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Hortiphobia is a fear of gardening. It usually stems from a propensity to avoid tedious work, but some are coupled with “unresolved” tendencies that are rooted in notions that prevent clear and simple contingencies. These fears can grow out of proportion and interrupt fruitful exchanges and endeavors.

Now let’s simplify things. What are you really afraid of in the garden: snakes, lizards, spiders or weeds, thorns, wisteria? Maybe you are apprehensive about pruning or transplanting or fertilizing. Do you neglect watering by waiting on the rain? Who cares if the lawn is mowed? Maybe you would rather not sweat, or perspire? Ha! Ha!

Sweat is sweet when fulfilling a task

Listen, examine, is that hard you ask?

Yes it’s tough to plant a tree,

Especially in the heat of day you see.

Why not plan your tasks in the cool?

Reward yourself, remember school?

Do your job the best you can,

Complete it well, now you’re the “man” (or “woman”).

So how do you overcome hortiphobia? According to WebMD Inc. a phobic person needs correction in thinking. Deep and slow breathing helps one relax and prepare to rethink their fears. “The more you know,” says Herskowitz, the less you imagine.” (

The Apostle Paul told Timothy: “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.” (II Tim. 1:7, NKJV). The gospel of Christ Jesus gives life.

Make your soul “blossom” by replacing fear of gardening with love and hope for a fruitful season by God’s grace, and make your garden have a destination…

Put plants in the ground,

Garden, don’t frown.

Breathe a little while

Express your own style.

Know what to do,

Step one, then two.

Plants in the ground,

Share love all around.

Tommy Taylor, Effingham Taylor, The Rappin’ Rotarian, March 13, 2010


Redemption, Nehemiah 5:8
August 22, 2010

(written for Edward Wells to present to Church of Parkland for Tommy Taylor)

In our studies in Nehemiah we have “unpacked” about five and a half chapters. His name means “Jehovah Comforts”. God comforted Nehemiah and His mighty hand was upon his mission to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, inspite of opposition. Tobiah, Sanballat and others mocked and maligned him and threatened military force to thwart his efforts of reconstruction. They did not want the city to be rebuilt after the 70-year captivity. The Babylonians had destroyed the city and taken the people into refuge into what is present day Iraq. Like Daniel (and Joseph), God’s sovereign plan included a place of leadership for Nehemiah. As cupbearer to King Ataxerxes of Persia he had direct access to him. In his humble prayer (he was a model prayer warrior) he asked God for success before the king to rebuild the wall and it was granted. He proved to be a wise builder and comforted the people regarding the opposition.

Besides the external opposition, Nehemiah faced something even more dangerous. Who knows the answer, class? Yes, it was opposition from within. Seeds of pride, jealousy, and mistreatment were permeating the people of Judah. The nobles and rulers were exacting usury on the people to the point of taking their mortgaged land and even making slaves of some during the famine and government taxation. Now let us read from chapter 5: 6-13, “Then I was angry when I heard their outcry…”

Did Nehemiah really consult with himself? The answer is yes. Did he condemn the nobles and rulers? Yes again. Can you tell, Tommy is giving you true and false questions? Does Nehemiah demand that they “redeem” themselves? Yes, by giving back the slaves, mortgaged lands, crops, money, and produce. What would you have done? Remember Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world and the people who dwell therein.” Since all belongs to God, we must be good stewards of such as we have, “…doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). Were the people really willing to give back? True. But Nehemiah made them take an oath before the priests. The author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” was on TBN this past week. I think his name is Jollie. He said, “A setback is a setup for a comeback.” Not bad. Think about Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” How is God causing things to work together for good in your life? Nehemiah saw God’s work. The people had setbacks but God gave them comebacks.

Last week we introduced the subject of redemption. Do you understand it? Let us consider this vast doctrine. The Hebrew word used for redeem here in Neh. 5:8 is ganah which means “to acquire” and is similar to gaal which means “to free (by avenging or repaying). Nehemiah uses padah, “to free, redeem” (Young’s Concordance, pages 799-800) in 1:10 praying “And they are Thy servants and Thy people whom Thou didst redeem by Thy great power and by Thy strong hand.” Nehemiah is probably referring to Exodus 15 where Moses and the sons of Israel sang the song of the redeemed. In verse 13 we read “In Thy lovingkindness Thou hast led the people whom Thou hast redeemed…” In Exodus 14:30 Moses records: “Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.” Who knows where they were? Right, the Red Sea. Dr. Schofield has as excellent note on this verse: “The word ‘saved’ is a translation of the Hebrew word yasha, the root of the name Joshua which, in turn, is an abbreviation of Jehoshua meaning Jehovah saves. Joshua is the Hebrew form of Jesus, and Christ was named Jesus, ‘for it is He who will save His people from their sins’ (Matt.1:21). The divine deliverance to which this verse refers is a remarkable illustration of redemption provided by Christ (New Schofield Study Bible, P.108).”

