Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 3/26/13

          John Muir once said, “I have more than E.H. Harriman (the railroad magnate), for I have all the money I want, and he doesn’t”.

          Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, and this is surely not a time to be talking about having money, or not. It focuses our attention on the gift that faith is. It shows us how badly we miss the mark in our lives because we are sinners.

          That is what the shout Hosanna refers to. Lord, save us. And we do have this great need because we are utterly helpless. The hymn reads:
              “Ye who think of sin but lightly,
                Nor suppose the evil great,
                Here may view its nature rightly,
                Here its guilt may estimate.
                Mark the sacrifice appointed,
                See Who bears the awful load;
               ‘Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
                Son of man, and Son of God." TLB 451,3

          The truth that stands out is our need is met. The Sacrifice appointed paid the price fully. “He died for us, the just for the unjust, so that we are saved.” 

          And that is the proper emphasis during Holy Week, that we spend some time just thinking of the great mercy and grace of our loving God who, by sending His Only Son to suffer and die for us, saved us.

          Shout HOSANNA, amen.

GPD 3/26/13

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 3/19/13

          Yesterday morning while we were having breakfast we saw a deer come drifting along, browsing on early spring growth. He did not seem bothered by noisy traffic passing by 75 feet away through the trees, nor did our moving in our kitchen seem to bother him, he just moved along browsing contentedly. So much so that this morning he brought a buddy along, both maybe half grown, and this morning they spent maybe ten minutes browsing on an early blooming bush, before disappearing in the trees. 

          50 years ago they had this patch of forest to themselves. I guess it shows we do adjust, find different ways and better solutions. And that brings into play what I was reading about yesterday. How do you spend your vacation. 

          The WSJ offers several options. One would be to hike in one of our national parks. Just by way, Ruth and I spent several weeks in company with a son and daughter-in-law exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. It was a wonderful, relaxing time and made us more aware of the pioneer way of life. 

          Other options include adult camps at Interlochen in northern Michigan, for instance, for those who enjoy singing, the camp offers 4.5 hours of practice and work each day. 

          The Wooden Boats School in Brooklin, Maine offers 100 one and two week classes where students can build their own kayak, canoe, or row boat.

          There is also a bird watching camp on Hog Island in Maine, a wild life sanctuary. This offers hiking, clearing invasive growth from nesting places. Bird watching, lectures, and taking a bird census. 

          May I add such things as a week of study at one of the many seminars offered at our Universities and Seminaries. 

          Then, why not take time to really study a section of Scripture which leads you to be able to say, with Psalm 119,11 “Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.” 

          And a final note. Shut off the phone! 

GPD 3/19/13

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 3/16/13

          Psalm 119 begins this way:
              “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
               Who walk according to the law of the Lord. V.1
               You have laid down precepts
               That are to be fully obeyed.v.4
               Oh that my ways were steadfast
               In obeying your decrees.” V. 5

               I will obey Your decrees,
               Do not utterly forsake me”.

          And yet, and yet, the Christian who prays so earnestly falls in spite of what he thinks and prays and resolves.

          Why does this happen? It happens because man is a sinner, and he is constantly under the gun of temptations laid before him by the evil one.

          So we must and do pray, study, steep ourselves in the Word of Promise, and that never fails. We know Satan is always active. The Bible tells us that. Temptations come constantly. So The Lord give us this Book, and His gracious promises. Use the Book regularly, trust His promises implicitly, always live as the child who can say, “I have been baptized.”

          God bless you His Child.

GPD 3/16/13

Friday, March 15, 2013

Shade Tree wisdom 3/15/13

          A bit of history. The Pharaohs paid slaves in onions, and when they found costs were rising higher than they had expected [this was a government project, after all], they cut back on the onions paid. So the slaves went on strike, till their ‘wages’ were raised again.

          I do not know whether that actually happened that way, but it is one of those bits one learns along the way.

          But it does lead to the onion. Grows nearly everywhere in the world, is useful for many things beside giving some flavor to that hamburger.

          Just yesterday I chatted with a man who said he ate an onion every day and claimed he never even got a cold . Onions really do help keep a person healthy.

