Saturday, December 29, 2012

Shade Tree Wisom 12/29/12

          Toward the end of the year – a prayer
               O Lord, Thou hast been our Way all year long in this earthly life.

               Support us still         
                    Until the shadows lengthen.                  
                    And the evening falls,                            
                    And the rush of life is past,                                     
                    And the year ends.
               By Your great mercy, O Lord,
                    quiet our conscience                  
                    Still our fears,                            
                    Fill our hearts with the secure knowledge of your eternal presence.
               We pray in the Name of Jesus Christ, our lord and Savior.


GPD 12/29/12

Friday, December 28, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/28/12

         This date was always a celebration at our house because it was my Father’s birthday, and the family looked forward to getting out of the house in the winter. Snow covered the ground, the air was cold and crisp, and the winter “cabin fever" was starting, so this was a chance to get out and visit.

           So they came, each bringing a cake or a plate of sandwiches or something else. The teenagers left to go skating at lighted  Brown Deer Park, the others played cards, chess – that was always uncle Robert and uncle Oscar off in the corner,- visited, knitted, exchanged recipes exchanged news, and the youngsters played checkers, monopoly, and other games.           The evening ended when Mom and several aunts made coffee, served sandwiches and cakes. Then off for home, Nice.

           Such an evening never ended without singing. I can hear uncle Oscar’s booming base and aunt Lydia’s sweet Soprano yet.

             “God be with you till we meet again,”

             I leave you with that thought, God, who is ever present as He promised, be with you till we meet again.

GPD 12/28/12

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdon 12/26/12

Christmas 2012

          Bells at Christmas.

          I grew up in an area where every church had a steeple, and every steeple had at least one bell. The larger churches usually had three which were tuned to ring in a cadence.

          So the Longfellow poem that begins,
              “I heard the bells on Chrismas day,
               Their old familiar carols play,
               In Music sweet, their tones repeat,
               ‘There’s peace on earth, good will to men’.”
was quite meaningful. When we heard the Church bells ring out on a crisp December morning, they really did sort of sing out the story,
              “Christ is born, the Savior of the world is here.”

          We hardly ever give any thought to the sound of bells any more. As I write this, I really find it hard to identify any church nearby that even has a set of bells to ring. (Maybe they do so elelectronically, and there is a difference from the real thing.) Gus was my bell ringer while I served nearly 17 years in Adrian, Michigan. He had been taught by the company that installed the bells, for they were a tuned set, and when rung properly they sang, not just clanked away, but literally sang their song. And when properly rung it was a sound that delighted the ear.

          And I miss that sound, especially at this time of year. Imagine with me, the air is bright and clear, the sound carries well, and we are on our way to worship. Wonderful to imagine it, is it not.

          With that thought I leave you for this Christmas Season, and wish for you a blessed Christmas and rejoicing that the Lord Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem, is our Savior and our Lord.

GPD 12/26/12

Friday, December 21, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/21/12

          “The crystal skulls have spoken, the world is not going to end”. That’s part of the news story about that Mayan prophecy that has much in the world frightened, or at least anxiously wondering.

          But we are standing only several days away from Christmas. And we Christians celebrate the birth of a Savior. That means – or at least ought to mean for us – certainty and a sublime indifference to some crystal skulls or some ancient Mayan prophecy, because we know the truth.

          And that tells us, “Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, neither the son, but the Father”.

          I want you to know that this is the real Truth, we are in the loving hands of a Caring Father who loves us so much He sent His Only Son to become one of us, live here, suffer, die, and rise again. And that is enough for me.

          The poet said:
              “God is not dead, nor does He sleep,
               For Christ is here, His Spirit near,
               Brings peace on earth, good will to men.”

GPD 12/21/12

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/15/12

          In these days people think about lots of things, what to buy for whom, whom to skip this year, and about how taxes will turn out in the next year if nothing much happens in the Congress. And that reminds me of a little story.

          “I work for the IRS, and part of my job is to check claimed deductions. The other day I checked a contribution and automatically checked the salary. This is one we will have to check, and he’d better be able to back it up.

          So I called the man in and asked him for proof. Usually we get lots of double talk, but this man handed me a notarized statement by the Church treasurer, and we allowed the claim.

          But we got to talking a little, especially about life and he invited me to his church the next Sunday. “No thanks,” I said, I belong to a church”.

          “Funny,” said he, as he walked out the door, “I would never have guessed it.”

          That remark puzzled me till the next Sunday when the offering plate came around and I tossed in my usual dollar. Suddenly it struck me. This man gave better than 10% each week, and I gave a dollar. Makes a difference when you are a Christian, or simply belong to a church”.

          So, Serve the Lord with gladness, and allow not the exigencies of some law or other to change that.

          “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,
           And all these things will be added unto you”, said our Lord.

GPD 12/15/12

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/12/12

          You didn’t think I would pass this date by without saying something, did you?

          To begin, on January 2, 1922, Texas A&M was playing Centre College in football, and their team was injury-riddled, so they called student E. King Gill out of the stands to suit up for the game. He never did get into the game which A&M won, 22-14, but this started the tradition of the 12th man in Aggie land. The student body is the 12th man and always stands during the game.

          Monday was the busiest shipping day for Fed Ex. On that day Fed Ex employees globally were ready to handle 19 million packages, or 200 every second. Most of us never give it a second thought when that package arrives on our doorstep, but it does show some major planning and working for such a massive system to operate successfully. Think of your neighbor, leaving for work at 3 in the morning, so you can get your Amazon order the next day, in plenty of time for Christmas.

          Michigan has the most miles of shoreline in the Continental U.S. 3,200 miles of shoreline. Texas has a shoreline along the gulf of 2699 miles.

          An uplifting thought. I was guest preacher in a country in the back country of Missouri. When I stepped into the pulpit I was greeted with this sign:
               “Sir, we would see Jesus”

          That is a good line to remember for our daily living. That we are blessed when we lean on Him for the strength to do His will. Jesus said to us, “He who abides in Me and I in Him, bears much fruit, for without Me ye can do nothing.” John 15,5.

