Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/25/11

          Well, I started with a jacket.  After all, I said to self, it is nearly the end of October, so a jacket is a must.  I was wrong, and soon had it over my shoulder.  It was warm, and muggy.

          Today the church notes the 200th anniversary of the birth of Dr. C.F.W. Walther, the first president of our synod.  A Pastor, Professor, theologian, scholar, author of Law and Gospel, as well as other basic texts, God’s gift to this young church here in America.

          I am glad my church looks to its roots for truth.  Herman Sasse writes, “It is always a sign of deep spiritual sickness when a church forgets its fathers.”  Why?  Because the life of the church finds its strength from the teachings of truth their fathers believed also.

          The greatest eras of the church, the times when she is strongest begins with the cry, “back to the Scriptures”.  Note how often the psalms write of what God did for the fathers.  Psalm 22,4. “The fathers trusted in You, and You delivered them”.  Hilkiah, the priest, found the book of the law, read it to his king, and Josiah started a time of repentance and restoring Israel.

          Jesus began His ministry with “Today this Scripture (Having read Isaiah), is fulfilled in your ears.” Luke 4,21.  And Luther began there, “Back to the Bible”, and started an explosion of study and enrichment and growth.

          That is a reason to remember Dr. Walther.  He taught and lived this truth, led and guided a young church and helped it set a solid foundation on the Confessions and the Scriptures.  We remember that with thanks, and do well to build on that solid foundation.

          In 1844 Walther put this statement on the masthead of the Lutheran Witness:
“God’s Word and Luther’s doctrine,
Shall not pass away now and forever.”

GPD 10/25/11

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/20/11

          It had cooled down quite a bit as the weatherman said it would, so I was prepared with a jacket, and needed it.  Then I met a lady with her dog, and she was wearing only a short sleeved blouse.  So I said, “No jacket?”  She said, as she hurried along, “I thought the walking would warm me up, and it hasn’t yet.  And it didn’t seem this cold when I left the house.”

          Appearances do deceive.  And the crowd could just be wrong.

          A devotion in Portals of Prayer recently reported that a third grade class had a new class pet, a bunny. One asked, “Is it a boy or a girl”?  And the teacher asked, “How do we find out?”  One bright girl said, “Let’s take a vote.”

          That’s the modern way, isn’t it?  Do what the crowd does.  Go along with popular opinion.  And that may be wrong.  Last night a report said children ages 11 and 12 were engaging in sex.  “Well, they’re all doing it”.

          But there is a moral law that speaks of right and wrong, and that is not taken by vote, rather it is set by God.  This says, “You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.” Ps. 119,4.

          The Psalm also describes what happens when God is ignored.  “The wicked freely strut about, when what is vile is honored among men”. Psalm 12,8.

          Oh, we have made so much progress in technology.  Today children are mostly “wired”, they text, have facebook pages, are in constant touch, and parents have lost control and no longer seem able or want to, set some standards for living.  And the result shows.

          It shows in letters to the editors or advice columns, in crowded psychiatrist offices, in rampant suicides.  Lord, help us.

          My prayer for us all is that we take this to the Lord, asking for direction, for strength to speak of the ONE solution, the life and death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world.  May the lord keep us in this faith till He calls us to Himself.

GPD 10/20/11

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/18/11

          It was a cheerful and breezy day for the morning walk, and even the children I met on their trek to meet their bus sounded cheerful.  What a fine morning, turning into a pleasant day.

          But Fall weather just reminded me of high school football season, and I sort of have a longing for those Friday nights with its foray to the Pancake House in Grosse Pointe.  Our youngest daughter was spending her sabbatical year with us taking courses at Wayne State University, and our youngest son and his wife would drop by after work, and we enjoyed our weekly Pancake Feast at the Pancake House.

          The place was always busy, and their specialty was apple pancakes.  A veritable feast.  Today their recipes may be found on Google, then it was secret.  Our daughter did lots of research in the public library in their cook book section, and she finally did find a recipe that tasted like the original.  One of the secrets is using tart apples.  But it does take some patience and the proper equipment.  But the end result is worth the effort.  But even when she succeeded at home, the taste was different when we ate it among the bustle and busyness of the crowd at the the Pancake House.

          Funny, isn’t it, how a mind runs to pleasant experiences.  I guess that is what makes memories so wonderful.  We can and do remember pleasant experiences from the past and use them to bolster the present.

          I pray your life is rich with such memories also.  They tend to remind us how the hand of the Lord gently leads, guides, directs, and upholds us when we our need seems to see no solution, don’t they.
"I will be with you, even the end of the age” is His promise, and memories remind us of the truth of that.

GPD 10/18/11

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/15/11

          I offer this as a prayer to end another busy and work filled week,.

               Lord Jesus, since You love me,
               Now spread Your wings above me,
               And shield me from all harm.
               Though Satan would devour me.
               Let angel guards sing o’er me,
               This child of God shall meet no harm.  Amen
          LSB 880,4

GPD 10/15/11

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/12/11

          We are now in the second week of October and it was still so warm for the walk this morning that the breeze from a passing car actually felt good.  Amazing, but cooler weather is in the offing.

          Alexis de Tocqueville, who lived in the eighteenth century, was a French historian and political thinker who toured America in the 1830’s to see how this nation worked.  One of his conclusions, offered in his book Democracy in America, is that “The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.”  What a bitter truth. Because that seems to be happening to us.

          Thomas Jefferson saw this, “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who will not.”

          The Pilgrims discovered this right away.  They decided on a system whereby everything belonged to everybody.  That simply did not work, because so many of the ‘everybody’s’ did not carry any part of the supply burden.

