Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/29/09

Nice, rain-washed air, a gentle breeze, but it is dark when I walk. Good with the not so good, eh? Just like all of life, and we live it under God’s care and direction.

The letter to the Corinthians is full of advice, counsel, direction, and some scolding, to a young and growing group of believers who are experiencing problems along the way, just as we do today. And St Paul, inspired by the Holy Ghost, offers counsel.

In chapter 6 of the first latter the Apostle is dealing with court cases, and tells them not to take everything to court but settle things on their own. His question is: “If you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church. I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one wise enough to settle a dispute among the brothers? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?” v. 4.5.

Earlier, in v. 2, he wrote, ”Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” Wow, what a statement. But we don’t see saints in ruling places, do we? Well, let’s stop a bit and remember what the New Testament means by ‘saint’. It is not speaking of some sanctimonious person who is ‘high and mighty’ in his own eyes.

No, the Bible means ‘separated people' people who are “in the world, but not of the world”. People who live, not driven by the wants and needs in the world around them, but led by the Spirit. They spend their lives doing thing like working hard, being dependable, raising godly children, doing their task in daily life without praise, praying faithfully for others, tending to the needs of people they see around them. They teach Sunday School, carry meals to shut-ins, drive seniors to doctors appointments, do countless other kindnesses without seeking, or getting, praise, or often not even a quiet word of thanks.

And the world takes note of such. These ‘saints’ do judge the world. Their lives and minds give a standard for judging of things. These saints have set moral and spiritual standards of behavior by which things are judged correctly. In the Roman world it was the custom to expose unwanted babies so that they died. They had no market value. The saints judged that world and found all babies were worthy before God.

The saints judged the world in the matter of human slavery and that trade was obliterated.

The saints bring into the eye of the world the clear standards of the Word of God. That’s how it happens. “So that they will see your good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven”.

St. Paul ends this little section by reminding them that, although they had been open and desperate sinners, now they are “Washed, sanctified, justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” V,. 11. So the truth is, our lives DO make a difference, St. Paul says (1 Thess.4,11) “to walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” That, let that be our goal as well.

GPD 9/29/09

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/26/09

The dry weather brought us a dead pine tree, and the association sent a card asking its removal. Fire hazard etc. So we contacted this group working down the street for an estimate, he came, made an estimate, I, the reader, had just read somewhere that today everything is negotiable, so I negotiated, and was successful. The tree is gone, the check book is lighter, but the powers that be were satisfied.

We’ve really been enjoying Fall weather with some gentle rains. Now they predict temps in the 90’s again! But the blessing of the year is the fact that it has been very quiet this Hurricane season. We are now on the downward side, so we can pray it will continue quiet for the rest of the Season. Small blessings, but surely appreciated

One quote strikes me as so true. It says, “Life is So Daily”.

It’s true, isn’t it? A child starts walking, not with giant strides, but little steps, falling often, getting up and trying again. Maybe the first steps holding on the daddy’s hand, or using an end table as support. But baby steps. Small advantage each time, growth is like that, Daily.

Mary Higgins Clark started writing while she was working full time to support her family. She would get up at 5 a.m. to write a page or two. Baby steps, a page at a time, and now, large success.

Louis LaMour, who was regarded as one of the most successful writers of Western novels, started by writing for magazines, being rejected dozens of times, until he finally got the formula and story right.

We know this and accept it as a truth, yet we often do not like what it means for our daily life.

I believe psalm 73 is helpful in Christian living. The Psalmist is a believer who says, “Surely, God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart”. But then he admits that “my feet had almost slipped, I had nearly lost my foothold” v.2 Why? “I envied the arrogant, and saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles, their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens of the common man; they are not plagued by human ills.. . .They say, ‘How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?’ This is what the wicked are like, always carefree, they increase in wealth”. Vv. 3-5.11.12.

