- BILL TAYLOR
2017 - BILL TAYLOR
BY BILL TAYLOR AT SMASHWORDS
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thanks to Shila and Pragna for their encouragement and inspiration*
Hebrews 1 - 3: “The Son ( Jesus ) is the radiance of
God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining
all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification
for sins he sat down at the right hand of majesty in heaven”.
Recently I wrote a poem that I decided to preface this
book with. I have a friend who writes a daily “blog type” email
to a group of folks. He requested that his readers take a shot at
writing something of a personal nature in “poetry form” to share
with one another. I, not being a poet, decided to pass until I was
reminded by God that I’m not a writer either, but I write.
So, with my sincere apologies to “Mr. Shakespeare”
and with my reminder as motivation, I was once again overwhelmingly
reminded how wonderful my Jesus truly is. How immeasurably life
changing His love is. How earth shaking His reality is. How
all-encompassing His amazing grace is. How unfathomably deep His
compassion is. How radically different His heart is. A heart that saw
me as worthy of His attention. A heart I so love and desire above all
to emulate in my life.
Once finished my attempt at poetry, it seemed
interestingly applicable to the subject matter of our book. Thank you
Basil for your prompting and thank you God for your reminder that all
I do, I do “through” You! As I peruse the landscape of history I
stand fully aware that there has never been, nor never shall be,
another like You Jesus! I’m so very thankful that I know You as
“None Like You”
You’ve always been, and always shall be
What mind comprehends, such majesty
You’ve torn the curtain, allowing me sight
To behold through a cross, Your glorious light
A cross where my Jesus, expressed love complete
I am left with no option, but to fall at His feet
And fall I will, to worship and adore
The One who love me first, and will forevermore
Deserving I’m not, and yet loved with a grace
A grace when considered, brings tears to my face
Loved everlasting, with a promise You will
Complete what you’ve started, in a sinner named
Much less of me , and much more of You
Is the cry of my heart, in all that I do
I know You so well, as I do me
The me that must go, to make room for Thee
Whatever is needed, I invite You to do
For this simple reason, there is none like You!
If my desire to be like Jesus, it
would seem of paramount importance to know His true heart and
character. I know this: He’s nothing like me! I admire Him so
greatly for that very reason. This is truer than true: He is
As I study the scriptures from
beginning to end I discover the revelation of an amazing heart that
calls to me saying: “Following Me isn’t complicated Bill, but it
Demanding? Very! It will go
against every natural instinct I have as a human. It “demands” ME
getting over ME to the point where Jesus can impart his nature in me
as a replacement for my own. A “replacement” not a “co-habitor”!
That will translate into YOU
becoming more important to me than ME! My human nature is far too
fickle and inferior to produce such a superior outcome. This is the
non-negotiable aspect of my walk with God that can’t have “shared
supremacy” at its center if I am to know Him and His love for you,
as I so desire.
When I gaze upon Jesus I see
altogether loveliness awaiting my total immersion and conversion.
What an invitation our Lord has
offered me: All of Him for all of me! Equally so, all of Him for all
I’m simply not that enamored by
me to say “no thank you” to His invite! If there is a constant
refrain of “none like You” reverberating through my heart, then
tell me who else would I want to be like? The goal isn’t “fixed”
but rather “new”. “Brand New”! As my desire, it’s not a
better me I’m after, but a more accurate reflection of Him! While
sounding similar, those two aren’t the same and I know it.
To experience the “latter”, a
“real life” spiritual baptism must take place. A real dying to
self and a real resurrection in and through Jesus. A real ME saying
goodbye to ME, is of the utmost importance. Symbolism must be
replaced with reality as Jesus becomes the predominate and
determining voice in all things pertaining to my life.
As the great worship song declares
as a prayer: “My life is not my own, to You I belong, I give myself
away so You can use me”. That prayer comes complete with my
understanding that the “ME” factor in the equation must be
summarily dismissed. I will only get in the way. I will only
contaminate the desired beauty of the act itself. “A little leaven,
leavens the whole loaf”. I’m admittedly the “little leaven”.
