Friday, April 27, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/27/12

          Today I am sitting under a shade tree in my imagination.  Because I find writing is hard work, finding something to write about, searching for the right combination of words to make it interesting, adding touches that are new to the subject or the thought, and setting it down before it escapes again.

          That is why I miss the morning walk that stretched out longer than what I am doing now.  It was and is a nice way to allow the mind to wander.

          Which brings up another thing.  Children today seem so over-booked and so busy that they don’t have time any longer just to daydream, to let their mind wander while they are just staring off into space.

          Remember doing that?  On a quiet summer day lying under a shade tree maybe near a little stream, just looking at the leaves and how the sun sparkled on the water and the quiet gurgle of the little stream with maybe a frog sitting on a leaf, catching flies or what interested him.

          Most creative thought happens when we are staring off into the distance, thinking of nothing much, when suddenly the thought pops to mind, “Why don’t we try that?”  And lo and behold, the thing works, and solves a problem we have been struggling with, and it all seems so simple.

          BUT, it needs that time.  And that is what makes writing hard, and so rewarding.

          I say all this in the hope that you get a handle on what happens before an email arrives, or a blog hits the internet, and I always send my words forth with a prayer that maybe somebody will find something to enrich their life and strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ, the Risen Savior.

GPD 4/27/12

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/24/12

          The life of Joseph is a wonderful and inspiring story. You will find it in the Book of Genesis somewhat toward the end. He’s a favorite son, and it makes his brothers fret. Well, it angers them to the point where they are ready to kill him when his father sends him to check on the flocks they are taking care of.

          But Rueben, the oldest, prevents that and suggests they just drop him into a dry well. He plans secretly to pull him up and send him back to his Father. But, while Rueben is busy elsewhere, some traders came along who are on their way to Egypt to sell their ware, and the brothers sell Joseph to them to be sold into slavery in Egypt.

          So, from favorite son to slavery in a short time. What a time to feel sorry or himself. I wonder, did he cry himself to sleep? He ended up in Potiphar’s, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard, house as a house servant. And there he served.

          He must have been cheerful, energetic, and exact in his duties. So much so that his boss advanced him to be in charge of his household. The story says that Potiphar “left everything in Joseph’s care. With Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.” Gen.39,6.  For “the blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had.” V.5b

          Young, energetic, good looking, a fine specimen of a man. Enter the snake. The boss’s wife was attracted to Joseph and tried her best to seduce him, but he resisted. One day however, the house was empty. Only Joseph was there doing some work and she really tried, dragged him to her bedroom . He had told her, “Look, the boss left everything in my charge except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”

          Result, falsely accused of rape and thrown into the prison where “the king’s prisoners were confined.” In jail he got the attention of the warden who “put Joseph in charge of all those held in prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything in Joseph’s care because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in everything that he did.” 39, 22.23.

          Well, in prison Joseph interpreted dreams for Pharoah's chief baker and wine tasters who had fallen out of favor and ended in prison too, His predictions came true, and when Pharoah had his famous dream about the cattle and the grain Joseph was called to tell him what the dream meant. He did so, ended up as second man in the land, and saved, finally the lives of his family when the terrible 7 year famine came.

          Then, finally, when he had his brothers in his power after the father died, they thought he would not take his revenge; they were scared. And it was then that Joseph said these remarkable words to them.
          “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm Me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being Done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50,20.

          What a story, and what an example. To be faithful wherever we may be. To do what lies for us to do right at hand, and do it to the best of our ability, and then be forgiving.

          The wisdom in Eccl. puts in a nutshell.
              “What ever your hand finds to do,
                Do it with all your might,
                For in the grave, where you are going,
                There is neither working,
                Nor planning
                Nor knowledge,
                Nor wisdom: 9,10

GPD 4/24/12

Friday, April 20, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/20/12

          I think it’s kind of ironic that the dandelions and other weeds we work so hard to get rid of were brought to this country for their nutritional value.

          It’s true, the chickweed, dandelion, and thistle are edible. Many of them are rich in vitamins and minerals, and many were brought to this country as food. Foragers find that many salads are more tasty with the addition of such ‘weeds’. They add to the flavor and the nutritional value.

          And we spend time, effort and money to develop such things as Roundup, and other stuff to slay this rich source of nutrition

          I said that this is ironic, but it is what we so often do.

          Jesus said it on the Cross, ”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. They were getting rid of a trouble-maker, and in doing that, they were carrying out God’s plan for salvation.

          For Jesus Christ “died for all, that they which live should not live unto themselves, but unto Him that died for them and rose again.”2 Cor. 5,15.  So Paul continues, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.” V.17

          So then, this follows: “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” V.19

          Life in brief.  Joseph said to the brothers who had sold him years before this, “You thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good,.” Genesis 50,20a.

          Let’s look at life with God in mind too, for He has our lives planned out. Psalm 139,16

GPD 4/20/12

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/18/12

          No building suddenly crumbles, no man suddenly becomes bad, no person suddenly becomes a cheater, no marriage suddenly ends in divorce. A slow erosion underlies most acts. Decay starts slowly, deep inside, simply fed by little, almost unnoticed, acts.

