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

Friday, July 27, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/26/12

          “Oh,how I love your law,
           It is my meditation all the day .
           You, through your commandments,
           Make me wiser than my enemies;
           For they are ever with me., , ,
           Through your precepts I get understanding,
           Therefore I hate every false way.” Ps. 119,97.98.104

          The writer also says, "I have more understanding than all my teachers” and this “How sweet are your words to my taste.” And finally he mentions that there are “false ways” that a person so easily slips into unless he is guided by God’s Word.

          Merriam-Webster defines common sense as “sound judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.” In short, using the knowledge we have available to pick a course of action.

          In light of that simple explanation I might ask of society today, ‘Where has common sense gone?”

          I think of James, a student in fourth grade. A good student, attentive and active in class, obedient, well-mannered, a Boy Scout working on his Eagle Scout badge. He went on a field trip in early fall. Got back Sunday night and got ready for school next day. He stuffed his books into his back pack as usual, but forgot he had a scout knife from the trip forgotten in that pack and at school somebody saw it and mentioned it. WELL!

          That School had a ‘zero tolerance’ policy in effect, so police were called, James was hauled off to juvenile authorities, and it finally ended when parents got involved and talked some sense in a principal who was carrying out their “zero tolerance” rule and not using one bit of common sense.

          Is this the way we want our world to operate? I suggest we give some real thought to the policies we accept and include a modicum of common sense into our way of life again.

          May I ask you to join me in praying for such a life.

GPD 7/27/12

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/24/12

          Here, on this 24th day of July, I look out of my window and see the clouds slowly drifting by, the trees gently swaying in a slight breeze, and I say, “Isn’t this a peaceful scene?”

          Then I start the internet, and I pick up my morning paper, and am reminded of the world we are living in. It is not all serene

          There are, of course, reports about the shootings in Colorado and a picture of the shooter in his first court appearance.

          Then there is the report of the sanctions imposed on Penn State and one article asks the question, “Why inflict punishment on the innocent for the failures of the guilty.”

          And this leads to an interesting point. Have we abdicated responsibility and covered the need for discipline with codes and “zero tolerance” statements? Where is the teacher’s authority in the classroom? Where is the University President’s being able to say, “This is wrong.”?

          Have we replaced these codes and rules and standards of right and wrong with ‘Who am I to judge?”

          The letter of St. Peter speaks to people living in just such a confused world as well, and He says this:
      “I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them already and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know I will soon put it aside as the Lord Jesus has made clear to me.
      And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things”. 2 Peter 1, 12-15.

          What Peter reminds them of is to remember the Truth of the Gospel, and then “Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. To Him be glory forever.: 2 Peter 3,18.

          The sky is still showing clouds slowly drifting by, and it reminds me that “Our God is in the Heavens, He has done whatsoever He wills.: And His will for us was to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. And I am grateful because I am His.

GPD 7/24/12

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/21/12

          “Searching for clues”, and “what went wrong?” are some of the headlines I am reading about that Colorado shooting. I am sure the days following will offer ideas and reasons and analysis and dissection and explanations from many sources, some authorities, others not.

          This terrible act catches our attention because it so brutally says what the Church has been saying for centuries, Man is a sinner, and the only hope is faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Man cannot help doing what he does because he in the terrible grip of sin, and without the help of the Holy Spirit he is incapable of seeing his plight.

          Pray for the loss, but pray for the light as well. Isaiah prophesied, “On them has the light shined.” 9,2. May that happen for many as they try to understand this terrible act.

GPD 7/21/12

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/19/12

          The Letter to the Romans sort of sums things up when it teaches about government and the reasons for having law. It says in chapter 13,verse 9.10 “Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

          There is a reason for the Ten Commandments, St. Paul said they serve as “our schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ.” Simply by showing us that we are indeed sinners. Gal. 3,24.

          Its purpose is so that we, the citizens, can live “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty”. For when people live together in society, they have learned certain principles they need to abide by if they are to get along. And when persons cross those principles, they become subject to whatever punishment a judge may met out.

          But the system is not absolute, and often breaks down. The Preacher said of it, “When a sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.” Eccl. 8,11. And he says, “And because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.” V.13.

          Because there are always folks around who believe they can do anything they’re big enough to do and trample on the rights of others. That calls for law, the reason why we have that blue line that steps in and restores order. God calls this “God’s servant to thee for good.” Romans 13,4a..

          Really, it’s because God set this order you and I can drive safely to the market, and to our worship place, and get home again safely. Thank God for His order.

GPD 7/19/12

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/17/12

         I begin with a direct quote from the Holy Bible.
              “There is not a just man upon earth,
               That doeth good,
               And sinneth not”.Eccl. 7,20.

          We have a problem believing that . Ask the average person and he will admit that he or she was “pretty good”. Pay taxes, drive safely, don’t create a scene, etc. And we tend to agree with that estimate.

          However, go back to the beginning, after Adam and Eve decided to go their own way, and we read this: “Every imagination of a man’s heart is only evil continually.” Genesis 7,21. Which agrees with the Psalm that reads: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me”. Psalm 51,5, and Psalm 53,3”. . .there is none that doeth good, no, not one”.

          And that explains why we have, or even need, articles such as this:” Fix That Password – NOW! “ It gives hints on getting up a Password that will be secure. One line caught my attention. “Don’t use actual words. Because password-cracking software can run through the entire dictionary in one minute.”

          That’s sort of scary.

          Is it hopeless? Not at all, for we live as God’s baptized children, secure in our Father’s mercy and grace. St. Peter would give us this answer, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you”. 2 Peter 5,7

          And St. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians 6,17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”

          That’s the answer, the Word of Truth defends us, always.