To walk in a constant awareness of
my “purchased” status is emphatically important. It reminds me
that I’m “owned”. To emulate my Owner it seems obvious to me
that I must know the heart of the One who owns me.
Before “giving myself away” to
someone, it’s incumbent on me to thoroughly investigate the
fullness of what that someone is like, keeping in mind, Jesus was and
is the most radical One who has ever laid foot on this planet! The
question is: How different am I willing to be? God says: I will make
the changes but are you aware of the changes I will make?
Jesus Washed His
In chapter thirteen of the gospel
of John, we read the story of the “last supper”. Jesus knows this
will be His final opportunity pre-crucifixion to be with His
disciples. The timing is interesting in that “Passover” was soon
to be celebrated by the Jewish nation.
A Passover that for many hundreds
of years had always included a sacrificial lamb, emblematic as a
reminder of the time the angel of death “Passed Over” the homes
of the Israelites in Egypt as they painted the blood of a lamb on
But this Passover would be
different as Jesus would lay down His life as “The Sacrificial
Lamb”. He would be the fulfillment of all the symbolism that had
proceeded Him. Also interesting: One of the original stipulations
regarding “Passover” was, no foreigners allowed! You needed to be
Jewish or willing to become Jewish through the male surgery of
circumcision to participate.
Three years prior to this “last
supper”, John The Baptist introduced to all, in reference to Jesus:
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”. A
world that now included us. Foreigners from every nation, tribe and
tongue, now graciously included in the redemption plan of God! It’s
why we can shout with confidence: “Oh death where is thy sting, Oh
grave where is thy victory”! As foreigners we couldn’t say that,
but now as the adopted by God, we can and we should, at the top of
our lungs, shout it from the rooftops! The grave couldn’t hold our
Lord and nor can it hold us!
That night Jesus knew His time had come. A time that was
pre-destined from the beginning of time. In His darkest moments He
ministers to His disciples by washing their feet, which would not
have been the expected by His followers treatment. There wasn’t any
time prior that Jesus had done such a thing. The Holy Son of God,
washing mere mortals feet? Even our friend Peter tried to stop Jesus,
insisting himself to be unworthy of such a gesture.
But Jesus continued to the very last man, including
Judas! He looked into the eyes of the one He knew would betray Him
and washed his feet. Inconceivable don’t you think! The bible says:
“He loved “them” to the end”. I’m left wondering if “them”
Perhaps this is a pictorial of what Jesus meant when He
earlier said to love, bless, forgive, and pray for our enemies?
Perhaps knowing that the identity of His betrayer would soon be
realized by his other disciples, Jesus was leaving an
“un-conditional” standard of love for them to follow.
Knowing my Lord, I wouldn’t dismiss the idea too
quickly. Shortly after this moment of gracious surprise, Jesus
re-attached the ear of a soldier that Peter had removed with a sword.
A Roman Centurion who had come to arrest Him warranted His grace. Do
I need to mention: He loved me when I was my least lovable!
Only a few hours later, Jesus from a cross, with His
life draining out of Him, would with His final breath, pray for His
It had only been a week previous that Jesus had entered
Jerusalem with the multitudes waving palm branches with their shouts
of jubilation: “Hosanna, Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the
name of the Lord”. That vocabulary changed quickly and dramatically
to shouts of: “Crucify Him”, a few days later when the throngs
realized the king they wanted Jesus to be, wasn’t going to be to
King of Israel was their desire. One who would take down
their hated enemy Rome. “The King Of Kings” was His already
heavenly established mantel of wearing! Jesus made clear to all: “My
kingdom is not of this world”. Their response: “Sorry not good
enough for us, crucify Him”!
The bible describes Jesus with many descriptive phrases.
The hardest one for me to read? “A man of sorrows”. The climate
changes of His “fair weather” fan base, no doubt contributed to
those sorrows. But folks here’s the true beauty of our Lord. He was
never so sorrowful to stop loving! Amazing! Truly, there is none like
Must Be Stoned?
This Jesus we so love found himself in “strange
company” more often than not as He sojourned throughout His three
year ministry on earth.