          St. Paul reminds us that we “can do all things though Christ who strengthens us.” Phil. 4,13, and that “the excellence of the power is of God, and not of us,.” 2 Corinthians 4,7.

          So ended the word on this 12/12/12. May God bless you richly.

GPD 12/12/12

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/4/12

          Just have patience.

          That seems to be the word of my Lord when I puzzle why He is allowing me so long a time on this earth.

          Now, during Advent, we enter another church year filled with His rich blessings and the great gift of the Birth that sent Jesus to save us.

          Yet, the time seems wearisome. It must have been like that for St. John on the Isle of Patmos. Lonely. He was the last of the Apostles alive, the rest all gone, martyred, and John was alone.

          Then he hears this voice. He writes, “I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, Write”. And so we have this wonderful Book in the New Testament. A Wonderful gift explaining the ending. What a blessing.

          So Isaiah chimes into my musings. “Even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and save.” Isaiah 46,4.

          So I am content with the Lord’s will and hand in my life.

GPD 12/4/12

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 11/28/12

          I look out of my window and see a blue sky, sun shining brightly, a slight breeze moving the tops off the trees, and the world seems to be serene and at peace.

          Yet the morning paper shows a picture of a town on the shores of Lake Michigan seeing sand where water used to form a channel to the lake to their safe little harbor. The water of lake Michigan is two feet lower than normal and so their channel hardly can bring pleasure boats to their harbor, meaning less business and lower incomes.

          Another article reports that the rivers that carry grains, coal, and produce up and down are lower, so the barges have to loaded with less tonnage, so adding to costs.

          And Texas is again in drought conditions.

          Meteorologists are hoping for heavy fall rains and large snowfalls in the northern areas of this country.

          We lack water.

          Oh, it is there, but we have often misused and abused it, taken it for granted, and polluted and used it for things we don’t need or can easily do without.

          It reminds me so much of life, and how people treat the Message of salvation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the truth of salvation. Carelessly, as something we really don’t need right now. Which is one of the truths of St. Peter’s first letter.(I,1,17-19 Message).

          “You callout to God for help, and he helps. He’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, He’s also a responsible Father and wont let you get by with sloppy living.

          “Your life is a journey that you must travel with deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of the dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial Lamb. And this was no afterthought.”

          We are in the Advent Season, looking for the birth of our Savior. Please use the time to prepare your hearts for rich blessing, and a joyful celebration of the Birth.

GPD 11/28/12

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 11/25/12

From "My Grandfather's Clock", written in 1876 by Henry Clay Work.

My grandfather's clock was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopp'd short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

My grandfather said that of those he could hire,
Not a servant so faithful he found;
For it wasted no time, and had but one desire —
At the close of each week to be wound.
And it kept in its place — not a frown upon its face,
And its hands never hung by its side.
But it stopp'd short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering
(tick, tick, tick, tick),
His life seconds numbering,
(tick, tick, tick, tick),
It stopp'd short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 11/24/12

“Oh may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us.”

          The sad news is that major pileup on Highway I-10 between Houston and Beaumont that was caused by heavy fog and left a couple dead. A couple that had always had Thanksgiving with family ,but this year decided, for a change, to spend several days alone together. Sad indeed.

          But your thanksgiving, I trust it was warm with family and friends, good food, good company, no major disaster.

          I hope it was not the one reported by the Houston Chronicle. This family gathered, all had brought a dish or two for the meal, the table was loaded. Mashed potatoes, fruit salads, green bean casserole, even a plate of ham just in case, cranberry sauce, yams, even some Kale and aunt Whinny’s famous pumpkin pie with whipped cream. So the feast ended, and they were starting to think of leaving the table when the youngest piped up with a question, “When are we going to eat the turkey?” The turkey, well roasted, had been forgotten in the oven.

          But you had turkey, and like so many of such gatherings, probably ended up with that family game of touch football that always ended when uncle Hank sprained his ankle and two of the family were crying.

          And the day ended, as it must for God’s children, with
“Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide,
For our wants to be supplied.
Come to God’s own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.” LSB 892,1

          So bless your family, and your day in His care.

GPD 11/24/12

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 11/20/12

              “The Lord hath helped me hitherto,
               With His surpassing favor.
               His mercies every morn are new,
               His kindness doth not waver.”

          That is one way of sort of sums up how I feel at age 92. People do ask and I have never been here before, so what can I say? But here are some vignettes of the years. Sort of “I remember”.

          Like the late winter evening when we were getting ready to retire and the phone rang. Message, “We took Grandpa to Bixby, he had a fall and broke his hip, we think. Can you come?” A glance out of the window showed it had started to snow, so I drove over, checked at the desk, and she pointed to the family across the lobby waiting for the doctor’s verdict. I joined them for a prayer and some quiet conversation. The doctor came, said he had set his leg and was now sleeping under sedation. He advised the family to go home to rest since he wouldn’t wake till morning. But he said, “Things look good for healing.”

          Or meeting Dan and Ruth at the pancake House for an Apple pancake on Friday nights. A nice treat on a cold night, and a nice visit.

          For many years I kept a Common place book. In it I wrote snatches of sentences that caught my eye or were well put, often entire paragraphs that made a statement worth keeping, thoughts gathered in quiet moments, anything to help in my use of the language. I used it in sermon construction, and in writing the weekly bulletin. I aimed for an offering people would read and remember.

          My parish, St. John’s Lutheran, in Mexico, Missouri was the only Lutheran Church in the county. So, when we planned a monthly newsletter, the title “One Lutheran Voice” was a natural. selection. I took that Title along to Michigan, and I believe it is still in use.

          There are so many events, some major some not so, but each woven into a life that has always been richly blessed. And that is the one event that I cling to, my hope is in Christ, who lived, died, and rose again to pay for my sins, so that I am His. I thank God for that, and pray the same for each of you.”

