Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/28/11

Reporters have gone to the queens class to learn how to curtsy, bow, and drink tea properly. So, I find the reason why that pinkie is extended when you drink tea is not a snobbish invention, it is meant to help balance the tea cup. Try it. It actually does.

One of the high points of any marriage is the exchange of vows, the solemn promises made to each other. Promises that lately seem to have little meaning any longer. That is sad.

Our Lord Jesus once said, “Just say yes, yes; no, no, anything more than that comes from the evil one”. Matthew 5,37.

Poet James Russell Lowell wrote:

“Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,
In the strife for Truth or Falsehood, for the good or evil side.”

The same poet is also maybe best known for these lines:

“Truth forever on the scaffold,
Wrong forever on the throne.
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And, behind the dim unknown.
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above His own.”
In the distant past when people were planning to “make a name for themselves” by building a tower to reach to heaven, God “confounded their language, that they did not understand each other, and left off building.” Genesis 11,7

It seems different people have a hard time understanding each other. Our time seems rife with people talking past one another. An important person makes a speech, and analysts take twice as long telling us what he meant. Any lie is explained with “he misspoke”. Other harsh speech is explained “Oh, that’s just politics.”

That really makes it hard to find out what the truth really is, doesn’t it? Truth becomes especially critical in these times when our country is in a sad state, deeply indebted, so much so that too much of our national product is paid out in interest! And I have not yet heard any politician offer a practical solution to the problem.

BUT, there is good news. We just celebrated Easter, the Risen Savior of the world. This Jesus declared, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the life, no man cometh to the Father buy by ME”. That is truth.

St. Paul makes this statement, ”You can trust God, that what we tell you isn’t yes and no. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, whom I, Silas, and Timothy preached to you, wasn’t yes and no, but in Him there is come and is a yes. For all God’s promises He is the YES that makes them true.”2 Cor. 1,18-20.

I pray you know and accept this truth. Jesus Lives, and is our Savior.

GPD 4/28/11

Monday, April 25, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/25/11

So, may your days be rich in satisfaction for a work well done,
For a life lived under His blessed care,
For family and friends who enriched your Easter season,
And for a worship that brightened your life with renewed hope
Of eternal life in the Risen Christ.

Edmund Burke, 18th century British statesman who supported the revolution, said, “The writers against religion, while they oppose every system, are careful never to set up any of their own”. Burke was right, we see billboards and signs which make fun of and sneer at religion. But they are careful only to say things like “If we are nice to each other, things will always work out”. Sounds sophisticated, and true. But it simply is not true, because we are sinners. The problem is we are not nice, we are not good, we are sinners.

How many leaders have we not seen brought down by some sort of nefarious dealings, or actions they could not keep hidden, or words spoken that came back to haunt them. Or leaders in the business world cut down by some behind-the-scenes dealings.

Such decriers may sneer, but they have nothing to offer, because nothing can take the place of faith.

Look around, The Soviet union spent 70 years in an uncompromising position against any religion. The result was moral decay and spiritual bankruptcy. Which is why in a quarter of its public schools, it is teaching Christianity, ethics and values.

America has not yet discovered the price a nation pays when it walks away from God, The prophets tell us, history tells us, and the Lord Jesus Himself tells us. Trouble follows when we abandon Him.

So celebrate Easter, Thank God He loved us enough to send His One and Only Son to die for our sins. Celebrate the forgiveness of sins He has won for us. Believe, “Christ Jesus is the propitiation of our sins, but not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Happy, Blessed Easter Because HE LIVES.

GPD 4/25/11

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/19/11

No jacket needed for the morning stroll. Nice.

And you already know that Easter is the second largest holiday candy sale day, followed by Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Halloween.

We have sung our Hallelujah’s on Palm Sunday with the crowds, Now we are walking along in Holy Week, the going is slow, because we know the ending here. It is terrible, trial, mockery, lashings, and crucifixion. And the cry, “Into Your hands I commend my Spirit”.

But before that another word cried was “It is finished”. The work He had been sent by the Father was fully and completely done, no loose ends, no need to go back and do it over, it was Telestathai, finished.

That means our salvation is complete.

One disciple who acts that we would and often do is Thomas. During His life when Jesus told them He was going “to prepare a place for you”. Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, and how can we know the way?” John 14,5, and Jesus told Him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the life, no mancomes to the Father but by Me.” V,.6.

This is the disciple we know as the “Doubting Thomas”. That comes from the incident after Jesus had risen from the grave and appeared to the disciples when Thomas was absent. And doubted. So when Jesus came again He told Thomas to “reach hither thy finger and behold my hands, my side” John 20,27. Thomas said, “My Lord, and my God”. And Jesus said this beatitude, “Blessed are
they who have not seen and yet believe.”

Generations of believers since that hour have not been able to Reach hither thy hand and put it into my wounds”. They fall under that word, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

That is the way the Christian faith works,. is it not. St Anselm said, “I believe so that I may understand”.

If you believe, you will see. And that faith grows, and deepens and is enriched through the years because we believe. I pray that is true for you and that this Holy Week will strengthen it further in His Name.

GPD 4/19/11

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/13/11

Nice and cool for the walk this morning, and I beat the Snorting yellow box before it picked up its precious cargo. The morning air was sweetened by birds singing, and then shattered by an unhappy yipping dog in the back yard over there. Well, one survives.

The story is that on April first some pranksters released several goats in the school halls. They had numbered them by painting one, two, four on their sides. Custodial staff was alerted and quickly corralled three of the goats. Administration and staff spent most of the day trying to find number 4 when it finally dawned on them what day it was.