The rest of the verses read like our own lament, doesn’t it? “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me”. V,16, “TILL I entered the sanctuary of God, then I understood their final destiny”. V.17. And when he understands what life is really like with God, he ends it by saying, with a grateful sigh: “As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge. I will tell of all your deeds.” V.28. That’s a Psalm to reassure us as we continue to grow in faith and grace under God.

GPD 9/26/09

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/23/09

Right on schedule, the air is bracing this morning, Fall rains come with the cooler weather, and they are both welcome. The Fall weather always reminds me of the Poem, “When the frost is on the pumpkin”. Here are some lines from Riley’s poem.

When the frost is on the punkin, and the fodders in the shock,
And you hear the hyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey- cock. . .
O, it’s then the time a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock”

That fifth word in the second line is a special sound. I heard it once in my lifetime when a friend took me out to hunt squirrels. We were in the woods at sunrise, and that turkey came strutting out and made that sound and then gobbled. Well, that was the high point of that day. No, we did not get any squirrels either.

Then the news of the day greets us with unrest in the middle East, settlement talks in Palestine, argument over Afghanistan, do we leave, or send more troops, and then, much closer to home, the floods in Georgia, Alabama, parts of Tennessee and Carolina.

The deaths reported, and the misery caused by high waters that simply inundate and quietly destroy or damage beyond repair, a lifetime of possessions and property.

And I remember not too long ago this same area was stricken by drought. The lakes were becoming dry, and the Governor of Georgia stood on the capital steps and prayed for rain.

And my mind goes back to that early morning in those Missouri woods, setting on a fallen tree, enjoying a cup of hot coffee, just waiting, watching, and relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet that will soon be shattered again the sounds of a busy day.

And I wish – but then, like David, one must turn to the psalms for a Word of wisdom, comfort, strength for the problems and troubles of life.

Psalm 73 is such a word. It struggle with life. Why do the rich seem to have everything going for them? “No struggles, their bodies are healthy and strong, free from the burdens common to man, not plagued by human ills. . .they say, “Does the Most High have knowledge?” vv.4-6,11. Questions that bother us all.

The solution? He goes to the House of the Lord and hears what God says, and that soothes his troubled mind and gives understanding to a seeking heart. For he hears again, and takes to heart, that the Lord is indeed God. Yes, “The heavens declare the glory of God”, and “there is no speech, or language, where their voice is not heard’. Ps. 19,1.3. Let that be a Word for today.

GPD 9/23/09

Monday, September 21, 2009

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/21/09

Since Fall begins tomorrow, I thought this morning the air would be “bracing’ and walking would be a delight. Instead, it was warm, humid, almost like a July day. But we await better days quite soon, and maybe the promised rain as well.

But the weather did not keep me from thinking deep thoughts (That’s the kind I think early in the morning, deep stuff). And what engaged my attention lately is the kind of speech – or is it really a Creech – that we are starting to use regularly, and without much thought. It seems to flow out of our mouth without our being conscious of what we are really saying. What really turned my mind to this was the picture on the cover of TIME magazine showing a Glenn Beck with his tongue stickling out. I understand he is the latest rage in “talk show hosts” who is heard by millions. He joins voices such as Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, among others. All tend to be opinionated, and loud.

And Shakespeare with King Lear comes to mind. He enters, carrying his dead wife in his arms, and says of her, “Her voice was ever soft, gentle, and low, an excellent thing in woman”.

James writes in the third chapter, "Not one person can tame the tongue, restless evil, full of deadly poison”. 3,8. Jesus “What goes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and that makes a person unclean. Yes, out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, stealing, lies, slander. These are the things that make a person unclean. But eating with unwashed hands does not make a person unclean”. Matthew 15, 18 – 20.

So I turned to the Proverbs, these brief and wise sayings, for what they might say of speech (These are quotes from God’s Word to the Nations). Here are some chosen at random.

“A truthful witness speaks honestly, but a lying witness speaks deceitfully. Careless words stab like swords, but the words of wise people bring healing" 12, 17.18.