GPD 11/20/12

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 11/17/12

On November the 17th

“O 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,
And the fever of life is over,
And our work is done.
Then, in Thy mercy, Grant us
A safe lodging,
And holy rest,
And peace at the last.
Through Jesus Christ,
our Risen Lord and Savior. Amen

GPD on Novcmber 17, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 11/13/12

          The week is a time to reminisce, to remember fondly things through the years. One that struck me recently was a time the evening chores were done, cows milked, stock cared for, and we closed the barn door and headed for the house for the night. It was cold and crisp, with a bright moon shining, when we heard a flock of geese on their way to their winter quarters, honking, and we could see them, against the moon, flying long through the night. My brother started reciting Bryant’s “Ode to a Waterfowl”.
              “He who from zone to zone,
               Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
               In the long way that I must tread alone,
               Will guide my way aright.”
And as I recalled the incident I thought how unerringly their flight was guided by a Creator who made them all.

          And then ancient Daniel came to mind. (You think of Daniel and the lion’s den). But Daniel, an Israelite captive who had been trained to serve the king, was also faithful to his God. During the years, he had proved wisdom in his dealings, and integrity always. So finally, since he did the job so well, the Persian king whom he now served planned to place him in charge of every overseer – they had these overseers in place to try to stop corruption.

          Instead of rejoicing in his success, his fellows in office showed their jealousy by trying to find him at fault. His work was without fault, so they said, “We have to hit him where he serves God”. And the plan called for a new law which called all to bow to the King, no exceptions. The King foolishly made the law, and then found Daniel praying to His God three times a day.

          There was the law, and Daniel was guilty. The king tried all day to find a way to save his favorite, but in the evening had to allow the punishment. So we have this Daniel in the lion’s den because of his integrity.

          In the morning when he found Daniel alive, he had him removed, and punished his accusers instead.

          So I’ve come to this, Integrity is still what gives strength, flavor and spice to life today, and it still evokes jealousy as well as admiration. And God still sees it as an asset for His children. One little question, where do I fit in?

GPD 11/13/12

Shade Tree Wisdom 11/11/12

          On November 10, 1483, Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Germany. He grew up and the Lord used him greatly to search out the true word of the gospel.

          Through prayer and earnest study he searched out the Light, removing all the tangled web of man-made rules and the mish-mash of disorder that enmeshed the Church’s teachings.

          So he was able to stand before emperors and papal delegates and say, “I can do no other, God helping me,”

          The Reformation brought back the one difference, the only real difference, between true religion and every false religion. It showed once more that the Gospel is the one difference between religions because it, and it alone, offers us the forgiveness of sins.

          Think of it. Your sins and mine, are forgiven, they are gone, drowned in the “depths of the sea,” as the bible teaches.

          Centuries later, on November 17, 1920, to be exact, I was born, and baptized three days later during a snow storm (That was my first ride in an auto, a Model T Ford). Holy baptism made me a child of God, and placed me among the great throng of God’s children.

          I grew, studied, and became, by His grace, a Pastor in the LCMS. I had the high privilege and solemn duty to speak the Gospel to people. I still do here and there, as God grants me, after this long time, strength and ability so to do.

          But as another birthday nears, I just wanted again to tell you what sets us off under God, that is, God forgives us our sins and calls us righteous and holy before Him. Indeed,
              “Nothing in my hand I bring,
               Simply to Thy cross I cling.
               Naked, come to Thee for dress,
               Helpless, look to Thee for grace.
               Foul I to the Fountain fly,
               Wash me, Savior, or I die.” LSB 761,3

          So, God bless your knowing, believing, and rejoicing, in the news of the Gospel.

GPD 11/11/12

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 11/6/12

          I trust you have exercised your right and high privilege of voting. If not yet, do so, it is your duty and, as I said, high privilege.

          I don’t know who will win. Only God knows that, and we know He is still there, ever tending to the affairs even when we mess things up. Still, “whatever God ordains is good”. But regardless of the final outcome, you and I live here as God’s children, baptized and called His sons and daughters, so we have the way of life before us. A Life that brings honor and glory to our God in the way we behave in this life. St.Peter said,
          “Keep your conduct among the gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, that may see your good works and glorify God in the day of visitation. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence and ignorance of foolish people.” 1 Peter 2, 12.14.

          Let your life be a shining example of what God calls good, moral, and right. I quote from a sermon the late Peter Marshall preached in the mid-40’s.
              “No nation has ever made progress in a downward direction.
               No people ever become great by lowering standards.
               No people ever became good by adopting looser morality.
               It is not progress when the moral tone is lower than it was.
               It is not progress when purity is not as sweet.
               It is not progress when womanhood has lost its fragrance.
               Whatever else it is, it is not progress.”

          So election day today, when it is good for you and me to
              “Lift up mine eyes into the hills, from whence cometh My help.
               My help cometh from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121, 1.2.

          May God bless your day.

GPD 11/6/12

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 11/1/12

          Yesterday we had Reformation, the date Luther faced the authorities with his bold statement which ended with
              “My conscience is captive to the Word of God.
               This I cannot and will not recant, because
               Acting against ones conscience is
               Neither safe, nor sound. God help me. Amen.”

          Lutherans have celebrated this Reformation by thanking God for his mercy in sending a man like Luther, and thanking God for leading us into this faith. The Bible alone, faith alone, grace alone, is the mantra.

          An alarming note from the Pew Research Center is that Protestants are now a minority in the land. Major denominations have lost members. Many people declare themselves to be ‘religious’ without joining a particular church membership.

          They speak learnedly of “making my own way” and finding “what I think is best for me”.

          That sounds so high-minded, but is it really?

          They leave themselves without any sure guidelines, any directives, any form for behavior among people, and the result is what we see more and more in our world today, chaos.

          James spoke of gathering together as a body for worship, and “not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.” Hebrews 10,25.  And the reason for that is that we might be “spurring each other on, as we see the Big Day approaching.”

          It is interesting to note that the Word of God still spreads, faithful believers still speak the Gospel message of salvation to lonely hearts and darkened minds, and the Church grows, and God prevails. Remember, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against us.”

          For that, we thank and praise His holy Name. Amen

GPD 11/1/12

Friday, October 26, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/26/12

         There are several cannas blooming in our backyard, standing tall and nicely red, waving in the quiet air, and delighting our eye. No one else sees it, unless we call it to the attention of guests.

          It reminded me of a time we were visiting our church cemetery, and mother said, “Come, I want to show you something”. She led the way back to the first section where the very first settlers were buried, and there, nearly hidden by various gravestones, was a rose bush in full bloom.