The dregs of society were His devoted companions for the
most part. Fishermen, tax collectors, lepers, the blind, the disabled
and the religiously labelled unclean, represented the majority of His
congregational demographic. Quite the un-impressive group! To borrow
a wonderful Andy Stanley quote: “Those who were nothing like Him,
liked Him and He liked them”.
Jesus was perfectly comfortable in their company which I
find profoundly insightful. Combined with his discomfort regarding
the religious elite, we catch a glimpse into the beautiful heart of
our Lord. He came to seek and save those who were lost. The “dregs”
knew they were lost. The “religious folk” thought otherwise, thus
their lack of attendance and attention to His teachings.
As we ingest one biblical story after another concerning
our Lord’s interactions with people we notice, not a moment
invested in the mindsets of man, but rather heaven’s perspective
always being His ultimate and determining factor.
Man often has opinions based on conveniently incomplete
information while heaven knows all as would be the case in the story
of a woman caught in adultery.
To be clear: Accused and condemned are two very
different expressions with two very different results when Jesus
applies his insight and grace to the story.
John 8 - 2 > 11: “At dawn He ( Jesus ) appeared
again in the temple courts where all the people gathered around Him
and He sat to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees
brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the
group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act
of adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now,
what do You say? They were using this question as a trap in order to
have a basis of accusing Him.
To pause for a quick moment: The accusers see this as a
“no lose” proposition. If Jesus says “don’t stone her” then
He’s breaking the law of Moses. Gotcha! But even better, if He says
“stone her”, His compassion comes into question amongst those
present and the “win-win” scenario comes into play. They get rid
of the evidence of their own sin while soiling our Lord’s well
established reputation! “It doesn’t get better than this”, they
thought. They were very wrong as our story continues and confirms.
“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the
ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning Him He
straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is
without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”. Again He stooped
down and wrote on the ground. At this those who heard began to go
away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left,
with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked
her: “Woman where are they? Has no one condemned you?”. “No one
sir”, she said. “Then neither do I condemn you”, He declared.
“Now go and leave your life of sin”.
We believe the Lord’s writings on the ground included
the names of the accusers who had slept with the woman. Interestingly
they “all” left, the older ones first. With their sin revealed,
their win-win scenario had become their lose-lose nightmare. They had
dragged a woman, who they had abused and used, in front of a crowd to
humiliate her with the hope of trapping Jesus, and it was in fact
they, who became the humiliated and the trapped.
Jesus had restored the woman’s stolen dignity and sent
her on her way, having been justifiably accused, but not condemned.
This is who Jesus is! The restorer not the condemner. He’s a life
resurrector not a funeral director!
Amazingly in my opinion, throughout this entire story
the woman never defends herself. She’s not re-accusing her
accusers. She’s not presenting to Jesus the sixteen reasons for her
behavior. She simply throws herself at the merciful feet of Jesus and
He responds mercifully!
She arrives on the scene as a justifiably accused
adulterous sporting no excuses, and leaves a graciously forgiven
daughter of the Most High God and a co-heir of Christ, as she embarks
on her “new life”! Only the love of Jesus, applied to a contrite
heart, can change a person’s story that dramatically and quickly!
Truly, there is none like You Lord!
You Will Be With Me
Three crosses. Two belonging to men who are hanging
there for good reasons. They are guilty of their crimes and being
punished as such. But the One in the middle is sinless and perfect in
every way. He only did good throughout His now waning life. With mere
moments remaining in His grotesque ordeal a request is presented to
Jesus from one of the men suspended next to Him.
Luke 23 - 42 > 43: “Then he ( the criminal ) said,
“Jesus remember me when You come into Your kingdom”. Jesus
answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in
Folks, we can only imagine the quality of the heart that
would care about a common criminal in the middle of the worst day of
His life. In excruciating pain and with the life blood flowing from
His body, He’s still unable to consider “Himself” in the
equation. Earlier Jesus had said: “I came to serve not be served”,
and He stayed faithful to His calling with His final breath.
