Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/31/12

          The Golden Gate Bridge is 75 years old now, and it is an orange red almost by accident. When it was being built, designers debated whether to paint it black, white, striped, or what.  Meanwhile the primer coat to stop rust was applied, and that was a red lead paint. The sunset sparkled on the color, people liked it, and so the present hue, International Orange, was chosen. Almost by accident. Serendipity.

          Often things happen by accident. I read fried onion rings happened because a cook accidently dropped some onions ready to add to a burger into a vat of fat, fished them out, and a new eating snack was born.

          The St, Louis Worlds Fair in 1904 gave us the ice cream cone. A vendor selling ice cream ran out of cups, asked a nearby waffle maker if he could roll them up, perched a dip of ice cream on it, and viola, the ice cream cone.

          Muffelettas started in New Orleans when grocer Salvatore Lupe decided to make life easier for farmers at the nearby French Market. They’d buy some bread, meat and cheese, then sit and juggle everything. So, to make it easier for them, the grocer sliced a round loaf of fresh bread, put on salami, cheese, and olive oil with cut black olive, and sold this sandwich for lunch. Jason’s Deli features this as one of its offerings.

          Finally, I must tell you that the hamburger probably was started at the Outagamie County Fair in 1885 by Charlie Nagreen, who flattened a meat patty, cooked it, and put it on bread. (That county is in Wisconsin, by the way).


          Happenstance. Happens all the time.

          Because it does, it is good to know what took place centuries ago when Israel was on the march. When they reached the land of Moab, the king sent to the prophet Baalam and asked him to come curse the Israelites. Balaam replied that he could only do what God commanded, and added, “God is not a man, that he should lie; or the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?  Numbers 23,19.

          James says of God “with whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning.” James 1,17.

          Jesus speaks and says, “Thy Word is Truth.” John 17,17.

          I point this out so we understand what the Bible teaches about our salvation in Jesus Christ is the truth, and we can depend on that for our soul’s welfare.

GPD 5/31/12

Monday, May 28, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/27/12

          On Pentecost Sunday, the Birthday of the Church.

“Spirit of the Living God.
Fall fresh on me . . .
Melt me, mold me, make me, use me,
Spirit of the Living God,
Fall fresh on Me.”

          And may this Holy Spirit touch your heart with the word of truth, today, and all your life.

          A blessed Pentecost.

GPD 5/27/12

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/23/12

"It Couldn’t Be Done" by Edgar Albert Guest, published 1919 in "The Path to Home".

Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

GPD 5/23/12

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/22/12

          High school proms in full sway, and graduations are underway, and I wonder, “Where will they be when history tells their story?” How will the classes of 2012 do?

          This year there are many who graduate from college with no real prospects of employment, and yet so many are burdened with debt.

          Just as an aside, when I graduated in 1945 one did not do it until all bills were paid, and that was a real worry for many of us. But we managed.

          I just paged through the year book of our graduation year from Concordia Seminary in St Louis, Mo., and wondered where they all are. I know we were sent to many parts of the country. One classmate went to India, spent his life there, and is buried there. Another went to the Philippines. Two ended up as faculty members at our Seminaries. Someone pointed out that not a single member turned out to be elected to District President.

          But no matter, they all served the Lord in His Church, doing what St. Paul writes, (Col. 4,17)
               “Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received
                From the Lord, that thou fulfill it.”

          Or, as J.B.Phillips translates, “God ordained you to your work, see that you don’t fail him.” And that is how we spent our lives.

          My roommate and I were chatting before graduation and we said, “Why don’t we keep in touch with a Round Robin letter”. So we asked several others, and a small group elected to do it. So we did, kept that letter going for 50 years. Then it ended because there were so few left. Today, if we had just kept all those letters, they would prove interesting reading indeed.

          But it also reminds me that Jesus’ sending is being done, and today “there is no speech, nor language, where their voice is not heard.”Ps 19,3

          Therefore, the time spent in wondering leads me always to the Truth that God is Truth, and I have the privilege of being one of His children, because He said so.

GPD 5/22/12

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/19/12

          If you can believe it, some 2,700 athletes were signed up to slip into the waters of Lake Woodlands starting at 6:50 this morning. They will swim 2.4 miles, then bike into the Piney Woods for 112 miles, and end by running a 26.2 mile marathon.

          The race, called the Ironman race, ends at midnight. Last year more than 2,400 finished. Athletes come from 41 different countries, 114 are from the Woodlands, and l,149 from Texas.

          Nick Wolda, President of the local Convention Bureau, calls it “a huge marketing tool for the Woodlands. Ironman is the most recognized brand for triathletes. It’s a significant brand that represents quality, hard work, and athleticism.”

          That’s covering over 149 miles in a single day, and that requires stamina, determination, and dedication to getting the body ready for so much effort. Yet there are many who do that, and do it more than once.

          I simply marvel at such dedication.