“Watch your mouth and you’ll protect your life, but talk a lot, invite ruin” 13,3

“A man may think all his ways are pure, but the Lord weighs the heart” 16,2

“Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so quit before the quarrel starts”. 17,14.

“A fool’s mouth ruins him, and his lips trap him”. 18,7.

“If you answer before you listen, it is stupid and shameful” 18,13.

“A gossip goes around and tells secrets, don’t have anything to do with a person whose mouth is always open”.20,19.

And finally, this word
“Don’t add anything to what He says, or He will correct you,
And you will be found a liar.” 30,6.

To sum it all up, when we become careless with our speech, truth often takes a back seat, and we are No Blessing or honor in God’s eyes. The God who sent His only Son to die on the cross for us. May He keep our tongue and bless our speech.

GPD 9/21/09

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/18/09

“To obey is better than sacrifice,
And to hearken is better than the fat of rams,
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry”. 1 Samuel 15,22.23.

That’s the lesson King Saul learned when he did not carry out the command of God to the letter, but saved the king of the Amalekites and fat cattle and sheep. V.21. Because Saul had a better idea, And for this, God tore the kingdom from Saul.

A friend spent 24 years as a chaplain, and, speaking of Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness, says, “I don’t envy him, moving such a large group of people.” How did he do it? By following God’s plans and orders to the letter, “exactly like the pattern the Lord had shown Moses.” Numbers 8,4b.

Read Numbers chapter 2, for instance. The Lord laid out the plan for their camp around the tent of meeting. Moses and Aaron camped to the east of the tabernacle. The plan included who was to do what when they took the tabernacle down and moved it, and who carried out and in what order, and even how. 7,9. The plan also laid out who would lead off when they left the camp, and how they knew when to move. See Numbers chapter 10.

But then, Numbers is one of those boring sections of the bible nobody reads much. As a matter of fact, Numbers chapter 7 is regarded by many as the most boring chapter of the Bible. Have you ever read all 89 verses and asked, “Why is this here?”

I think one lesson we draw is that of obedience. They did exactly what God directed and in the order He laid out. AND, the chapter tells me very clearly, “Before God we are all equal”. The largest tribe brought exactly what the very smallest tribe offered. That’s rather comforting to know, that you and I, gifted differently with different lives and pursuits and abilities, are equal before God.

AND, I can approach God, you can approach God, just as Moses did, and be heard. Moses did have problems. Once we hear him cry, “Here I am, among the six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for the whole month?’” (11,21).

Hear yourself cry in prayer, “Lord, I have this problem, I have this care, I have this worry, and it’s too much”. Then hear the same answer Moses got. “Is the Lord’s arm too short?” 11,23. It wasn’t, was it, for God did supply them with meat.

That brings me to the point about obedience. This is the very God who supplies all our needs. When Paul moaned about his cross, the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”, 2 Cor. 12,9. And this is the God who sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for My sins, as well as yours, and says, “I have called thee by name, Thou art mine” and washed made clean in Holy Baptism to become His righteous child. “He saved us. Not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Ghost.” Titus 3,5

That is the God whose Word we obey, ever and always. And that is why it is so important to obey His Word.

GPS 9/18/09

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/16/09

“Why are you cast down,
O my soul?
Why disquieted within me?
Hope thou in God,
For I shall yet praise Him,
Who is My Savior and my God.” Ps. 42,5.

We all have moments described there, don’t we? Times and moments when it seems just too much, and we weary of the daily grind, the burden seems just too much to bear. But the psalmist points out that we shall “yet praise Him, our Savior and God” who IS. Therefore, he offers hope.

We might put it, “there’s light at the end of the tunnel”.

The Woodlands is on I 45, the stretch that is the busiest in all of the State. So the morning and evening traffic to get there is heavy. So, to offer some solution, the powers that be decided to add another lane to the Parkway which runs right behind our house. We pictured trees cut down, bushes destroyed, the roadway practically running through our bedroom. So they banged and worked and the trees are still there, the bushes still shelter, and it was not as bad as we expected. And traffic runs so smoothly we hardly notice it.