With forgiveness on His lips for His abusers, He
dismisses His spirit as a final act of confirmation that: “No man
takes My life, I lay it down and I will take it back up”! Which He
did as predicted on the third day, but not without first setting a
standard for those who would follow Him. To be like Me it can’t be
about you, but rather the one standing next to you!
“Do you still want to be like Me”? says Jesus. “Or
do you just want the cool stuff. The walking on water stuff. The
healing the sick stuff. The raising the dead stuff. The writing books
Not a decision of spiritual romanticism for me. It’s
deadly serious in that it involves my death so that Christ can become
“completely” alive in me. All of me for all of Him!
Oh I can fantasize how amazing it would have been to be
there at the tomb of Lazarus when he exited that place of death. To
be standing next to Peter on that water sends a euphoric chill of
excitement down my spiritual spine. How about being present when
Jesus touched those lepers making their skin as new as that of a
baby. WOW! Amazing no doubt.
But I don’t think that’s what Jesus is asking me. I
think His query is in regards to a cross that I was asked to “pick
up” and follow Him. “My cross” with my name on it which was
deemed the cost, of being His disciple.
I can sing about, “wanting to be like Jesus”, until
my tongue falls off. I can quote the great Apostle Paul: “I have
been crucified with Christ”, finishing it off with a hearty AMEN
But have I? Have “I” truly been voluntarily
dismissed and replaced by the person of Christ?
God is challenging me to count the cost with a full
understanding regarding the One I say I want to be like. Is Jesus the
healer, the water walker, and the resurrector? Absolutely!
But He’s also the One who hung on a cross selflessly,
only concerned for the one hanging next to Him. He’s the “forgiver”
from a cross. He’s the “servant” not the served. He’s the
washer of feet and asks me to wash yours. The question: Is that the
Jesus I want to be like because that’s who Jesus is?
Do I want that side of Jesus to be a dominate factor in
my life? Do I want to “withhold nothing” so that He can become
everything, knowing that everything includes His selfless entirety.
I don’t believe I get to pick and choose what parts of
Christ I find appealing, and then buy into just those. I don’t
believe the cross was meant to make me a consumer but rather an
Much of what I write is experiential and often recently
so. So the season I’m in, is as described in this book. I pray that
I would have the needed spiritual integrity to look into my Savior’s
eyes and declare with all the sincerity that my spirit can muster:
“Jesus, to the measure that I have received the fullness of Your
blessing in my life, I choose to be a giver by the same measure that
I have been a receiver. There is no part of me worthy of retaining,
if the cost is any part of You”.
I believe the surpassing worth awaiting my exclusion
from the equation, will allow me to agree experientially with Paul as
he declared: What I’ve lost I count as nothing! Paul lost “a lot”
so for him to be able to say what he said, just imagine the reward!
I want to know Christ. “All of Christ” and the power
of His resurrection. For a resurrection to be my reality, there must
be a death first! That’s not morbid news folks, but rather a
gloriously, by me awaited, net result!
There’s so much more of Christ to experience and I
know it in my soul. Much deeper waters for my immersion. Holy Spirit
continue to breath into the sails of my life pushing me closer to
Jesus and further away from myself! Take me to places in You I’ve
never been. This is my desire Lord!
E-BOOKS BY BILL TAYLOR*
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK ONE
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK TWO
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK THREE
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK FOUR
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK FIVE
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK SIX
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK SEVEN
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OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK NINE
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK TEN
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK ELEVEN
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK TWELVE
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK THIRTEEN
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK FOURTEEN
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK FIFTEEN
OF A SHEEP - THE SERIES - BOOK SIXTEEN
ROSE AND THE THORN
HEARTS - NO LIMITS
ROAD LESS TRAVELED
IN CHINA SHOPS
IS A JOURNEY
HEART IS SACRED
- IT’S A NEW DAY!
FRIEND - MY PEACE - MY LORD
DECIDE - CHOICES
REAR VIEW MIRROR
LOVE MADE PERFECT
GRACE - AMAZING SAVIOR
ME HOLY SPIRIT
- GOD IS NOT INTIMIDATED