Friday, January 29, 2010

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/29/10

“The best way to drive out the devil
If he will not yield to texts of Scripture,
Is to jeer and flout him, for he
Cannot bear scorn” – Luther
It was in l961 that C S Lewis first published “The Screwtape Letters”. Lewis writes from the perspective of a senior tempter giving advice to his young nephew about the best way to conduct a successful temptation. The book was widely received for what it was. And when one reads it, one can clearly see how subtle and sly Satan does his work.
His best work is done when he confuses or misleads people. His best question still is , “Has God really said that?” With the question the devil creates doubt, or even fear, and so does what he does best, leads astray.
Nehemiah, the king’s wine taster, heard the people that had returned to Jerusalem were not faring too well. So he asked leave to go and help. But first, He turned in prayer before asking for this favor. Well, he was allowed to go and help, and he built the wall of the city in 50 days. Some people opposed to this whole process tried their level best to lure Nehemiah away from the city. They came with all kinds of lures, maybe the most cutting was an “Open letter” describing how Nehemiah intended to make himself king. But in prayer, he withstood all temptations. His final word was, “Should such a man as I flee?”
Nehemiah understood, and he simply stood his ground on the basis of the truth he knew, that the King supported him, and that the allegations were simply untrue.
There lies the way. Stand on the truth you KNOW. The Lord’s promise is this: “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.” And St. John reminds us, "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous, who is the propitiation of our sin, but not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2.
That is the truth to cling to, so when temptation comes with its lures, resist it “And he will flee from you”. Swing the “Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” and stand safely always.
May God bless.
GPD 1/29/10

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/28/10

She was just doing her friends a favor, and so she spent the entire summer doing community service as a penance. Because Texas law dictates that having a learner’s permit allows only ONE passenger, and in the front seat only. She had given a lift to a second friend in the back seat, and was caught by an officer. Of course her friends felt sorry, but SHE was the one who paid by spending a summer not able to get a job, and doing Boring drudgery work.

Psalm 73 is a picture of how a Christian is tempted, and how he can keep from falling into the temptation’s snare. The psalm starts with a positive, “Truly, God is good to Israel, even to such as are of clean heart”. 73,1. There is a truth he knows so he begins with this in mind. But then see what happens to him? He begins to look at others, and sees how they have no problems, they prosper, “They are not in trouble as other men: v.5 And thy say “How does God know? . . .these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches”. V.11.12. This troubles him very much, for he says, “I have cleansed my heart in vain” v.13.

See the temptation? I’ve been a faithful Christian and what has it gotten me?

That’s how the devil does his work. He takes our eyes from the basic fact (God is good to Israel), and sets our minds to consider other things. St. Paul reminds us that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. Eph. 6,13.

But then he remembers the consequences, “I will offend against the generation of thy children” v.15. And there always are consequences. Maybe the crowd is partying through the night and you join them because “they’re all doing it.” But YOU have the headaches, the nauseous feeling, the misery. The Psalm remembers that. Then he goes to church, and there, in the Scriptures, he sees clearly “their end” v.17. He hangs on to the basic truth, the one fact he KNOWS to be correct, that “God is good to Israel.”

The Psalm is a picture of one man’s struggle to meet temptation, and to defeat it. Satan is real, and very active. So St. Paul gives us the weapons we need, Ephesians 6, 11 ff. James offers this advice, “resist the devil, and he will flee from you” James 4,7. And St. Peter says, “Your adversary, the devil, goes about, seeking whom he may devour” 1 Peter 5,8. And finally, remember that Jesus has promised, “I have overcome the world”.

So, use such a Psalm as 73 as a teaching, a warning, and a guide to overcome temptation. It will come, but God arms us to resist the devil. May God strengthen you in the battle always.

GPD 1/28/10

Monday, January 25, 2010

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/25/10

Rules are rules, or are they?

