminds the Ephesians: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) Christ showed us the ultimate kindness. Indeed, we can offer a little kindness to others because of God’s gift. Elder keeps giving way tickets and paying for meals. He received, so he gives. Perhaps, we can, too. -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2022-03-13T20:29:50-05:00March 13th, 2022|Blog|

Substitutes

All faced the problem during the pandemic. How do you get food from the grocery store? And perhaps, you share my experience. You often did not get what you ordered, but received a substitute. The experience of Ajanay Barnes was the worst. They had a yen for strawberry shortcake ice cream, so they placed an order through Instacart. But, instead of the ice cream, they received sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast rolls. In spiritual affairs, a substitute is not just displeasing to the palate, but dangerous to the soul. It happens to the truth. We seek the truth and hear something else. Isaiah was a prophet witnessing the spiritual blight brought on by the priests of Judah. When he told the people the truth, the priests turned their minds with interpretations. So, Isaiah warned: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20, ESV) Our world is full of spiritual substitutes. We hear experts quoted rather than the text speaking. The Bible gets distorted through ego-laden spokesmen. If you get breakfast sandwiches rather than ice cream, you might complain. But when it comes to your soul, demand a genuine message. -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2022-02-24T10:40:21-06:00February 24th, 2022|Blog|

Your Truth

In 2018. Oprah Winfrey accepted an award at the Golden Globes with this speech: “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” “Your truth.” Listen carefully to those two words. They have formed the core value of American society. Truth is relative to people. Each decides what is right and wrong, accurate and false. Pundits spin the narrative to what suits their popularity. When a person is convinced of “his truth,” he can justify any sin or remake any lie into the truth. Paul warned the Colossians about shifty thinking. “See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) When we exchange “the truth” for “my truth,” we lose the truth. When we judge our lives against the cultural standard, not the holy one, we lose all connection to God, reality, and hope. What do you choose to believe? Your truth or God’s truth? -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2022-02-16T10:48:56-06:00February 16th, 2022|Blog|

Autopilot

Unless you drive a Tesla, you are unaware of Full Self-Driving. It is a set of software instructions telling the car to “drive itself.” It sounds innocent enough unless the software is in control. It will roll through stop signs in one mode, regardless of other traffic. It’s not exactly the safest stance. We can say, “that’s crazy. Why give a car that much control of itself?” But remember, God put that same control in us. We can either follow God’s way or do as we please. Most think they can steer their own lives fine. But the wise man noted the results of this “self-driving” attitude in a man. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12) When we take the wheel of our own lives and tell God, “Don’t worry, I have this,” it is time to worry. We will create a spiritual danger to ourselves and others. While Tesla is “repairing” that feature, we must turn to God and say, “I trust you more than me. Let me follow your lead.” Or, are you living your life on a lousy autopilot? -Robert G. Taylor-

By |2022-02-16T10:47:46-06:00February 10th, 2022|Blog|
Go to Top