Humans worry and fret over stuff like that all the time because we are human. And we sing,

“Jesus, and shall it ever be,
A mortal man ashamed of Thee?
Ashamed of Thee, whom angels praise,
Whose glories shine through endless days?”

And why not sing, listen to Psalm 44, “1. O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: 2 you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free; 3 for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them”.

When those moments come, when we see no end to the problems that worry us, then remember what St. Paul writes, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15,3.

So sing with gusto and joy,

Ashamed of Jesus! sooner far,
Let evening blush to own a star.
He sheds the beams of light divine
O’er this benighted soul of mine.”

GPD 9/16/09

Monday, September 14, 2009

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/14/09

The Bible describes Moses as “humbler man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth”. Numbers 12,3. Yet God said of Moses, “With him I speak face to face, clearly, and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord”. V.8 Moses was the one who led Israel for 40 years, faced them down when they danced around an idol, prayed for them when they rebelled, soothed and comforted, fed and led them through every danger to the very edge of their new homeland.

So how bold are you in your faith life? How firm is the conviction, and especially the ‘face’ you use daily in your life?

In the latest Witness (pg.D), Dr. Hirsch writes of a man who was taking a training course in counseling. This man, Peter, was asked, “Peter, how are you, as a Christian, gong to keep your values out of therapy when working with clients who are not Christian?”. He had been asked this before by professors, but this time it came from a fellow student.

Peter, after thought, replied, “That’s a good question and needs to be considered. However, today I wonder why I have had this question posed many times, and yet never have I heard anyone ask the alternate question posed to my atheistic and agnostic friends. So I simply ask you a question, how will you non-Christians keep your values out of therapy when working with Christian clients.”

So how do we respond? Paul gives us one answer in Romans 12,2, “Do not be conformed to this world. But be transformed by the renewing on your minds.” And there is a hidden spring we drink of, and that is the Word of God, the source for our strength and the strength of our wisdom. We stand boldly in the faith, for such standing God will enrich and bless. For we are secure, armed, as Paul also taught us, and ready for the battle. For Jesus Christ Himself prayed for us, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also you have given me in the World. They are in the world, but not of the world.” John 17.

So we stand, because, as St. Paul writes to the Church at Corinth, “The time is short”, 1 Cor. 7,29, and we remember, that “the form of this world is passing away.” V.31.

So, be bold In the faith. Isaiah describes Jesus as “setting his face like a flint”. And it is Jesus who is the Savior, not the world around us.

GPD 9/14/09

Friday, September 11, 2009

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/11/09

The rain it falleth on the just,
But also on the unjust fella,
But mostly on the just because,
The unjust stole the just’s umbrella.

But the rain, it
Falleth as a gentle rain from heaven,
Upon the earth beneath.

So it does, gently, day long, refreshing the landscape, greening grasses, making us say large prayers of thanks to God Who does all things in His Time.

Recently I read an article by Marilyn McEntyre, who wrote, “Caring for Words in a Culture of lies”. She begins the article by quoting Zechariah, that old testament prophet. “Speak the Truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true, and make peace”. Zech. 8,16 ESV. Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “Tell the truth, and you won’t have to try to remember what you DID say”. Because, as the authors of the Power of Excellence point out, “The reality is, if we tell the truth, we only have to tell the truth once. If we lie, we have to keep lying forever.” Quoting Rabbi Dosick.

So in the article I started with, the author writes “this solid piece of advice from the old Testament prophet seems like an ethical commonplace. “Tell the Truth” is one of the first moral principles we learn as children. Be fair. Resolve conflicts in honest conversation. But following such advice, she says, can be difficult and complicated in our age when new ways of expressing things seem to come every day. And in this, we Christians have to find the way to speak the Truth of the Gospel to our age, an age that is so in desperate need of this Saving Gospel.

