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