          Mother said, “My friend Frieda showed me this. Her great grandparents are buried here and her family keeps that bush neatly trimmed and pruned and sees that it gets watered in dry times. But hardly anybody even knows it’s even here. It’s sort of sad”.

          So it is, but that is life too, isn’t it.

          That’s my point today.

          St. Paul said (Translation, the Message):
              “Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose
               Men and women that the culture overlooks
               And exploits and abuses, chose these ‘nobodies’
               To expose the hollow pretentions of the ‘somebodies’.” 1 Cor, 1, 27-28.

          Indeed, that God often picks “the little things which have no strength” 2 Cor. 12,7-10. to accomplish His purpose.

          In this world we are always the minority, and always under attack. Peter reminds us, “think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as if some strange thing happened to you”. 1 Peter 4,12.

          So, count on it, be that rose “born to blush unseen” and know that the eye of your God is ever on you and be aware always that His promise is to you, “I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” God bless your living.

GPD 10/26/12

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/24/12

              “Procrastination is my sin,
               It brings me naught but sorrow.
               I know that I should stop it.
               In fact I will – tomorrow.” –G Pitzer

          No, I was not procrastinating. The machine crashed, so I called a tech and he replaced the crashed modem with a refurbished one, which worked for several hours and crashed. SO, call for another tech, and he grumbled that the other tech had used that modem. He said, “I’m giving you a new one”. So here I am, finally, connected with the internet again and explaining to you why I have not been procrastinating.

          Procrastinating means putting off till later.

          St. Augustine confessed:
              “I, convinced by truth,
               Had nothing at all to answer but those dull
               And drowsy words, ‘anon’, ‘anon’.”

          Mark Twain chimes in,
              “Never put off till tomorrow
               What you can put off till the day after tomorrow.”

          A dangerous philosophy.

          For example let me lead you back to the days when Israel was standing on the border of the Promised Land. Moses was not reluctant. He sent 12 to spy out the land. Remember, God had been preparing them for this, They had His WORDS, they had His promises to stand by them, and they had examples of God’s rich blessings as they left Egypt. And the report about the land was exciting.

          But some of the spies “spread among the people a bad report”, they said, “There are giants in the land”. Joshua said, “We can do it,.” Remember, the Lord has promised. But they did not go.

          The cost of their spiritual sickness was High. They were doomed to wander in the wilderness 40 years, till all people older than 20 years were dead.(Numbers 14,33)

          Procrastination always has a cost. For one, the longer we put something off, the worse it looks. It misses God's promised blessings, squanders opportunity. Remember Abraham, “He went out, not knowing”, and discovered riches and blessings for us also. Genesis 12.

          There is a little poem titled “Around the Corner” by Charles Towne. Parts run like this:
              “Around the corner I have a friend,
               In this great city that has no end.
               Yet days go by, and weeks rush on,
               And before I know it a year is gone….
              “Tomorrow, I say, “I will call Jim,
               Just to show I’m thinking of him.. . .
              “Here’s a telegram, sir”
              “Jim died today.”
               And that’s what we get,
               and deserve in the end.”

          So, do not procrastinate.

GPD 10/24/12

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/13/12

          These days of nearing the end of a political campaign the words of St. Paul to the Ephesians spring to mind.
              “Be ye angry and sin not,
                Let not the sun go down upon your wrath”. Ephesians 4, 16.

          I grew up in an all boy family, and we got into tussles and arguments. But mother and father had a strict rule, “don’t ever go to bed without getting things settled between you”.

          The short rule was this: “Never go to bed angry”.

          It was a good rule. Proverbs backed them up. Solomon had taught:
              “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly,
               And a man of wicked devices is hated.” Prov. 14,17.
And he adds,
              “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
               And he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city.” Prov.16,31.

          Because our parents knew what happens when you stay angry. It festers, it troubles, your mind and tends to make the reason of your anger real, and the longer you harbor anger, the worse it gets, till often it becomes a mountain that will cause so much damage to both you and the world around you , that it will never be repaired.

          The solution, and it often comes hard, is this. Apologize. Try it, say, “I was wrong, please forgive me”. And settle the matter now “while you are in the way with him”, as Jesus teaches in Mathew 5,25..

          Anger. Easily aroused, hard to stop. But have a care, and life becomes more pleasant when we are not stirred to anger by every little slight or mishap. “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty”, and yes, our parents had the rule right, “Never go to bed angry”. God bless that life.

GPD 10/13/12

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/9/12

          If things go as reported, Felix Baumgartner an Austrian daredevil, will step from his gondola at 23 miles up and dive to earth. The temperature is nearly 100 degrees below zero, and the air is so thin his team estimates he will reach speeds over 690 mph, slowing as the atmosphere thickens. Scientists hope to learn much about the kind of suits future pilots wear, and so much more, for the safety of future flyers.

          Then there is this. The principal of a public high school in Tooele, Utah turned away dozens of girls from their homecoming dance because their dresses were deemed too short. Among those refused entry was the homecoming queen. The principal has apologized because the dress code was too vaguely written, and has scheduled another dance to replace the first one.

          The Houston Texans came away from New Jersey with a win, but they also had one of their better linebackers banged up.

          So life goes on, that’s why I stick in such items.

          BUT, life goes on because God is merciful.

          Many, many Christian households finish their meals with this prayer from Psalm 136,
              “O give thanks unto the lord,
               For He is good,
               And His mercy endureth forever.”

          It strikes me that we simply take that for granted, His mercy. We sing of it with pleasure.
              “Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness.”

          Or the hymn beginning, “The Lord hath helped me hitherto.” Why, you’re humming it now, aren’t you? Let’s remember the words together.
              “The Lord hath helped me hitherto,
               By His surpassing favor.
               His mercies every morn are new,
               His kindness doth not waver.
               God hitherto hath been my Guide,
               Hath pleasures hitherto supplied,
               And hitherto hath helped me.”

          “I am the Lord, I change not.” And that is why the items I reported above can and do happen. They surely add variety to life, don’t they?

          May the Lord richly bless your day.