In our day, she writes, that lies are hard to identify because they are so evasive and come disguised in imprecision or posing as enthusiasm in well-placed propaganda. As example she notes that spring colors are “essential” or a school is dedicated to an undefined “excellence”, or that a group trip was simply “awesome” or an industry is practicing what is described as “cost effective”. This might just mean, “We are firing 10% of the workforce”. And using the term “collateral damage” spares us the discomfort of seeing bloody bodies of women and headless children blown apart by their use of the “smart bomb”. So we drive a truck loaded with explosives and park it near a building to destroy it, and everything else becomes “collateral damage”, too bad.

So caring for the words we use, and using them correctly, is simply a must. A look at the Scriptures gives is the proper example. In the Garden, the lord said, plainly, “Do not eat of it”. The message was plain. Both Adam and Eve understood it.
Then came Satan. He was imprecise, “Are you sure this is what God said”.
That is always an invitation to problems. When people today start using terms like “lifestyle” or “my rights”, look out! Look for what they mean. Usually what is meant, “we don’t want to follow the rules any more. They are too old fashioned and just do not suit the way we want to live.

Precision in language. Make it plain, as Nehemiah’s speakers did, so that he may run that readeth. And may God bless the doing.

GPD 9/11/09

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/8/09

Air was still this morning, so the walking was a bit so-so. It surely helps when there is a slight breeze. But the yellow boxes are on schedule, so there must be school today.

The culture, the society, we are living in is not friendly to our faith. Satan attacks, and his strategy is to find weaknesses and bore in. His question – the question he always uses – is, “Are you sure God said that?” For an example, just examine the many shadings and varieties of religion in existence today. Basically they fall by the wayside from truth just by that question, “Are you sure this is true?” Or “we are living in 2009, after all, and the world is different today”.
Fortunately, the Christian is prepared for such events by a wise and caring God. Do you really think that our Lord would send His own Son, Jesus Christ, to die for sinners, and then leave us to face Satin’s clever, and constant, attacks by ourselves? St. Paul writes, “God demonstrated His own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5, 7. He said, “At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” 5,6.

We are children of God by Holy Baptism. He paid a terrible price to win our salvation. We are His treasure, do you really think He would leave us by ourselves? Unarmed, helpless in the situation we are in when we are “in the world, but not of the world”. John 17,15.

St. Paul describes it in his letter to the Ephesians. He wrote it because their culture was antagonistic to their faith. So Paul writes, “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own.” Eph. 6,10.MSG. He then describes the weapons. “The belt of truth. . .the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the gospel of peace,. . the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD of God, And prayer.” 6,14-18.

Read the whole warning about this battle again in verses 10-20. The belt of truth is simply the truth God has given us plainly. So that we can see Satan’s offered lies easily. Being able to say “It is Written ” is always a good defense.

Then the “breastplate of righteousness”. The Apostle is speaking here of a righteousness that comes from outside of us. Gal. 3,7 describes it, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” In the letter to Corinth Paul wrote, “God made him to be sin for us who knew no sin. That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 1 Cor. 5,21.

So when the attack comes, and it will, and Satan says, “There you go, doing the same thing you said you wouldn’t. Do you really think God will listen to YOU?” You stand there armed with “the breastplate” for God has declared you are righteous.

And, “The sword of the spirit which is the Word of God”. It is the only way to fight. If you are not certain the WORD is totally true, if you do not believe it is inerrant, then you have a broken sword in your hand and are already defeated. But when you have it, like Luther you can take your stand. “HERE I STAND. I CAN DO NO OTHER”. Then the victory in Christ is ours. “He’s judged, the deed is done, The Kingdom ours remaineth”.

GPD 9/8/09

Monday, September 7, 2009

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/7/09

It’s so easy to be suspicious, isn’t it? To think the worst of things, to read the ill into any action. To point the finger, forgetting that four always point back to us. Jesus said this, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matt. 7, 1.2.