The same word gaal is used in Ruth 4:4-17 when Boaz takes his place as a kinsman-redeemer for Naomi and Ruth becomes his wife. (Read passage) Do you see how the sovereign plan of salvation was working? Our Lord is represented by Boaz and Ruth is typical of believers. What a picture of redemption!

Now turn to Romans 3:21-25 (Read). Notice verse 24 : “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” The Greek word for redemption here is apolutrosis which means “a loosing away”. The Hebrew- Greek Study Bible describes this word: “…from the preposition apo, from, and lutrosis, redemption …” redemption carries the idea of deliverance, but deliverance at a price that was paid. As sinners, we had to be ransomed from sin’s domain by the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He freed us from enslavement to sin. As a result we must Serve and Obey Him being zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:11-14, Read). Do you see how God is using Redemption to purify us for Himself?

Fred Kosin comments on Romans 3:24 in His October 29 reading from “Blessings All Mine With 10,000 Besides!” : “God’s plan of salvation was conceived before man sinned. In fact, the means of salvation and the ones who were to be included were arranged [or chosen] before the foundation of the world…Redemption took place as ‘Christ died for our sins.’ Anyone who receives Christ stands before God justified, because full redemption is in Christ. To believe in Christ is to be given all the adequacy of the sacrifice of Christ. God sees the death [and resurrection] of His Son as sufficient [or propitious] for my sin. God responds to my faith [ which is His gift} by declaring me righteous in Christ. I stand justified.” Fred shared this paper with me regarding our redemption. (pass out copies). Study this for next time. Fred spoke on this at Savannah Grove Baptist Church this year.

Thomas P. Taylor
August 20, 2010

Power of the Peach

Some agree the peach is good,
It’s good to taste and good for life.
But could it affect the length of life?

For life, God gives to those in Christ.*
In Christ, honor parents for length of days.*
Come length of days with humility and trust.*
Our days were numbered before our birth.*

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”*

So maybe the peach can affect longevity,
But only by the grace of God.

If you had the last peach,
Would you save it?
If you took it to the beach,
Would you freeze it?
If you held it out of reach,
Would you keep it?
If you used it to help you teach,
Would you share it?

*John 6: 40, Eph. 6:2-3, Pro. 22:4, Ps.139:16, Pro. 3:5-6

Thomas P. Taylor, August 6, 2010

Are You Gardening?

Are you gardening, are you gardening?

My dear friend, my dear friend.

Breathe the air, plants give it,

God alone has made it.

Garden for life, garden for life…
To the tune of “Are You Sleeping?”

Tommy Taylor
Effingham Taylor,
The Rappin’ Rotarian
Psalm 24:1
April 4, 2009

The Gift of Love

Oh how joyous the Christmas season seems with lights, decorations, concerts, tasty foods, and parties. But it is such a time of great stress, stress for going, doing and not having. Yet having the Gift of Love is formidable and comforting. No activities or objects can surpass the value of the Love Gift. This Love Gift is from God who has demonstrated it in the sending of His own Son, Jesus Christ. He alone could grant to us access to God by satisfying His Righteous requirement concerning the payment of our sin.
As the express image of God, Christ became incarnate for the suffering and tasting of death for everyone who believes, and He conquered sin and death by His resurrection and exaltation to Glory.

Three of Jesus’ disciples asked Him questions in John 14. Christ had explained that He was going to prepare a place for us and then return for us. But Thomas wanted to know the way there. Jesus replied: “I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but through Me” (v.6). Such a “narrow” way of salvation is a source of great controversy in the world which wants to invoke all sorts of ways to “reach” God.

Phillip asked Jesus to show us the Father and we will be satisfied. Jesus said to him: “have I been with you so long and yet you have not known Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (vs. 8-9). Yes, Jesus is God. He is Immanuel- God with us. He is Messiah- The Annointed One. He is Lord- The Self-existent and Self-sufficient One.

He is Savior-of our souls. He is Prophet, High Priest and King. He is the Creator, Sustainer, and Owner of the universe, and much more than words can convey. By God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone we have all the blessings and heritage of God. Those who have been “chosen from the beginning through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (II Thes. 2:13) know their destiny, Eternal Life. What a Gift of Love?

Judas (not Iscariot) asked the third question. “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world. Jesus answered and said to him, ‘if anyone loves Me, he will keep My words, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him’ “(Jn. 14:22-23). Since we have “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Col.1:27), we understand that the Holy Spirit indwells us and empowers us to contend for the faith.