This Shade Tree Wisdom is sparked by Miss Manners' Sunday column. One item deals with the question, “At a dinner table, is the bread and butter plate on the left side of the dinner plate, or the right?” The questioner had been at a dinner where 80 people had used the plate on their right. Miss Manners' reply ”Even 80 wrongs don’t make a right”. The plate you use is on the left, so your water and wine glasses have room on the right. So 80 guests did it wrong. Well, 79 did, and the 80th had to fall in line if he wanted to use a plate too.

But none of them died of food poisoning or some other thing when they “sinned” that way.

To me, it brings up the matter of the Way of Salvation. Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, who suffered, died, and rose again for the ‘sins of the whole world’ as St. John said, claimed what? Why, He said and taught, “No one comes to the Father But By ME, since “I am The Way, the Truth, and the Life”.

But many deny that, or disclaim that, or sneer at the truth because “there are many ways to get there”, or “all roads lead to heaven’, or “I’m too good to be denied”. Or the one so often clung too, ‘That is too narrow. You’re being exclusive”. The world is full of such statements, and such false beliefs, and the devil jumps with glee at that.

And the end result of that is terrible, it is not heaven. It is not the place that Jesus tells us “I am, going to prepare a place for you, that where I am, you may be also.” John 14. This is a truth I believe now, and will believe so long as God allows me breath. And, Like St. Peter, I will always remind you of these things even though you are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body”. 2 Peter 1, 12.13.

In the other item Miss Manners is asked about dress for a funeral. This sparked by a letter stating, “I like to wear black for funerals because it suits my mood, and it’s a way for assembled group at services to express their sense of loss at the deceased”. But, she goes on, so many close friends of the departed seem to want to wear flowers and pastels with the idea, “he wanted us to celebrate life”. Miss Manners replied, in part, ”she is with you in the hope that her own death would not be greeted cheerfully”.

I am reminded of the mourning the Israelites did, for Moses, for Miriam, for Aaron etc. 30 days. That was the standards.

I don’t go to many funerals lately, but the dress expresses a sense of loss at the deceased. And after Lutheran funerals, friends often speak of the Christ the friend believed as his Savior. That really celebrates life, and that is the kind I would hope at my departure also. “He believed Jesus Christ died for Him”. That celebrates eternal life.

GPD 1/25/10

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/23/10

The sky is blue right now, and sun is shining, but forecasters speak of cloudy and maybe some rainy weather, and also getting a bit colder. But, after all, it is January. Sort of birthday month in the family.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and I was thinking of the Bible stories we learned in Sunday School. Daniel in the lion’s den, David and Goliath, Samson, and so many others. We thought them just stories, but they are much more than that. They are there, as St. Paul reminded, “For our learning, on whom the end of the age has come”, 1 Cor. 10,11, and stand there “for examples, to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did”. V.6. He is talking of the experiences of the Israelites when and after they left Egypt. Moses had the task of weaning them from the many gods of Egypt, each with a priesthood to tell how best to take advantage of that particular god, to seeing Jehovah as GOD alone.

Moses at Mt. Horeb brought the commandment that said, “No other God” and “No graven images”. There must have been murmuring and “what’s this about us serving God, we learned that they served Us. Moses directed them to the God they couldn’t touch, manipulate, direct, or even decipher. Just obey. The name could not be an object. God was a presence among them, to be worshipped, and obeyed. GOD alone.

Bible history shows they learned this only after much trial and trouble. Again and again they were lured into worship of Baal, Dagon and other gods of people around them, and through whose lands they traveled.

The lesson needs repeating, because mankind is prone to make its own god. We make a god we can manipulate, control, and be what we wish. That is not the God of the bible at all.

He is the One who sent His Son “To save the world”. John 3,17. He claims exclusivity and supremacy. He shares with no one. He stands as GOD Alone. And that needs to be taught, it needs to be heard clearly. The Psalm once said, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come”.Ps. 71,18.

That is always the task, to pass the teachings along. Generation to generation teaches. St. Peter said as long as he was on this earth, he would press this knowledge, St. John said that as well. As does every caring and serious Christian, want to pass this saving knowledge along to the next generation. So it has ever been, pray God so it shall ever be.