          Yet, I read the history of the Church and find it filled with story after story of dedication, effort, determination, and often real sacrifice simply to do what? Why, follow the command to “Go into the world and preach the Gospel to every nation, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

          And I thank God for the gift of His Spirit, for that is what drives such people. Not to gain a prize, or to gain the satisfaction of having done something, but to Obey their Lord Jesus Christ. For them their watchword might well that of David in Psalm 62,6 “ “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.” V.6

          So the Lord blesses His Church and keeps on building it.

GPD 5/19/12

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/17/12

Today is Ascension Day.

          So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts l, 6 - 11

          Jesus is alive, and now is sitting at the right hand of God, from where He will come to judge the living and the dead.

          That is the Hope we live with, and it is true. Thanks be to God for giving us this light into the eternal plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. May He bless your day.

GPD 5/17/12

Monday, May 14, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/14/2012

           There are several cannas growing in our back yard. Right now they are in full bloom, and I said to my wife, “Look, the poet writes of them, as ‘born to blush unseen’.” (Thomas Grey “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”)

          That, I think, results when we are always rushing to get things done. We brag about multitasking to get more things done. But studies have shown that by multitasking we never get to the real bottom of things, nor do we fully understand what it is we are trying to understand or do.

          So, we over schedule our days, rush through meals, or grab a sandwich from a drive through, drive impatiently, and wonder why there is no joy in our lives, for we take no time to settle back and being satisfied with a job well and truly done. No real feeling of having done anything with our time because we still see the schedule filled with things.

          May I ask you to stop and read Psalm 1. No, not as a multitask. Just slowly read the 6 verses. Do you see any hint of haste, of hurry, of getting it out of the way? Verse 2 says what? That the reader “delights in the law of the Lord; and in His law does he meditate day and night”.  Ever try that? Stop and meditate? What is it saying? What does it mean for me this moment? Why are the words that way, and why are they at the start of the psalmery?           

          Here there is no hint of frenzy or haste, Instead, he enjoys God’s words, and the result, a fruitful life, a well-fed soul.

          Isaiah had written, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect pace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusts in Thee.”, Is. 26,3 Meditate on that truth when the clanging of the noisy world in which we live seems to get too much to bear. He will keep us “In Perfect Peace”. What a rich promise.

GPD 5/14/12

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/8/12

          Sunny and tranquil this morning, but the promise is for some rain showers later on. Seems quiet, yet the news is forever filled with accidents and theft and murder, so there is much going on that shows man is still a sinner.

          The Bible says it bluntly, “The Fool has said in his heart there is no God.”, and then it goes on to explain what follows after this. “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, There is none that does good.” Psalm 14,1.

          I thought of that when I read an advice columnist giving her OK to same sex marriage with “We know so much more than when the bible was written.”

          And here is our Vice President is quoted as saying, “I have no trouble with same sex marriage.”

          And I ask, “What has happened?”

          One letter writer suggests that erosion of good character started when we adopted political correctness as our national standard. What started with such good intentions of not doing any harm, ends up by giving us simply the lowest standard in all aspects of life. Language becomes boorish and lacking in pleasantness. And morality is what pleases me.

          And that is why, I believe, the book of Ecclesiastes was written. It shows the meaningless of a life that is lived without God, “under the sun” is what the writer writes. “A striving after the wind”, useless and pointless. With no goal and no joy in it at all.

          Here are some nuggets:
          “Don’t be too quick to tell God what you think He wants to hear, God is in charge, not you”. 5,2
          “God made men and women true and upright; we’re the ones who made a mess of things’.7,29.
          “The last and final word is this, ‘fear God, do what He tells you’. And that’s it.” 12,13.

          Ah, it is high time we went to our knees to pray for the welfare of this land, and every soul in the world for whom Christ died. Let us then be up and doing.

GPD 5/8/12

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/1/12

           Yes, it does make a difference in the way we live our lives. St. Peter would back up that statement, because He was the one who denied his Lord in that terrible night, for which the Lord forgave him, and then used him mightily as a spokesman for the truth of the Risen Christ.

          So it does make a difference. Peter said for our benefit, “They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you” 1 peter 4,4.

          In a conversation with a school janitor the teacher heard him say, “Life is just so daily”. He meant sort of humdrum, the daily chores needed doing, and she was reminded of her dad, a farmer. “He did what needed doing without much or any angst. I think his attitude was rooted very much in an agricultural lifestyle. You plant, chop and pick and do all the things that you are supposed to do, but only God controls too much rain or too little rain or freezes.”

          St. Paul said to the Colossians 3,17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the father by Him.”

          Longfellow reminds us in The Song of Life.
               Lives of great men all remind us
               We can make our lives sublime,
               And, departing, leave behind us
               Footprints on the sands of time;
               Footprints, that perhaps another,
               Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
               A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
               Seeing, shall take heart again.
               Let us, then, be up and doing,
               With a heart for any fate;
               Still achieving, still pursuing,     
               Learn to labor and to wait.

          So live “that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders.” And may God bless that walk.

GPD 5/1/12