          I am trying to understand the news report this morning saying that four teenagers killed a homeless man because they saw him getting a chicken leg from a stand and thought he had money, and they wanted money, so they killed him and reaped a torn dollar bill.[ironically, the owner of the stand was selling him this chicken on credit because he had no money] 

          We are reaping what we have been sowing, are we not.  And we forget that “he beareth not the sword in Vain.” Romans 13,4. was not spoken idly. 

          Jesus said this, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be not dismayed, I have overcome the world.” John 16,33. In the strength of that promise, as well as His comforting word that reminds us each day “surely, I am with you always, even to the very end of the age”. Matthew 28,20

          So, let us take fresh heart for the task He has given has to do, seeking to bring the news of Jesus’ suffering, death, and rising again for the salvation of souls to this sin-weary world.

GPD 4/18/12

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/14/12

          We are celebrating a Living Christ and Lord.  Reading the Letter to the Hebrews helps us to shape that truth clearly again, for it is all about JESUS; God’s action in Jesus to save us from sin.  We are clear to walk on this light again, in faith, the human action that faith sets us to walk on The Way.

          Here is how chapter 13 begins: Let brotherly love continue.  2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.  4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.  5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  6 So we can confidently say, ;The Lord is my helper, what can man do unto me?”

          The final words, v. 20-21, are: Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.

Easter blessings.

GPD 4/14/12

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/11/12

          It was after the civil war, and several people seeking a home place had come to southern Idaho, a place not yet settled, and had begun homesteading.  One family that came was the Hatfields, originally from Kentucky, lost several crops to locusts and drought in Missouri, burned out in Kansas by jayhawkers, and were now settling here.

          A neighbor describes them. “The Hatfields know who they are, they know what they believe in, and they know their kind will last.  Other kinds of people will come and go.  The glib and confident, the whiners and complainers, and the people without loyalty, they will disappear.  But the Hatfields will still be here, plowing the land, planting crops, doing the hard work of the world because it is here to be done.  If you know people like that, consider yourself fortunate.

          With the celebration of Easter, Christ is Risen, just behind us, what kind of person will we be?

          We have a Canna or two blooming in our back yard.  The only one who sees their beauty is the people who look from our window, for otherwise, as the Elegy in the Country Church Yard has it,
It is “Born to blush unseen”.

          I sometimes think life can be like that.  When we are growing up maybe we dream of the heights we will reach, the fortune that will be ours, the fame we will gather.  And that just never happens.

          And then?

          We spend our days doing what lies at hand for us to do.  We do it faithfully, and to the best of our ability, and lay it down at night with a sigh of satisfaction, for we did the best we could.

          We “Bloomed where we are planted.”  For here is where we serve our Lord and do what He lays before us to do, and we are satisfied.

          Oliver Goldsmith, in his The Village Preacher, has these lines.
               “Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
                Nor e’re had changed, nor wished to change, his place…
                So “Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
                And fools who came to mock, remained to pray.”

          We say, “Christ is Risen”, now let our lives reflect that faith in how we live day to day under His care.

GPD 4/11/12

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/7/12

O Sorrow dread!
Our God is dead,
Upon the cross extended.
There His love enlivened us
As His life was ended.
LSB 448,2

GPD 4/7/12

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/5/12

          Maunday Thursday, the day of the Commandment.

          Each day we experience the damage that sin causes in the world.  Greed, injustice, dishonesty, cruelty, all trace their beginning to the first disobedience of Adam and Eve that brought sin into the world.

          St. Paul writes, Romans 5,12, “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”  That gives us the problem we have to deal with, and the Holy Week brings us the solution that God has planned to save those sinners from death.

          Romans 5 really celebrates the victory of Christ, where St. Paul sets the power of sin over against the grace of God in Christ, and grace is always the victor.  For even though sin keeps slipping into the picture, yet grace always overpowers it.

          Romans 5 ends with these words: ”As sin reigned to death, so grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life.” V.21. for “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound”.  That's the real meaning of the cry on the cross, “It is finished”.  Let the Holy Week strengthen and refresh your life lived unto Him.

          Indeed, as Romans 6,23 writes, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

GPD 4/5/12

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 4/3/12

          When Moses had finished his final words of blessing, the Bible tells us he went “unto the mountain of Nebo, to top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho”. Deut. 34,1.  From there the Lord showed him the promised land and said, “thou shalt not go over tither”, And there he died and the Lord buried him. Then this report, “Moses was 120 years old when he died, his eyes were not dim, nor his natural force abated”. V,7.

          That marks the end of an event filled life, a life lived with a purpose, under God’s guidance and direction, and with God’s blessing.

          This is Holy Week in which we contemplate again the life of Jesus Christ.  He came with one goal in mind, to rescue fallen mankind.  And that life ended on Good Friday with this final word, “It Is Finished”. The Job is well and fully done.  St. Peter said, “By His stripes we are healed”, 1 Peter 2,24b.

          And the sermon on Good Friday titled “You need not die twice” tells the story.  Because Jesus lived, and died, and rose again, the second death is not in our future.  Die, yes we will, but to sleep, then live in His presence forevermore.

          I thank God for this gift, mine as a gift, the faith planted in Holy Baptism, growing and strengthening through the years and reminded again that it is true by this Holy Week.

GPD 4/3/12