GPD 1/23/10

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/20/10

“And together they rode into the sunset”. To “Live happily ever after”. You’ve read those fairy tales too, where the prince finds the beautiful maiden, marries her, and “they lived happily ever after”.

Are you happy? I mean, given everything, are you happy? And what do we mean when we say, “I want them to be happy”.

Here’s an article saying we can do better for our children than to want them to be Happy. It starts when the 4 year old moans, “But I’m not happy”, and the parent goes to work to ‘fix’ that sad situation. The right answer would be, “So?” Let them learn there are hurts in life, there are things that do not work out as we want, there are bumps and bruises and failures. Let them learn, and find strength for living.

In this age, where there are fears and losses, teach them to find the strength to overcome the odds, and to go on with their lives. When a gardener moves his plants from the hothouse to the garden, he gives them some stress to strengthen them before setting them into the garden to grow and bear fruit.

Here’s an article in the Digest about being happy, and the essence of the advice is that the best way is to be outgoing and giving.

And isn’t that what Jesus has been teaching in the Bible, and the Apostle Paul as well?

Listen to His words: “I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. . .I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me”. Phil. 4, 11.13. “And having food and raiment, let us be herewith content’. 1 Tim 6,8. :And be content with such things as ye have, for He has said, never will I leave thee, never will I forsake thee.” Heb. 13,5.

We know that “Life is real, life is earnest”. And it is filled with setbacks as well as triumphs. It has its warm moments, as well as times of depression. But as the children of God, we can and should always turn to Him who has promised, “I will be with you, even to the end of the world.” That sends us along, happily doing what likes at hand to do, doing it with the skill and the will God grants us, and being thankful for serving Him And That makes us happy.

GPD 1/20/10

Monday, January 18, 2010

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/18/10

What a fine morning. Cool, windless, and quiet, not even any yellow boxes rumbling around on their errands. So I give thanks that God has allowed me this time for thought. Oh, here comes that little mutt again. Now and again he shows up, making it his business to check on every shadow and new bush planted, and then he disappears again. But he makes the walk sort of companionable and so safe!

And the disaster in Haiti is uppermost in most minds right now. Help is on the way, being sent from all around the globe, it seems. But just the logistics of getting help to where it is needed is overwhelming. President Obama has called on two former Presidents for help in raising funds for the relief effort. Both have responded with a quick, “What can we do? How can we help?” May the Lord lend wisdom and patience to this effort so that those who need help will receive it, and we also pray for the wisdom to establish government for the safety of the nation.

Here in Houston yesterday was a Marathon. There were over 25,000 runners from around the globe, and the first ran that 26 some miles in a little more than 2 hours. Others needed better than 5 to finish the race. More than 200,000 people watched, encouraged, offered water or juice along the way, and just gave encouragement by being there.

And I thought how needed that is, that business about encouraging another in their way. People are watching, everyday eyes see what is going on. Here is a fellow Christian facing some real heavy way, do we stand ready to either lend a helping hand, or at least speak a word of encouragement and a “Nice going”?

We had had a nice summer rain when I was growing up. Refreshing. But weeds also responded, and the thing to keep ahead of them was with a hoe to stir the soil. That was my job that morning. Hoe the kitchen garden. The rest were busy elsewhere. So I hoed, the sun was warm, the job was boring, but I knew mother had her eye on me, so I kept at it. The hours passed, and soon mother came out and rang the dinner bell. It would take a while to get in from the field, so she stepped through the gate, and checked my work. She was pleased. I had one row of beans to go, and she took her hoe, always ready at the gate, and started on the other end of that row. My pace picked up, she talked of this and that as we worked, and we soon met, finished. Just having some help made the job easier.

St. Paul speaks of this for the Christian. He writes, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, walking as children of God in this crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the Word of Life” Phil.2, 14-16.

That’s the word for this day for us, being encouragers, and making the life of others easier because we are here for them.