          They have a natural outer skin that keeps them from drying out, so we can keep them stored for up to six months without having them dry out.

          They are mentioned once in the Bible, when people were starting to complain about this manna and longed for “the leeks and onions and garlic” they ate in Egypt. Numbers 11,5 is the reference.

          When flu seasons is severe, you will read about people placing a cut onion or two in a dish and leaving it stand in a quiet place, claiming the fumes, nearly unnoticeable, keep the flu away.         

          Just thought this knowledge would brighten your day.

          May God bless you this day, in our Lord Jesus Christ.

GPD 3/15/13

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 3/12/13

          No school since it is spring break and lots of students gather in places like Cancun and Galveston to do what ever students do during spring break Party, and later whine because in their partying they got careless and lost their money, or their credit card, or their phone, or other stuff, because thieves do like to attend such breaks also. So, keep that in mind and don’t get careless.

          Having said that, do you take your 10,000 steps daily? That ought to be the daily goal according to the American Heart Association study. And Americans, on average, take 5,117 steps each day. The end result is that we are becoming more and more people who sit a lot more than we ought.

          A study found that exercise alone might not be enough to eliminate the risks coming from too much sitting.

          Studies also show people who use devices to measure steps such as Fitbit or pedometers, being more aware, walk more. like parking at the farther end of the lot when grocery shopping. Here one person walks each aisle each time she shops.

          Meanwhile, while you are sitting, always be sure to have the Bible ready at hand, for this is what is really most important, to have a strong and healthy faith.        

          And after saying all that about daily steps, I pray you remember that most, read that Book, it does “make you wise unto salvation”. And that is my prayer for you all.

GPD 3/12/13

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 3/6/13

            This is not what Dr. Carlson had in mind with “Don’t sweat the small stuff."  It is about an item I read. Happened in a grocery store, mother was shopping and carefully selecting grapes for her purchase.  While she was doing that, her small son was busy eating handfuls.  The produce manager was trying gently to point out the grapes were for sale, not for sampling.
            The mother sprang to the child’s defense, “Oh, for goodness sake, it’s such a small thing” and she was indignant!  The report mused, “I wondered where she would draw the line between small and big”?
            I do not know whether that mother took the time at home to point out to her son the wrong?  Or did this just pass into history.  In public, where the world could see, she was teaching her son that stealing was all right, in fact,  wasn’t stealing at all.
            Wise parents always use the “teachable moment”. Moses, in writing of the commandments, said, “Talk about them when are home, away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again” Deut,. 6,7.
            The line remains.
                        The Ten Commandments will not budge,
                        And stealing will continue stealing.
            Remember, Our Lord Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but do not fear, I have overcome the world.” The story illustrates the sort of tribulation we face   daily, only to have to be strong in His strength.  For “When I am weak, then I am  strong.”
GPD 3/6/13

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 3/5/13

            In 1997 the late Dr. Richard Carlson wrote a little book titled, “Don’t sweat the small stuff . . . it’s all small stuff.”  The book has 100 ideas to make our lives better and richer without letting each little thing become an upsetting item for us.  His suggestions make sense.

            Then I read an article where a woman hesitated to trust the repair of her car to a shop that had this title as a motto.  She felt mechanics ought to be trained to attend to the “small stuff”, the nut properly tightened, the brakes correctly set and tested, the tire pressure where it ought to be.  And she is right.

            “Don’t sweat the small stuff” can be good advice when it refers to a dropped chip or a knocked over drink, but used carelessly it can do harm, for then it can become rationale for taking hotel towels home, or office stationary.

            The news is filled with  stories of theft, smash and grab seems rampant, cell phones often are stolen from careless owners, and the ones who do this often justify their action by saying, “they can get a new one, they have the money”.

            If your honor is worth no more than some price of “small stuff", remember the cost can be very high in the end.  Ben Franklin said, “A little neglect may breed great mischief."

            I end with this
                        In vain we call old notions fudge,
                        And bend our conscience to our dealing.
                        The Ten Commandments will not budge,
                        And stealing will continue stealing.”

            So the best advice, use perspective in daily life, try to see the matter from the other side, and always deal with love and compassion.  You are a Child of God.

GPD 3/5/13