          Loren Steffy, a financial columnist, points out that these marches on Wall Street and other cities are partly protesting the fact that the financial system has been corrupted.  He points out people are protesting because CEO salaries increase even though their company stock tanked.  Or banks get massive government help and return that favor to taxpayers with higher credit card fees and offer less than 1% interest on savings.
Life isn’t fair, is it?

          But let’s remember there are rules that God has built into the fabric of this world.  St.Paul reminds us of one.  In his letter to the church at Thessalonica he wrote, “Even when we were with you we gave you this rule, ‘if a man will not work, neither should he eat’.” 2 Thess 3,11.

          Let me close with one other word from St. Paul.  This when he wrote the letter to the Galatians, “Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Gal. 6,7.  This touches on the law of consequence.  For every action, there is a like reaction.  The truth we must learn to accept in this uneasy situation.

          Paul ends his letter with this blessing, “. . .what counts is a new creation.  Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule. . .the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.” Gal. 6, 15-18.

GPD 10/12/11

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/8/11

          The news from here is that there is a real possibility of some thunderstorm activity tomorrow and the next day.  Which to us is very welcome news indeed.

          Right now there is a golf tournament going on at a local course, the Insperity Championship Golfers over 50.

          Which reminds me of the traveler who had 3 hours between flights, so he decided to go to a nearby course and get in a quick nine holes.  He was teamed with an elderly golfer, seemed like a nice fellow, played pretty good golf too.  At the 9th hole a large pine stood right in the way to the green, so the older golfer shot around and had an easy second shot to the green.  The traveler started to aim the same way when the other fellow said, “When I was your age, I just shot over that tree.”  So the young fellow thought to himself, “If he could, so can I”.  He tried, hit the tree and landed in the rough with a terrible second shot.  “Of course, when I was your age, that tree was only 6 feet tall.” said the other guy.

          The golfer was tripped up by a law of physics, wasn’t he?

          That comment leads me to the laws built into the world, laws we count on and make use of for our purpose.  Such as the law of gravity, or of friction, or of compression, or inertia and relativity.  A golfer, for instance, uses compression when he hits the ball, as well as the spring built into his golf club.  Then he counts on gravity to keep his ball from going to the moon, but falling back to earth.
We count on such laws for our very survival.  God placed them there, and all we do is use them.  If we misuse them, we run into the law of consequences.  And that is what people often forget.  There are always consequences.  Every act has its consequence.  For example, you have a test coming, or a large bill to pay at a certain time, and you fail the test because you do not prepare, or do not make the payment because you used those funds for other things, you suffer the consequence.

          Created this world and we live in when we use His laws. That is why the Christian always prays, “I give thanks for all thy daily benefits, given out of pure mercy and love to me, richly and daily.”
This is most certainly true.

GPD 10/8/11

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/4/11

          What a relief and change, cool enough for a light jacket.  The air was so nice, cool, fresh that I prolonged my walk a bit.  I also found that the neighbor’s children have to walk three tenths of a mile to catch their bus.  Well, the time calls for some sacrifice.  After all, I walked half a mile through hip deep snow drifts some days to get to school, and I can say that because there is no one around to gainsay me.

     “This is the day that the Lord has made,
     Let us rejoice, and be glad in it”.

          With that Psalm many Lutherans begin their worship hour.  It reminds right away where we are and for what purpose, to rejoice and be glad in worship because we long to hear the Word.  And that is so often forgotten in this day of change.

          But then, you heard the joke about the man with the written list who remembered the meeting, while the man with the special device forgot.  So change is not always all it was meant to be.

          I was reminded of this when I read about the curator for the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden in the NY Botanical Garden.  He came on board five years ago and said, “I inherited a rose garden that had been doused with weekly sprays for 20 years”.  He had come to oversee a renovation, and just then NY City banned the use of harmful chemicals in public places.  And without their chemical cocktails, many roses could not perform.  So he replaced, and began using compost, leaf mold, fish emulsion, and other organic matter to restore the depleted soil to health.  He reported with joy that earthworms have returned to the garden soil. And roses bloom best when they grow in healthy soil, and that is what nature supplies, and nature’s best tool is the earthworm, that busy underground gardener who turns and mixes and aerates and deposits rich castings to enrich the soil.  Result, healthy soil.

          We are living in an age of rapid change.  Change is inevitable, some for the good, other changes, not.
But we live in it, so it is wonderful that our God has given us a sure guide.

     “Change and decay in all around I see,
     But Thou who changest not, abide with me.”

          When we remember that, we can and do live securely, knowing Whose we are, and what God has promised us.  And we are thankful.

GPD 10/4/11

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/1/11

          Hello, October, where we’ll see crisp and sunny fall days, cool nights, bright moonlight, some light rains, leaves to rake and mulch, colors to enjoy, apples to pick and fresh apple cider to drink.

          The work of the Church goes into high gear with Zone rallys and plans to make and the future bright with anticipated work and God’s continual blessing.

          Here at our home we have been seeing the effects of that year-long drought.  We have lost trees, several nearly 100 feet tall and the trunk measures 36 inches in diameter.  But for a day we were running what amounted to a wood lot.  The trees cut, and result hauled away to be mulched and sold perhaps as firewood.  Sad to see this, but it looks around us as if many trees died because of the drought, and the cleanup will take a long time, and cost much money.  But, if you look closely at the forest floor, you’ll see young seedlings starting their own growing, and so the Lord does replace what drought, or fire, for that matter, takes away.

          For Scripture is correct when it says,
     “The heavens declare the glory of God,
     And the firmament showeth His handiwork.
     Day unto day uttereth speech, and
     Night unto night showeth knowledge.”

GPD 10/1/11