GPD 1/18/10

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/15/10

Quite pleasant this morning, no wind, higher temperature, rain had stopped for a bit, and I was late enough to find the bus loading in front of the house as I was starting out. I was tempted to give the old “Head ‘em up, Move ‘em out” cry that started the daily cattle drives that moved thousands of Texas longhorns to the railhead in Kansas and Nebraska.

But give me credit, I did not. No one of that age facing an hour on a bus, and, as it seems to him, grueling five hours in the classroom, then another bus ride to end the day is ready for any Texas range levity.

Rescue teams are on the scene, the Haitian airport has lights, and planes can land at night as well. Work is getting underway. Worldwide the response to the disaster in Haiti has been quick. But one hears of looting warehouses, goods stolen from needy people, often rescue efforts being hampered, and it saddens us. Here is felt need, great need, and the only result for some is “How can I profit from this?” Our President pledges many dollars, we can but pray it will reach the place where it is needed the most.

But let me shift to some good news. Ready?

The freeze was a blessing to inland waters, for it killed much of the invasive hydrilla, giant salvania, and water hyacinth. Such plants come from S. America and here they have no enemies to keep them in check. Howard Elder, of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Inland Fisheries Division said this recent frigid spell helps us a lot. “A good hard freeze can kill a lot more invasive plants than our crews ever could with herbicide." While the freeze kills much, it doesn’t kill them all, but it gives the crews “a little breathing room, giving them a chance to hit the plants left, hard.”

The freeze also killed invasive fish such as tilapia and armored catfish, species which compete with native fish, and, in the case of armored catfish, burrow into banks and accelerate erosion.

I can think of no better way to end this than to look to Psalm 8. Psalms 8:1-9 (KJV)
1 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

GPD 1/15/10

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/12/10

Ah, what a beautiful morning for a walk. Now when it’s this cold, one does not stroll. And there was a sliver of a moon hanging in the clear air which made it seem colder than it really was. You know, there is one thing I really missed these cold days, that’s my Cossack style fur hat. Ruth had given me one as a Christmas gift and I just loved that thing. Easily folded into a pocket, yet always ready for wear, and warm. That sliver of a moon hanging in the sky did seem to make it colder, as I said.

A telephone call informs me there is a break in a water main just north of us here. I imagine the crews are busy shutting off the flow and doing the work to repair that break, or are they standing there, waiting for a report from FEMA about disasters and wondering what to do. No, they are not waiting for someone somewhere to send a directive, they are doing the work that needs doing. A minute later an email shows a snowstorm in the UP of Michigan, a category five storm, and the people involved dug themselves out, helped stranded motorists, fed and sheltered them, and never asked the government for aid either.

I noticed the same thing happening in plane instances, it was the passengers who overwhelmed and restricted the danger. The government came later, made innocent people sit for hours needlessly, and then reported that “Your government will do what is needed to keep you from harm”.

And we wonder and ask God, “Why is this going on?” To find an answer to such a question we need only go to a brief Old Testament Book. Habakkuk. This prophet shows why such things go on, because he puzzles with the same question. “Why” he asks God, “And how long”. And the Lord tells him really you have seen nothing yet, because I am sending the Chaldeans to harass and overwhelm you. Why, because you never listened to me, and thought nothing would happen.

And that, it seems to me, is what is going on. God allows such things simply because we ignore His Word. Well, look at the Church, ordaining clergy that are gay, allowing women clergy, standing by as marriage is trampled and shunted aside, speaking no word about the language that seems to float out of every mouth. And we are asking, “WHY?”

In a TV interview someone asked Billy Graham’s daughter why a hurricane disaster happened, and she said, “We have made prayer in schools illegal, we have set aside the commandments, we have pushed God out of our public lives, and we wonder why?”

The Apostle John had seen much in a long life, and toward the end of it he write several letters. A line or two from one strikes me as useful for our daily selves. It is letter I, chapter 2, vv. 1.2. where He writes: 1 John 2:1-2 1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.“

In these strange times in which we live, I pray you will find that word useful for your evening devotion, to go to sleep knowing that Jesus Christ is the payment for the sins, mine, and that of everyone. And He is our Advocate, He pleads for us with the Father. I remember in confirmation class, we were a questioning bunch, one asked Pastor, what does that mean? He said, “When we stand before the Father on Judgment Day, he puts His arm around our shoulder and says, “Father, I died for this one”.. A comfort to know that.

