Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/29/13

"Give us this day our daily bread”.

          We have prayed that daily, often many times, and too often just by rote without thought to what we are saying, don’t we? Because God is faithful and we sort of take the daily bread for granted.

          When Moses blessed the children of Israel before his death (See Deuteronomy 33), he said to Asher, “As thy day, so shall thy strength be”.v.25.. Notice the condition? “For this day.” The promise is that the Lord will be there to supply what is needed for that bit of time.

          One of the bits of history when the Lord provided manna in the wilderness is that God provided manna a day at a time. They were told to gather just enough for the day, except on Friday when they gathered for two days. Some did not listen and gathered a weeks supply only to find what they did not need and use that day was rotten, bad, it ‘stank’;.

          So, right after Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s prayer, He added, “Therefore do not worry saying, “what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or what shall we wear.” After all  these things the Gentiles seek, for your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
          “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you… sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6, 31-34.

          St. Paul reminds us of God’s grace, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, that you, having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9,8.

          So we dare to pray with confidence, “Give us this day our daily bread” with a peaceful knowledge that God will do it.

GPD 1/29/13

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/22/13

          A small boy swallowed some coins and his frantic parents rushed him to the hospital. Later, when the worried grandmother called about it, the nurse replied, “No change yet”.

         That is the problem people need to face. In the beginning the Lord God “saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every  inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6,5).

         The Psalm adds, “Everyone has turned away, they have altogether become corrupt, there is no one who does good, not even one,.” (Psalm 53,3).

          So the warning that God spoke to Cain is meant for every person. “Sin is crouching at the door, and desires to have you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4,6.)

          I mentioned that temptations often come in strange ways and from unforeseen directions, and usually at the worst time for us.  Just when we thought we had everything under control, something happens we had not foreseen and that messes our plans in disarray.

          I think of a church family that spent several weeks in a cottage on a lake away from the hurried life of the city. They had a wonderful time. Nobody got sick, nobody even got a bad sun burn. They had taken their dog along and just had a fine, relaxed time, swimming, boating, some fishing, badminton. Now they had packed and were ready to drive back home. The car was packed, so they called their dog to come jump in.

Well, he had just run into a skunk that lived under the neighbor’s shed and gotten the works. So they spent half a day washing that away, got a late start for home, and all were put out. ”that dumb dog”.

That’s how temptation comes.

We are always on the alert because we know something about ourselves.” All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3,23).

But we know more. We have a Savior. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” For Paul teaches, “At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5,6.)

St. John gives us this comfort, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3,17).

So there may be “no change yet”, still we take heart, Because we have a Savior. The world will offer challenges and trials, but Jesus says to us, “in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16,33b.)

GPD 1/22/13

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/16/13

          Things were starting to look up. The young man had gotten a promotion to head steward.
          Life was wonderful. No clouds on the horizon. The future looked bright..
          But “sin lieth at the door”. The world he lives in is filled with all kinds of temptations, snake pits, unexpected and unwanted problems.
          The young man I am talking about it Joseph. Yes, That Joseph, who had been sold by his jealous brothers to traders passing through, and so he landed as a servant in the house of a public official in Egypt, Potiphar. Joseph had done so well his skills were recognized and hence the promotion.
          One day, busy about his work, he found himself alone in the house with his Master’s wife, who had her eye on this handsome young man and tried her best to seduce him. He left his outer garment, tore away, and escaped the house.
          For what she had in mind was sin, and Joseph did not trivialize or soft-pedal it, he said, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against my God?” (Gen.39,9.)
          And he discovered what Christians always have, the world doesn’t recognize God’s values or Words. And, it was not wise to resist the blandishments of the boss’ wife
          So Joseph landed in a dungeon. But even there he served His God, helped the captors do their job, and finally was called to interpret  a dream that the king if Egypt had had. His success here in the court resulted in Joseph, erstwhile slave, landing as the second highest in command in the land. Only Pharaoh himself was more powerful.
          I tell the story to remind us that for every person “sin is ever lying at the door”, and temptation is always there. And so often, when things seem to be getting easier and better, the tests come harder than ever, and often from strange and unexpected directions.
          I plan to fill out that thought in one of the future Shade Tree Wisdom selections. Meanwhile, do enjoy, do enjoy this new year, fill it with useful labor, and grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
GPD 1/16/13

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/9/13

          “But how did they know”? That question came after an Epiphany service in the next confirmation class I was teaching. The questioner was a bright lad, curious and always wanting to understand.
          So we went to the Book of Daniel.
          I reminded the class of the captivity of Israel by the Babylonians, and that they had dragged many Israelites some 800 miles east to a foreign land. One of these captives was Daniel.
          Of course they knew that story, Daniel in the lion’s den. And also probably about the three men in the fiery furnace. So we opened the Book, and I showed them just what happened to the king in these events.
          Daniel, alone among pagans, remained faithful to His God. So, when the king ordered him shut into the lion’s den he said,” Your God, to whom you are so loyal, will get you out of this.” And He did.
          The point I wanted to make was to show that when Israel went to Babylon, and later Persia, they remained faithful to their God, had their scriptures with them, and made such an impression that the sages paid attention.
          I am sure that is  what God planned all along, and so the wise came from the east seeking “The king born top rule”.
          Daniel, surrounded by unbelievers, remained faithful to His God.
We live in a sort of foreign land too, Christianity is maligned, joked about, derided ad denied. Yet the Spirit in us says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
          So, I urge, remain faithful and strong in your faith. God is our Rock and our sure defense,.
GPD 1/9/13

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 1/3/13

          The year 2013 lies before us, its pages yet blank, waiting for us to write our deeds and our misdeed. I hope it will be good,, that record that you write, and have God’s blessing attend it. (More on this later)

          But now, did you know there were 35 bowl games to end this season? I remember when the Rose bowl, and maybe the Sugar and Cotton bowl, were it. That astonishes me sort of, but it really is our history, isn’t it? Like something, we want more and more and more till we finally tire of it altogether.

          It’s like racing, yacht and all kinds of boats, from America’s Cup to individual races with small boats that teach children the art of sailing. There are such annual events as that from Port Huron to Mackinaw, or from Chicago to the Locks etc. But the longest, toughest of all, is described in a book titled, “Race France to France”. Called the Vendee Globe, it was started by French ocean racer Philippe Jeantot in 1989, and the course is to sail around the world, 28,000 miles, in an 65 foot boat alone. It usually takes some 4 months, and the review I read ended with “by the way, don’t forget to eat, sleep, write, make sail changes, analyze the weather, charge the batteries, bail the forepeak, drain the cockpit compartment, and, oh, be really careful brushing your teeth so you don’t stab yourself in the throat.”

          Why do people do that sort of thing? Or the runner who ran his 1000th marathon in Kingwood Texas on New Year’s Day, 2013.

          No matter, the year lies before us, it pages yet to be filled with life.

          And for that, I offer this psalm.
               The Lord is my Rock, and my fortress; my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
               my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my tower.”
          Psalm 18, 1. and “Who is a Rock save our God”. V.31.

          So, may the pages yet to be written be filled with things that glorify God.

GPD 1/3/13