GPD 7/17/12

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/15/12

Prayer at evening of this Sunday

     Heavenly Father, as the day of rest and worship comes to an end,
And I look forward to another week, walk with me through the week.
I do not know what lies ahead, but I do know I am
Always under your care, and I am grateful.

     Forgive my sins, and keep me from temptations.
Grant peaceful and restful sleep and let me awaken
refreshed for the new day and week ahead,
and bless the work that lies at hand for me to do.

     I pray this in the name of Jesus, my Savior and Lord.


GPD 7/15/12

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/12/12

          It’s been raining all week, and is to continue for a while, and we are grateful, for the wildlife is responding to more cover and better browse. Said a wildlife manager “There are fawns everywhere, and ducks and quails and other birds are nesting again all over.” Good signs that we are past the drought in this area of Texas.

          In our backyard there are some spider lilies and cannas blooming. Each as perfect as if they were grown for show. And the only eye to see them is our eye. Reminds me of a line or two from Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard”. Remember them?
     “Full many a gem of purest ray serene
      The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
      Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
      And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

          God’s creation is always perfect, but Solomon said of us, “I found that though God made them, upright, each has turned away to follow his own downward path”, Eccl. 7,29.

          So enter our gracious God with the Gospel, the story of how He saved us from this ‘downward path’ to bring us salvation as a gift, by sending Jesus to take our place, pay the penalty we earned by our “downward path”, and rise again to show that God accepted the terrible price. So that St. Paul could write, “By grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph 2, 8.9.

          May this truth grow in your heart through daily prayer and reading of His Holy Word. And God bless the day.

GPD 7/12/12

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/10/12

         Nearly everyone knows of the Grand Canyon. Few ever heard of the Palo Duro Canyon which cuts through the high plains of the Texas Panhandle. This canyon, the second largest in the country, is 120 miles long, up to 20 miles wide, and 820 feet deep.

          It is a State Park with all the things that make such parks worth a visit. And this year it celebrates the 45th anniversary season of the Official Play of the State of Texas.

          The show, offered Tuesday and Sundays during June through August, begins with a lone horseman carrying a flag atop a 600 foot cliff. It is set against an authentic tapestry of history and brings to life the struggles and triumphs of the early settlers of the Texas Panhandle. Song and dance, special lighting effects, including the famous Dancing Waters of Texas, and concludes with fireworks if conditions allow.

          Millions of fans come from around the world to see this event.

          As I said the play brings to life the struggles and triumphs of the early settlers. Today we live in this land, and we take so many conveniences for granted, do we not. So much that it becomes front page news when a lady has her water supply cut off over a dispute of an erroneous water bill.

          Reading Joshua, for example, tells of a people who knew God was with them in every struggle, and when Gideon was called to lead the fight against the marauding Midianites, he only consented when God assured HE would fight for him.

          Somehow, we tend to forget the presence of God in our daily life. So when Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature,” and then added, “I will be with you till the end of the world”, it is true. And our life will be richer if we take that thought along into every situation we face daily.

          It’s all right with me if you do not know about the Palo Duro Canyon, but I do hope and pray you will remember the strong promise of Jesus each day.

GPD 7/10/12

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/4/12

          A Happy Fourth of July 2012

          When I was still doing my morning walk on the fourth and saw a walker coming toward ,me I would often burst into:                    

          You're a grand old flag,                    
          You're a high flying flag                    
          And forever in peace may you wave.                    
          You're the emblem of The land I love.                    
          The home of the free and the brave.                    
          Ev'ry heart beats true                    
          'neath the Red, White and Blue,                    
          Where there's never a boast or brag.                    
          Should auld acquaintance be forgot,                    
          Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

          More times than not people would chime in, here a walker, there someone on the front lawn having a cup of coffee, there a dog walker. It was nice. Then we would smile, wave,. Maybe greet one another, and go our way, enjoying the blessing of living in this country.

          Now, on this fourth, Let’s join to sing:                    

          God bless our native land;                    
          Firm may it ever stand Through storm and night.                    
          When the wild tempests rave,                    
          Ruler of wind and wave,                    
          Do thou our country save                    
          By thy great might.                    

          So shall our prayers arise                    
          To God above the skies,                    
          On whom we wait.                    
          Thou who art ever nigh,                    
          Guarding with watchful eye,                    
          To thee aloud we cry:                    
          God save the state!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/3/12

          Here is a paragraph describing the kind of people who made our country strong. It says, "The Hatfields knew who they are, they know what they believe in, their kind will last. Other kinds of people will come and go; the glib and confident, the whiners and complainers, and the people loyal only to themselves, they will disappear. But the Hatfields will be here, plowing the land, tending and harvesting crops, doing the hard work of the world because it is there to be done. Consider yourself fortunate if you know such.”

          And here are some words from an article in the WSJ titled, “What is the American Creed". In summary is says right now our culture is mostly being formed by intellectuals, unfortunately with high IQ and low common sense whose answer to the best break America ever got -use of a common language to unite an uncommon people -, the response of intellectualism, being bi-lingual.

          “America’s creed is blessedly simple. Freedom, equality, democracy and America is the promised land, as Jefferson said, ‘the favor of the Almighty in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, and planted them in a land flowing with all the necessities and comforts of life’. Here we can live, as Lincoln said, “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right ad God gives us to see the right.”.” That is who we are. A people striving to live that creed.

          Years ago there was a minster named Peter Marshall. I quote from a sermon he delivered one Mother’s Day. He said, “No nation has ever made any progress in a downward direction. No people ever became 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 sweet; it is not progress when womanhood has lost its fragrances. Whatever else it is, it is not progress.”

          Surely, the shape of our world must open our eyes to see how far we have come since the Fathers planted their feet on this land of Freedom. “God bless our native land, firm, may she ever stand, through storm and strife.”

GPD 7/3/12