GPD 1/12/10

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/9/10

Well, we are in the middle of some cold days. But today promises to reach into the 40’s, better than the teens it hit last night. Cold, yes, but not so bad really. I spoke with two folks this morning, one was born in Utah and the other in Buffalo, and both said it was just a matter of getting used to it. Nature.

I was reminded of that glorious statement in the psalms. ”The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showed His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. There is no speech, nor language, where their voice is not heard”. Vv. 1-3. It’s all around, the work of God in nature. We pay it little attention till it smites us like these cold days. We don’t marvel at a tree, growing tall, drawing moisture into leaves fifty feet in the air, till it falls on our roof.

St. Paul calls attention to God’s nature when he begins his letter to the Romans, a letter filled with what Jesus means to us, and what faith means to us. Paul reminds his hearers of this when he begins this letter of Christian theology.

This is what he says, ”That which may be known of God is clear to them, because God has shown it to them. . .so that they are without excuse”. Rom. 1, 19.20c. E C Peterson in his translation, The Message, writes, that “the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes, there it is. . .so nobody has a good excuse.” Paul writes that the result is “their foolish heart was darkened, and professing themselves as wise, they became fools.” V.21.22. And the result is their lifestyle. The final verses of chapter one explain why such behavior follows to its rotten end.

And this cold reminds us we are surrounded by God’s nature. Texas is blessed with an abundance of raptors, eagles, peregrine falcons, owls, all live here. They are skilled hunters and sometime fishers. One writer, reporting in the Houston Chronicle (l/7/pg8c) says, “I have stood on the sidewalk of downtown Houston, mesmerized while watching a peregrine falcon climb above a flock of pigeons, hiding himself in the sun, circling, till one pigeon made the fatal mistake of not paying attention, then, with winged folded, the falcon came, like a feathered bullet rocketing out of the sky with unerring aim. A stooping falcon is the fastest thing on earth, a talon flashes out, and the falcon flies to its resting place, the problem of lunch solved again.

Nature is there to serve us, and to remind us also. The letter to the Hebrews begins, “God who in times past has spoken to us by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.” Heb. L.1.2.

That is what it all finally all comes down to. What does Jesus Christ mean to us, to you, and to me? Just a prophet, or a wise man, or the Savior, the Son of God, come to suffer, die, and rise again to pay for the sins we have done. May we ever be reminded of that saving truth.

GPD 1/9/10

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shade Tree wisdom 1/6/10

This is the close of the Christmas season with the celebration of Epiphany.

Well, yes, it’s cold out, but walking was rather pleasant with no wind to sort of blow in my face. And, the lad waiting for the bus gave a cheerful “Happy New Year.” I said, “My your year be filled with more successes than failures.” He said, “Say, that’s a good wish for me, thank you”.
So we parted on friendly terms, he to climb into the lumbering bus, I to enter my warm home and shed the heavy jacket.

You have probably been getting snow pictures via email as have I. Do you notice these pictures, how calm things look with snow piled high? And it is, usually calm and quite pleasant after such a snow fall.

Right now the news is filled with news of colder stuff on the way. With suggestions about covering plants, wrapping pipes, and watching that pets aren’t left out in the cold. And stores are saying they are out of heaters.

It seems rather ironic that the world leaders just held a conference on climate warming. If we study the years, we will find that there have always been cycles of weather, some colder, some warmer than others. Maybe that is too simple. But I recall a man whose job was to estimate the snow blowers his company needed to build to meet needs, and the warehouses were full of unsold machines because the winter had been nearly snowless. (No, he did not quite lose his job because the company found him too valuable).

So here we are, standing in the threshold of this year 2010, wondering. What. Where. How. When. And other things. May I make a suggestion?

Look to the Book, the unerring, eternal, ever true Book, His Book, the Holy Bible, for guidance, direction, strength and comfort.