GPD 10/9/12

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/3/12

          Here are bits of advice from an old cowboy. You know, that old fashioned cowboy who worked the range 100 or so years ago lived a harsh life, in the saddle often from before light till after dark, mending fence, cleaning water holes, pulling cattle out of the mud, tending to blowflies and other infections.

          It was a rough life. Demanded energy, purpose, and honesty. Because usually there was no one around to check on his work which was often miles from the home ranch.

          In brief, the cowboy did what most of the early settlers in this country did, put forth honest effort, gave more than the minimum, wired till the work was done, and helped build a great nation.

          All this ought to remind us all what real life is. It has purpose, it has goals, it sees results, and offers satisfaction with the knowledge that one did one's best.

          And that is what the Christian life ought to be also, isn’t it?

          The Sermon on the mount in Matthew chapters 5 – 7 gives a sort of summary of how Christians are, and how blessed they are because they “hear His words and do them”.

          I ran across some “Old Cowboy’s Advice.” Here are several.
               “You cannot unsay a cruel word”
               “When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.”
               “Sometimes you get, sometimes you get got”.
               “Words that soak into your ears are whispered – not yelled.”
               “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”

          And this gem, stuck on the walls of an outhouse in a forgotten corner of Colorado.
               “Want what you have,
                And you’ll always
                Have what you want.”

          May God bless your day richly.

GPD 10/3/12

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 10/2//12

          Evidently someone hacked and sent some stuff purported from me. I am sorry this happened, I apologize and have changed my password.

          It reminded me of David as a youth in Psalm 13 where he cried, as we so often do,
              “How long, O Lord, will you forget me forever?
               How long will you hide your face from me?”v.1
But this was not the end of it. The Psalm ends with this strong word:
              “But I have trusted in your mercy;
               My heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
               I will sing to the Lord,
               Because He has dealt bountifully with me,.”v.5.6.

          Into the dark night of the soul when we wonder if God has forgotten us in this corner of His world, our heart is refreshed because we remember that God’s promises always are true and that He means what He says, for in Jesus Christ the Truth is revealed. God loves us. So let us be content, blessed with God’s great gift.

GPD 10/2/12

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/19/12

          Christians are quite serious in believing that when they gather together for worship and work, God is present and sovereign, that He hears prayers, and that His word works as it is spoken. Things happen. God corrects and guides, God teaches and strengthens, God hears and does.

          When St. Paul was writing his letter to his young co-workers, Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete, we see Paul directing and guiding them into such leadership and such faith. So He writes this – and I believe we do well to take the advice and act on it – 1 Timothy 2,1-4.
              “I exhort therefore, that first of all
               supplications , prayers, intercessions,
               and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
               For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may
               Lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
               For this is good and acceptable
               In the sight of God, our Savior;
               Who will have all men to be saved, and
               To come unto the knowledge of truth.”

          The time for voting nears. And the voices become more urgent and strident. But, as one blogger reminds us, vote for the person’s principles, what does he do, not on maybe a misstep in speech or one simple misstep.

          We do well to pray, first for our country, and for those in leadership positions to guide the nation.

GPD 9/19/12

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/18/12

          It had rained overnight, so the air Saturday morning was fresh and rain-washed and cooler. As I was driving to my Bible study early on, the streets and walks were full of runners, joggers, walkers.  Some just walking their dogs, others jogging, but most walking with energy and purpose.

          The scene was so serene and I would say almost bucolic, it was hard to believe that on the other side of the world people were screaming and shooting and dying, that on Wall Street police were arresting demonstrators, and in Chicago teachers were on strike, asking for more money.

          The world is torn by unrest and strife.  And added to that usually there is an earthquake somewhere, or a flood, or some other destructive Happening.

          So I turn to the Scriptures, to the Word God has given us for help and strength.  I find there this word from Psalm 121.  Listen.
              “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, 
               From whence cometh my help.
               My help comes from the Lord,
               Who made heaven and earth.” Then,
               “The Lord shall preserve thy going out
                And thy coming in,
                From this time forth,
                and even forevermore.” Psalm 121 l.2.8

          And I am content, secure in the knowledge that the same God who allows me to live in this place, also sees the rest of the world, and nothing is there He does not see and bend to His will.

GPD 9/18/12

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/13/12

          Kipling wrote “Mandalay” which ends with this:

               “On the road to Mandalay,
                Where the flyin’ fishes play,
                An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China
                'crost the Bay”.

          But dawns sort of come slowly, first a faint lightening of the sky, then one can start to make out features, and finally, when the sun rises above the horizon, everything stands out clearly.

          Every teacher waits for that “AhA” moment, the time when a child suddenly says, “Now I get it”. Light breaks through and understanding is awakened. Learning is happening.

          It happens in religious confirmation class, in adult instruction classes, everywhere where lessons are taught and learning is done.

          It happens in life, doesn’t it? Get a new appliance of some sort, and the first thing you do is find out how it works by reading the manual that came with it or having your child show you.

          To this day, my grandchildren have been, and still are, so helpful when I have to find out something about the computer I use. And they have been most patient and never said, “O, I showed you that last week”.

          All this is what the Psalmist had in mind when he said,
               “The truths you wrote are wonderful
                That’s why I keep them.
                Your word is a door that lets in light
                And helps the simple person to understand”. Ps 119,129-130

          This process of learning is on-going; it is really life-long, a continuing growing in understanding. So St. Peter, who had said, “As long as I live I will always remind you of these truths even though you already know them.” ends his second letter to the Christians with these words:
               “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our
                Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory,
                both now and forever.” 2 Peter 3,18.

          As I finish this brief word, I just hope and pray that you are daily having your “AhA” moment as you study the word of God. May He bless such flashes of insight to enrich and strengthen your growing faith.

GPD 9/13/12

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/11/12

          350,000 Chicago school children are not in class because teachers are on strike. When it will end depends, I suppose, on politics.

          If that news isn’t depressing enough, the news is regularly filled with failing children. China outdoes our graduates in math and science courses. The ads are filled with devices children can use to enhance their learning skills.

          Now here comes a thoughtful article suggesting we simply stand aside and allow children to do a little learning on their own.