Several men, longtime friends and now all in businesses, had the pleasant habit of ending their week with a dinner together. Now and then they might have a guest, but members always tried to be here. This is a story I recently read, only names are changed. So this evening was nearing its end when one, a coin collector, said, “Today I bought this coin. It’s from the Civil war era and there are only three known to exists, one is in DC, this is the second, and nobody seems to know where the third coin is. I just bought it today.” And he passed it around for inspection. Several moments were spent on talking about coins and collecting, and then he said, “May I have my coin back”. And it was nowhere to be found. All remembered seeing it, but it was simply gone. So they said, “Well, each one will have to be searched”. Sounded fair to all except that night there was a guest, and he simply refused, remarking with some heat, “I will not be searched. I did not steal your coin, why should I be subject to this indignity?” There was protest, and each was searched, except the guest, and the coin was sill lost.

You could nearly feel, hovering over that guest, a dark cloud of suspicion. There were some murmurings about police when the waiter, in clearing the table, moved the pepper shaker to its usual place, and there was the coin. It had been covered by accident. Now that dark cloud was replaced by something like shame.

Then the guest explained. “I am a coin collector also, and on my way to this dinner I stopped at my dealers and bought this coin”. ( It was the third coin.). “Would you have accepted any explanation from me before?”

I am sure most of us have said, “I wish I hadn’t said that”. But just take this moral home, that words, like arrows shot into the air, fall to earth, we know not where. James said about the tongue“5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” James 3,5.6.

GPD 9/7/09

Friday, September 4, 2009

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/4/09

Just a smidgen of rain last night, gentle, wet down the grass, but that’s about it. They expect more today. There was lots of rain north and west of us though. We are thankful for this bit, washed away some dust.

May I just say your kind response to my latest Shade Tree was humbling, and of course, pleasing.

Here are some of the words you used. “Perceptive”, a “calm voice”, “reasoned sentiment”, "sensible advice”, and “a light in an often dark place.”

I am grateful that you do enjoy the postings, “makes my day”, one said. It helps me clarify my thoughts, and in that, usually turns me to the Wisdom of the lord God we worship.

So, the lord giving health, strength, and ready mind, I plan to keep it up at least for a while yet. And thank you so much for your interest.

May our God bless each daily.

GPD 9/4/09

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/2/09

These early mornings are nice, cool, quiet, and a slight breeze, and few yellow boxes trundle around to shatter the quiet. As a matter of fact, yesterday morning I nearly turned back to get a light sweater, but braved it out and soon warmed from the exercise. I was thinking of life in general – that’s what I do during these morning walks – and wondering just why I continue with preparing and sending Shade Tree Wisdom on a more or less regular basis.

Several articles about web logs, or Blogs, helped a bit. One article stressed the value for older folks in keeping them occupied and informed. The other article said that also, but also pointed out the damage that people can do by mindless babblings, delighting in harming by their endless and misinformed information.

So why do I do it. Well, it is hard work, to prepare articles that inform, or maybe brighten your day. But it keeps me from rusticating. One said, “It keeps me out of a cave, watching TV and just sitting”.

It keeps me in touch, the writing helps me clarify my own thinking, and maybe I can just throw a bit of light into your life as well. St. Paul once wrote, “I long to see you, so that I may impart some spiritual gift to make you strong, that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each others faith.” Romans 1,12.

Can we, whose souls are lighted,
With wisdom from on high,
Can we to men benighted,
The lamp of life deny?

One Christian helps another, youth offers strength and exuberance, age offers wisdom and caution, and the spiritual traffic goes both ways to God’s glory and their own growth. Maybe it’s also the feeling that St. Peter writes about when he was growing older. “I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know I will soon put it aside". 2 Peter 1,13.

Some stanzas from Longfellow’s A Psalm Of Life, seem fitting here.

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

And it gives me a little chance to comment on the passing scene, often sad, but often just funny.
So as long as God gives me the health and the strength, I shall probably continue these offerings.
And here is a bit of wisdom you won’t hear anywhere else. One retiree says to the other, “What I don’t understand is how I got over the hill without ever being on top?”, or this, The most exact computer is the stomach, it never misses a calorie.

May God bless your day.

GPD 9/2/09