One book that is often given little attention is the Book of James. James has a way of getting to the heart of any problem. Christian Churches often are not models of good behavior. They are, instead, hospitals were the sin-sick find healing and forgiveness. They are places where human misbehavior is brought out into the open and dealt with.

The letter of James is a Pastor at work, skillfully diagnosing and dealing with all kinds of problems in living the Christian life. We might suit up in the sentence, “You have not because you ask not, or ask amiss”. And that is, of course, the basis for leading a richly Christian life, asking God for guidance, direction, wisdom to deal with the needs that daily arise, the problems that trouble us, or the worries we are weighed down with, and the many things that may complicate our life.

Paul’s advice is, “Pray without ceasing.” Lay your needs, wants, care, worries before His throne, for “He cares for you”, and “leave all things to God’s direction”.

The advice of the apostle James is sill sound. Give it thoughtful reading.

GPD 1/6/10

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/3/10

We are just beginning to open the books for another year. Time to set the agenda, isn’t it, and to get straight which way it will be for us. A newsman once asked Roy Disney why it is that the Disney movies were all of high caliber, and that they didn’t make some lower graded stuff to add to their bottom dollar. Disney’s reply – and Roy Disney died just recently, - was, “Making decisions isn’t hard when you have standards.”

That sets the ground rule for our life, doesn’t it? To have some standards to live by, to guide our actions and give direction to our thoughts.

We are blessed, because we HAVE such a standard. Not only do we have a Savior, Christ Jesus, but we have the BOOK filled with wisdom from on high.

Check, for instance, verses from Psalm 119. The opening section lays the groundwork. “You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed”. V.4. Then this wonderful word, “I have stored your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” v.11. Why. “I’ m a stranger in the earth, give me clear directions” v.19.

That wisdom is followed by this, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple”. V.130. Or this bit that many learned during confirmation class. “Thy word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path.” V.105.

Why do I go on and on about standards? The result of having standards, and using them as guides, is in verse 165. “Great peace have they who love your law, and Nothing can make them stumble”. By following standards, “I have kept my feet from every evil path,” by obeying God’s Word. V.101.

When it became practice to fence in range land, one of the chores for cowboys was to ride fence. They usually went in pairs, taking along equipment to mend fences. There was miles of fence, and it needed to be kept in repair to do its job. That usually was a spring chore on the farm where I was raised. A hard winter broke posts, heavy snow weighed down wire, it needed to be repaired before cattle could be pastured there. Father was lucky with neighbors, except one very short piece. Terrible condition, so one day Father took materials, set posts, stretched wire, and fixed it so his cows did not get into that man’s garden (Which always brought a lecture, even tough his was the fence to do and his the fault).

There are people who are like that, they call it “pushing the envelope”. Which really means let’s see how far we can go before people object to our behavior. And the problem in 2010 is that nothing makes anyone object anymore, because it’s all pretty bad.

So, my plea for the year when the new year lies before us, bright and shiny, is to look at Psalm 118,8 – the very center verse of the Bible – and do it.

GPD 1/3/10

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/2/10

So, Happy New Year.

A new beginning, sometimes like seeing a field of fresh snow. A field pristine in its beauty, to be marked with ‘snow angels’, or footsteps, or scooped up to make snow balls. [make the first one count, then get ready to duck.]

The year lies before you, to be filled with urgent matters, or things often neglected, or matters needing attention, or fixing, or setting to rights. The wonderful thing about starting a New Year, fresh, unused, filled with such promise, is that we can really make such a beginning, whether we are 5 or 55 makes no difference.

So what goals shall we set? Lose some pounds? Befriend more people, share some gifts with others, read my Bible regularly (How often haven’t we set that goal and allowed it to lapse?), volunteer for some needed service? What.

My word for this day is that it’s all possible because.

“You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning, My God turns my darkness into light." And, ”As for God, His way is perfect, the Word of the Lord is flawless.” This from Psalm 18, vv. 28.30.

So, Happy New Year, and may God really turn your darkness into light.

GPD 1/2/10