          My office in Detroit overlooked the play area where children spent their recess time. How often did I not hear someone shout, “That isn’t fair” and something was corrected and play went on, but they were learning to get along in society and maybe even take a little disappointment as part of life.

          So the piece says, “Maybe the best thing that parents can do is to back off a bit. To let children face some adversity on their own, to fall down and not be helped back up.”

          The great concern of teachers and administrators in high-achieving schools is that children are so over-protected that they fail to develop character. They never get a chance to develop the crucial ability to overcome real setbacks and in the process develop strength of character.

          Here comes Solomon with a word for his son (Proverbs 4, 20-23)
         “My son, be attentive to my words;
          Incline your ears to my sayings.
          Let them not escape from your sight;
          Keep them within your heart.
          For they are life to those who find them,
          And healing to all their flesh.
          Keep your heart with all vigilance,
          For from it flows the spring of life.”

          Really, this is where those deep truths that make life meaningful come from, for that begins with this, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved.”

GPD 9/11/12

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/6/12

          In the months that are just ahead, wise groups will make it a firm rule not to discuss politics in their gatherings. They know from past, and bitter, experience that this often leads to heated debates and even body blows. For it seems, as a wise man said, “there seems to be no stage where people of good will can seriously disagree on significant issues without being disagreeable or resorting to personal attacks and name calling.”

          That is being displayed daily in news casts and reports of all kinds. And it will not change. The reason, for my eyes at least, lies in what God said to Cain ages ago. He said, “Sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you, and you must master it.” Genesis 4,7b. The Bible says further, “None is righteous, no, not one.”

          And the result, finally, is just what Pastor Rick Warren says, “I’ve never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads, and I don’t expect that tone will change before the election”.

          And we’re living in this kingdom too.

          Fortunately, we also live in the other kingdom, Christ’s Kingdom, where He, the perfect Savior, reigns. He sends His Spirit to live within us, to help us see clearly, and understand where our hope, comfort and strength comes from.

          St. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians Church, said to them, “Because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.: Ephesians 2, 4.5.

          By His grace and mercy for us, we can survive and live “as unto Him”. Thank God for His mercy.

GPD 9/6/12

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/4/12

          So classes were in session at Texas A&M University, and maybe students learned something, I don’t know. I do know I spent this past Labor Day reminiscing. My thoughts went way back to my Adrian days when we used to have a sort of end-of-summer gathering.

          It started when members of the Board of Education got the idea to invite staff to an outing to end the summer and begin the new year. One of the members lived where there was an empty lot next door, and invited us over. There were hamburgers and brats and hot dogs and other food, each brought a dish or two to pass.

          After the meal, the youngsters played a game of touch football, and they ended up in enticing dads to play also. That became sort of a ritual for the day, sons against dads. First the dads easily prevailed, but when sons grew and put on some heft, things got interesting. And Fran always came away with a sprained ankle or a sore shoulder or a skinned leg because he played too hard.

          Meanwhile, several watermelons were cooling in tubs filled with iced water. When the afternoon drew to a close, there was another sort of snack meal, and we all helped clean up.  As the twilight drew near, we ended by singing, usually,
     “Abide with me, fast falls the eventide,
      The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
      When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
      Help of the helpless, O, abide with me.”

          Then we joined hands and joined in the Lords Payer, I spoke a blessing, then we each wended our way homeward.

          The satisfaction came from having lived the words of Psalm 133,l.
     “behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Psalm 133,l.

GPD 9/4/12

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 8/30/12

          All over this land classes are beginning, from pre-school to graduate school, and many persons have many thoughts about themselves now.

          How well I remember my first day at college at Concordia, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was in the first room on the first floor, the youngest of four.  My parents were long gone, and I was facing my first classes the next morning.  State street ran alongside the building, and one of the street car lines ran on State street.  The cars ran every fifteen minutes till 12, then only every half hour.  I lay in my bed, kept awake by home sicknesses and the noises of the night I was not accustomed to.

          But I survived, as you all will too.

          For the promises of the Lord, our God, are for exactly such moments in our lives.  When we feel alone, and face what seem impossibly difficult tasks, then we Know the Lord is “an ever-present help in trouble.” as Psalm 46,1 begins.

          The Psalm ends with this rich promise: “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge.” Psalm 46,11

GPD 8/30/12

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 8/28/12

          “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” That’s Psalm 119.105, and it’s a verse many of us memorized in our confirmation class.

          It tells us the Word of God lights the way and show the right path for us. Have you found it so?

          A promise that Isaiah wrote comes to mind. He speaks of rain and snow watering the earth, just so My Word, says the Lord.
    “So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth.
    It shall not return unto Me empty,
    But it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    And shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Is 55,11.

          The word is never void of results. It always does what God intends for it to do.

          Jesus spoke of the seed, and He concluded with “Other seed fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear let him hear:”. Matthew 13,8

          And the writer of Hebrews describes it so” “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.” Heb. 4,12-13.

          It works just that way, shows us our sins, and also points out to the Savior from those sin, Jesus Christ, who made payment for our sins on the cross.

          And there is the reason the Word is so important. It lights the way for us, but it also show us our rough and sinful edges, and then shows us what the Lord has done to get rid of those sins. The Word, then, comforts me and strengthens me for the walk I am on. That is God’s grace and mercy to me in action, and I am thankful.

GPD 8/28/12

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 8/23/12

“Don’t mourn for me now,
Don’t mourn for me ever.
I’m going to do nothing,’
forever and ever,”

          Sort of a pitiful choice, that I once read on a grave marker in a nearly forgotten little country cemetery.  Some inquiry established the fact that it was the grave of one of those sort of forgotten people.  Her name was Anna, and she was the oldest daughter.  Never married, helped raise her brothers and sisters, always there to do dishes, scrub the floor, can the garden produce for the winter.  Ready at any church affair to do the endless preparation and clean-up required, and never complaining, nor even thanked.

          Strikes me the world is full of such folks.  They are active behind the scenes, doing their jobs.  Who saw to it that the text of your drivers license is accurate?