The story reminded me of the reason for such a season as Lent when we use it as a penitential season, seeking and finding corners of our daily life we have gotten used to and shouldn’t, because they hide a sin.

For too many in our culture take much for granted, and among their life goals is seeking to restate what God teaches, and trying to “explain” the suffering, death, and resurrection as not really necessary because they aren’t in such dire need at all.

They are chasing the missing goat, really, for what they think they are owed for a ‘good’ life really doesn’t exist, for “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption of Christ Jesus.”

The truth is, we need the price Jesus paid for our sins. Indeed, Christ Jesus is “The propitiation for our sins, but not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world”, as St. John writes in his letter.

May God bless this time for your enrichment and Christian growth.

GPD 4/13/11

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/6/11

The walk was pleasant this morning, just a bit nippy, but no wind, and it was quiet because I was out before the yellow box came lumbering on its morning rounds. The only sound was birds chirping here and there and now and then a little bark in a back yard over there.

We are deep into the Lenten season, and I wonder whether we have been taking advantage of the reason for these days before the Crucifixion of our Lord.

St. Peter in his letters is talking about things they already know, but he keeps at it, “as long as I am in the tent of this body, which my Lord has made known to me I will soon leave.”

Have you and I used some time to search into the hidden corners of our lives? I mean looking at things we try to keep from others? Have we repented of that sin that is so dear to us – maybe it is over eating, or being quick to anger, or lazy, or careless in dress and habits, or even – dare I even say this – gossiping?

Use the Word to look for correction, repent of our sins, and seek His forgiveness. Then cleansed and saved, we are perfected by grace. For Psalm 130, has this comfort for us.

“If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquity, O Lord,
Who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou
Mayest be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait,
And in His Word do I hope.” Ps. 130,3-5.

There speaks a person who has repented of sin, and received God’s full and free
forgiveness. For Jesus Christ paid the penalty our sins deserved when He died
for us.

So with the psalmist we say, “When we were overwhelmed by sins You forgave our transgressions.” Ps. 65,3

And because that has happened, Christ has died and risen again, we can wish one another “peace of God be with you”, and be aware of just what a wonderful wish we are speaking to each other in Christ.

So, “When morning dawns, and evening fades,
You call for songs of joy”.Ps.65,8b.

GPD 4/6/11

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/3/11

“I was glad when they said unto me,
Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ Psalm 122,1

For it is there I receive so much. In worship I have the privilege to bring
praise and thanksgiving to my God, and in worship I am fed, enlightened,
comforted, strengthened, forgiven, and sent home, ready for another week.
We are nearing the end of those 40 days of Lent. Have you used them for

When the treasury department trains agents for work in trying to uncover and
stop counterfeit money, they first have them handle real money, getting them to
feel, see, smell, handle, until that feel becomes ingrained. Then they can more
easily spot the false. There is much sophisticated equipment for such work, but
the test is there in the hands and eyes of trained personnel.

That is one reason for these Lenten days. To have time to test again, to search
out the slipshod half-forgotten truths. To see whether our faith is that of the
Bible, or something much less, a half-truth maybe, or even a falsehood that
slipped in and does not pass the test of Scripture scrutiny.

In worship this morning pastor pointed to the Letter to the Church at Laodicea,
which had become “lukewarm” and the Lord said He would “spew them out of my
mouth”.(Rev. 3,16) That is followed by this advice, “anoint thine eyes with
eye-salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be
zealous, therefore, and repent.” 3,18.19.

Now have we been using these days to do that? Repent of our sin, seek His
forgiveness, and stand strong in the faith as the children who have “put on

May God bless the living, and the doing.

GPD 4/3/11

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/2/11

“Don’t be afraid of tomorrow,
God is already there.”

That line appeared on a church sign lately, and it seems to me it is a good
reminder that “Our God is in the heavens, he has done whatsoever he has
pleased.” Psalm 115,3.

Interestingly, the Psalm lists the strengths aligned against God’s
children. Listen to this:
“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they speak not. Eyes have they, but
They see not;
. . .they that make them are like to them, so is everyone
that trusts in them”. Psalm 115, 4.5.8.

The news from everywhere is of unrest, dissention, unhappiness with
the ‘status quo’. Wanting to change things but not quite sure how to change
things. Afraid of higher taxes, fewer jobs, greater burdens.

And I read again in the second book of Kings. The time is nearly 2500
years ago when Sennacherib and the Assyrian army surrounds Jerusalem and boasts
of their conquests. Their taunt to the soldiers on the walls, “Might as well
give up. The gods other nations haven’t been able to stop us, neither will your
God.” Hopeless; useless to resist.

So king Hezekiah takes this matter to God. And gets this answer, “That
which you have prayed to me I have heard”. 2 Kings 18,20.Then this report, “It
came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord smote in the camp of the
Assyrians a hundred four score and five thousand, and in the morning when they
arose, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacharib king of Assyria
departed”. 2 Kings 19,35.36.

So, my friend,
“Don’t be afraid of tomorrow,
God is already there”.

Yes, I know the world seems in a terrible mess. How much worse can it

Isaiah has this word for you and me today.
“Thou will keep Him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on thee,
Because he trusts in Thee.” Isaiah 26,3.
So “Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life,,
until the shadows lengthen,
and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed;
the fever of life is over, an our work is done.
Then, Lord, in Thy mercy, grant us safe lodging,
And holy rest, and peace at the last, Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

GPD 4/2/11