Paul told Titus in chapter 2:11-14 “ For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men…” This is the Gift of Love, Christ Jesus our Lord. He describes what sort of people we should be…” zealous for good deeds.” Since He has freely given to us all things should we be vigorous in our giving and serving? Reflecting this Gift of Love and the unfathomable riches of Christ according to God’s grace is our daily mission..

For the praise of the glory of His grace…
Tommy Taylor

Worship For Life

Praise the lord with all your heart,
Pray to Him before you start.

Read His Word and you will know
How to laud Him, let it show.

Careful how you speak and sing,
He is worthy, the best refrain.

Sacrifice of lips and life,
Cleanse yourself and put away strife.

Jesus came in lowly birth
For salvation on the earth.

Poured out His life, the cross-made clear,
God was pleased to crush Him there.

Victory over sin foretold,
The tomb and grave could never hold.

Christ is Lord and Savior too,
Hail our God and King for you.

Splendor, honor, and majesty
Belong to Him in royalty.

Love and mercy from Him come,
Peace and hope and joy for some.

Loving kindness, compassion are new,
Every morning His faithfulness too.

Grow, bear fruit, prosper like a tree,
Share with others, prosperity.

Heaven and nature bless His name,
Saints on earth, do the same.

By His Spirit give thanks to Him,
Worship for life, our holy hymn.

Thomas P. Taylor

How’s your S.A.T?

Your Spiritual Attitude Test that is..
Your Speech, Actions, Thoughts.
Every day God proves our faith for his glory. How did you score today?

Read Psalms 19:14, Col. 3:17, I Cor. 10:31

Before you can begin to take the S.A.T. you must know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we shall walk in them.” (Eph. 2:8-10, NASV)

Have you noticed “God’s Billboard” lately? The sky, especially the dawn and sunset. Read Ps. 19:1 and Ps. 65:8

Need a lift? Read the “sandwich” Psalm. (Ps. 139)

Priestly Service, Recipes for Life

The calling of God to salvation includes the call to priestly service. As believer-priests we can enjoy the recipes for life in obedience to our Lord. Our service pivots on holiness and obedience. Throughout the history of God’s people, Israel, we read of rebellion and failure, resulting in stern discipline from the Lord. We are warned that this is not a recipe for life (I Corn. 10). Ezekiel was given special revelation concerning the millennial kingdom. In chapter 44 he describes the standards governing the Levitical priests, which compares to those in the O.T. in Leviticus 21 and 22. The Lord established the priesthood after He gave an opportunity for Israel to be collective priests. “If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant then you shall be My own possession among the people for all the earth is mine and you shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Needless to say, Israel failed to meet the standards and God ordained Aaron’s family to be the priestly line. Throughout the history of Israel, the levitical priests rebelled to meet the standards God required. Their last chance is prophesied in Ezekiel 44 where they will serve Christ in the millennium offering sacrificial worship as a memorial to his death, somewhat like what we practice with the Lord’s Supper. The physical sacrifices will however be emphasized once again.

For the “church age” we have a spiritual priesthood. Jesus Christ is our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18). The priesthood was changed and so was the law also. Christ descended from the tribe of Judah, which had no reference from Moses concerning the priesthood. So Christ arose as High Priest after a new order in “the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of the law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life.” For it is witnessed of Him, “Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Even so Christ brought “better hope for which we draw near to God…so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant” (Heb. 7:11-22). Christ instituted this new covenant at the Lord Supper. (Lk. 22:19-20) He confirmed it with His resurrection and the Holy Spirit seals us with his unction. God’s word is being written in our hearts, rather than just on tablets of stone. Israel will see the fruition of the new covenant when Christ returns to the earth in full glory and majesty. (Jer. 31 and Heb. 8)

As for our priesthood in the “Church Age,” “God has chosen you from the beginning for sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth…that we may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thes. 2:13,14). We …”as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Here’s one recipe for life: …”abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul…keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles…” (I Pet. 2:5,9,11,12) for God’s glory. These earthen vessels of our body contain our soul, which is being transformed into His image from glory to glory. Although our body is decaying with cracks & wrinkles God’s glory reflects through us more by a daily renewing of our spirit with the Word, and there awaits for us an “exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (I Cor. 3,4). Our goal and recipe for life is to be like Christ, from one level of manifesting Him in our life to the next level. Christ is to be reflected in our life full of the fruit of the spirit, which consists of nine “flavors”: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22). These are part of one fruit.

Since God provides “everything for life and godliness” (II Pet.1:4), we must depend on His Spirit to lead us. We must “inch” along like an “inch worm with steadfastness and confidence that He Who began this work in us will accomplish His purpose (Is. 46:10).

The millennial priestly duties in Ezekiel 44 include 15 criteria. Most of these relate spiritually to the believer-priest.

Tommy Taylor