          An example.  Yesterday I had to wait several minutes to have a prescription filled.  There was a clerk busy in the section with a cart, loaded with cartons.  One by one he emptied those cartons to put tooth brushes, ointments, bandages, aspirins, and much other stuff on the shelf for customers to pick up.  Each item had a place, and somebody had to replace items as they were purchased.  His was that job.

          The world is filled with such folks.  And it sounds sort of depressing to realize it.

          You believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior?  Then know that you are precious to Him.  Do you hurt, He knows, Do you worry? He said to cast your care on Him, for “He careth for you”.

          And look at what Jesus said in His story of the lost sheep. ”I say to you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents.” Luke 15, 1-7.

          So let’s comfort ourselves by reading again Psalm 23, which begins with these familiar words, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”  And you often heard this, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

          Nonentity?  Never, precious in the eye of our dear Lord.

GPD 8/23/12

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 8/21/12

          “Are we all becoming Braggarts?” asks an article in the WSJ.  Then it goes on to give examples of just that in every day life.  The article says “we’ve become so accustomed to boasting that we don’t even realize we’re doing it, and it harms our relationship to each other.”

          Julie Hanks, a licensed clinical social worker, says “We brag because we can, and a lot more people are listening.”  Facebook shows this to be true.  Now, what should our response be?

          I suggest that we read again Galatians 5,22.23.  It reads, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

          Then this rendering by Peterson in MSG of 1 Cor. 13, 4ff.
“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut.
Doesn’t have a swelled head.
Doesn’t force itself on others. Isn’t always “me first”
Doesn’t fly off the handle.’
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others.
Doesn’t revel when others grovel.
Takes pleasure in the flowering of the truth.
Puts up with anything.
Trusts God always.”

          For Christ’s’ children need not brag to build themselves up.  Instead, they can sing, “I leave all things to God’s direction.” and mean it.  For the Psalm is their trusted guide.  It reads.
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help.
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. . . .
The LORD shall preserve you from all evil.
He shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.” Psalm 1211.2.8.

          So may this ever-present Lord bless your days.

GPD 8/21/12

Friday, August 17, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 8/17/12

          It seems to happen when one least looks for it. We miss a person who had been around, and when we ask, we are told “She’s retired and they moved to Missouri to be near their family.”

          So I wonder, “Where do the years go? Down what time tunnel are the days poured out? We are young, and the years stretch before us. The world lies there for us to live in. Challenges to meet and work to do, things to accomplish and other things to solve. Then suddenly the days no longer stretch so far. The words of the September Song suddenly make sense, ‘and the days grow short, when we reach September.’”

“And the autumn weather turns the leave to flame,
And I haven’t got time for the waiting game.”

          But listen, it’s no time for despair, or “I wish I had”, but to turn with confidence to our God, who has given us these days.

“Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.” LSB 733,1.

Indeed, “Time like an ever-rolling stream,
Soon bears us all away,
We fly forgotten as a dream,
Dies at the opening day”. V.5

          So no more looking back with longing. Enjoy the memories, and they are sweet and precious. Live the hours He grants today, and enjoy His grace and mercy under His eternal eye.

“If my days in earth He lengthen,
God my weary soul will strengthen,
All my trust in Him I place.
Earthly wealth is not abiding,
Like a stream away is gliding,
Safe I anchor in His grace.” 732,6

          My wish and prayer for you and me, “Safe I anchor in His grace”.

GPD 8/17/12

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 8/14/12 Faith

              “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
               The evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11,1

          Phillips translates this, “Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for; it means being certain of things we cannot see.”

          Peterson in his The Message translates: ”The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.”

          And these early believers gave their lives to defend this truth of Jesus Christ.

          The truth is they believed that Jesus Christ had really lived, suffered, died, and then rose from the dead to pay for their sins. And because that was God’s eternal plan, they were saved for ever. Recall that Jesus had said, “The work of God is this, that you believe in the One He has sent.” John 6,29.

          We live in a troubled time. But then, it is probably no more troubling that any other. But I quote from an article written by Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal (8/11/12 pg A17) titled, “Nation That Believes Nothing”. She writes, “The ad’s cynicism contributes to a phenomenon that increases each year, and that is that we are becoming a nation that believes nothing. Not IN nothing, but nothing we’re told by anyone in supposed authority”.

          And that attitude of unbelief is raising its ugly head in the church. Satan started that when he said to Eve, “Yea, hath God said?” It’s rampant today, this attitude of not believing what we hear, or wanting to make changes in teachings to suit our culture. The list goes on. I say this to alert us, to throw some light into this darkness, and to seek again the faith of our Fathers, that Jesus Christ is the Only Savior there is no one else, and He is the end for salvation.

          St. Peter writes at the end of his second letter, “But grow in grace and knowledge of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory." II Peter 3,18

GPD 8/14/12

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 8/11/12

          This is what St. John wrote, and it is often called “The Gospel in a Nutshell”.
“For God so loved the world,
That He gave His Only-begotten Son,
That whoever believes in Him,
Shall have eternal life.
For God did not send His Son into the world
To condemn the world,
But to save the world through Him.”

          That bit of the Holy Gospel of St. John reveals the plan of salvation. And the word “Whosoever” reaches to every person. It does not single any one single person, or race, by name. And that is the comfort.

          The Gospel in a nutshell indeed. May it serve to strengthen your faith and bring comfort to your soul.

GPD 8/11/12

Friday, August 10, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 8/10/12

          The short Old Testament book of Joel is a reminder that God is there in our daily lives always.

          He speaks of a coming plague of locusts that will devastate the land. Why, because they had forsaken God.

          But when they repent,
              “Rend your hearts, and not your garments,
               Return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious
               And compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love,
               And He relents from sending calamity.
               Who knows, He may turn and have pity,
               And leave behind a blessing”. Joel 2,13.14.

          For afterward “I will pour out My Spirit on all people”. V.28.
“and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”v.32.

          Our world is like that, forgotten God, doing what we please. We see that every day, read about the bad things that happen, the ways people seem to find to do evil things. The Bible sums the attitude up when it says:
              “The Fool says in his heart,
               There is no God.
               They are corrupt, their deeds are vile,
               There is no one that does good.
               The Lord looks down from heaven
               On the sons of men,
               To see if there are any that understand,
               Any who seek God.

               All have turned aside,
               They have altogether become corrupt.
               There is no one that does good,
               Not even one.’ Psalm 14, 1-3.

          And yet hear again this wonderful word.
              “For Go so loved the world that He gave
               His only-begotten Son,
               That whosoever believeth on Him,
               Shall be saved,” John 3,16

GPD 8/10/12

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 8/8/12

          How do you say ‘goodbye’?

          The question has never come up?

          But it is legitimate. Just what do you say when you depart either from some company, or an individual friend?

          For so many of us it’s simply a casual ‘see ya’, and leave it at that. For others often a hug with a kiss. Others simply seem to disappear from any group and never seem to be missed at all. That is because we are so sure we will see one another again.

          But wait, comes the psalm with this word about our life.
“Lord, what is man that Thou takes
Knowledge of him! Or the son of
Man, that Thou makest account of him?
Man is like vanity.
His days are as a shadow
That passes away.” Psalm 144,3.4.
“My days are like a shadow that declines;
I am withered like grass.” Psalm 102,11

          So maybe how we leave one another has some value after all, doesn’t it? I remember family gatherings when I was a lad always ended when some uncle or other started to sing, and all joined in, “God be with you till we meet again,”
               God be with you till we meet again
               By His counsels guide, uphold you
               With His sheep securely fold you
               God be with you will we meet again.
               Till we meet, till we meet
               Till we meet at Jesus feet
               Till we meet, till we meet
               God be with you till we meet again.

          And today I usually send my children off after their welcome visits with a “Drive safely, under God’

GPD 8/8/12

Friday, August 3, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 8/3/12

          “An Idea whose time has come” said the title of the article that was talking about free libraries. It reported about a couple in Schulenburg who had taken a wooden box, painted it in bright colors with a sign saying “Free Library” and another sign saying, “Take a book – leave a book”. Then they fastened this to their front fence and put in about a dozen books they no longer wanted.

          Well, the pathway in front of their house was used by many for their morning and evening walks and runs. It also had quite a bit of travel morning and night. So they placed that box and watched to see what would happen.

          For the first several days it caused people to pause a bit, but the next thing some books were gone, soon to be replaced by others. In a week every title they had put out was gone, replaced by others. And that has continued. They checked the box every night. And in the first week noted nearly fifty different titles had passed through.

          When they added a second shelf for paperbacks, traffic simply increased.

          You know, we are quick to add canned goods to food drives at grocery stores, community centers, or perhaps at the Church we attend. This idea asks us to feed the mind.

          And why not?

          Think of the possibility. You pick up a mystery and find a clue stated on page 38 is the key to solve the puzzle, and you figured it out as you were reading. Stimulates the mind.

          History, geography, politics, financials, all are grist for such a library. The cost is minimal, and the end result is huge.

          One never knows what one may find.  Euripides, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Baldacci, or even a Perry Mason.

          May the idea, planted, bear some fruit, and If you do place such a Library, please share. It is just such an action that enhances the soul.

GPD 8/3/12

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 8/1/12


          What does that mean for you? The dictionary definition goes something like this: “It is living by a strict moral and ethical code, honest and above-board.” A statesman of a long ago age said, “A liar needs a good memory” Quintillian.

          Mark Twain echoed that thought when he said, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything”. He fleshed out this thought with, “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

          Moses in the Bible Book of Exodus wrote: (MSG) “Don’t link up with a wicked person and give corrupt testimony.“ Don’t go along with the crowd in doing evil and don’t fudge your testimony just to please the crowd,: Exodus 23. 2.3. And added, “Don’t take bribes. Bribes blind perfectly good eyes and twist the speech of poor people.” v.8.

          The summer Olympics are underway, and the authorities have standard tests to find if athletes have been using stuff to enhance their performance. Because drugs have been playing a part in many such, bike races, and in football. Players have been suspended for games because, unwittingly according to them, they used a substance disallowed by the system.

          Now there is Missy Franklin, a high school senior from Colorado who has won gold, and is setting new records, and is being pursued by companies to accept their cash for her feats. So far she has said "No", because she wishes to swim in college too, and the ruling body insists on such swimmers to be amateurs.

          And then there is politics. Archie B. Carroll, Professor of Management, University of Georgia, who said: “As religion and faith are being driven out of the public square, the Judea-Christian ethical foundations that have sustained our country since the beginning are being lost, replaced with a . . .self-centered, pragmatic indifference that will ensure that our moral compasses will fail to point in the right direction in the future.”

          That’s a scary thought, and it is there because too often the American proverb proves true. “Don’t measure your neighbor’s honesty by your own”.

          Instead, hear what God asks of us. ”Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” That truth remains ever.

GPD 8/1/12

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/31/12

“Be still,
And know that I am God.” Psalm 46,10.

E.C.Peterson,in his The Message translates this:
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at Me,
Your High God,
Above politics, above everything”.

          We have often heard the words, but do we really listen to its message?

          To be silent, to stop our hurried life and really hear the silence. Silence in which the “Still small voice” is finally heard by the prophet. Not in the thunder and crashing noises, but in the quiet.

          Do you, as I do, long for silence? In this age of facebook, twitters, texting, piped-in music and noise whever we go, it is really hard to find complete silence anywhere. And the constant noise dulls our ears to His voice. We lose touch, and the result is more and more frantic activity.

          There is an incident in 1 Samuel 30, 1-4, where Amalekites dame destroyed Ziiklag and captured women and children. So when David and his men came home, their city was burned to the ground, their families carried away. The report says, “then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept until there was no strength left to weep.” Then we read that “the people spoke of stoning David”. V.6a.

          Now this is what caught my attention, “David strengthened himself in the Lord.” V.6b. He did not try to defend, he did not rant and rave, he took a moment to commune with His God. And out of that came a successful plan for the return of their families.

          That is what silence is for. In the silence we “know that I am God”. We turn to him, not to frantic activity and human planning, we turn to Him and seek His will. “And He heareth us.”

          I do pray you will seek, and find, a place for silent worship and meditation on His Word to strengthen and enrich your soul and find comfort in any time of need.

GPD 7/31/12