Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/29/13

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/29/13

I was re-reading the story about young Joseph whose brothers had sold him to traders who sold him to Potiphar, an officer of the Pharaoh, who used him as a house servant. I wonder whether he cried himself to sleep at night.

Here he was, the favored son of a wealthy man, suddenly working as a servant¸ unable to understand orders, getting yelled at and maybe often beaten for making mistakes. It probably took a while before he was even anything like comfortable.

And still we read, “The Lord blessed the Egyptians house for Joseph’s sake.” Gen.39,5  But soon his mistress cast a lustful eye on him and tempted him. He fled the house, was accused, and thrown into prison by his master.v.20  “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy and gave him favor in the eyes of the keeper of the prison” v.21.

You know the story. How Joseph ended up as the one who served Egypt and save grain for the lean years and when he met his brothers when they came to buy grain, he told them, “It was not you that sent me hither, but God.” 45,8.

The most telling passage in the entire story is its ending when Joseph says, “As for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Gen.50,20.

It reminds me to look for such passages when reading your bible. BUT GOD, how comforting that sounds. For it tells us that God always is present, even in our deepest troubles and hardest situations. Here are several such promising words. Romans 5, 7-8; Ps. 49,15; 1 Cor. 2, 9-10. Ps. 73, 26.

How can it be that you’re involved, with such a one as me?

Because His promise to me, “I will be with you, even to the end of the world.” And in every situation. Bless His Holy name.

GPD 5/29/13

Monday, May 27, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/27/13

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/22/13

Shade Tree Wisdom 5/22/13

Psalm 19 begins with these familiar words:

“The heavens declare the glory of God,
And the firmament showeth His handiwork.
Day unto day uttereth sheech,
And night unto night showeth knowledge.
There is no speech,
Nor language,
Where their voice is not heard”. v. 1-3

Every now and then life is so filled with things that I find it strengthens my way to listen again to words about life’s beginning, and just under whose care we exist.

Surely the news from the world around us is shattering, from the explosion in Boston to the explosion in West, Texas to the tornadoes that ripped through north Texas to the major tornado that absolutely destroyed Moore, Oklahoma. The amazing news that so few lives were lost, even though two schools were destroyed.

In all these disasters, help arrived almost as soon as the storms ended. Even now Utilities are sending crews to try to restore power and water systems so people can begin to rebuild their lives. And millions are given for the Red Cross and other systems to help restore some of the losses.

One question that always seems to bob up is “Where is God”, asked with a sneer. These questioners forget we have been very busy removing God from public life as much as possible. Nor do they see that what causes those who stand ready to help, to help. It is their faith and their compassionate hearts such faith grows.

There is also such news as the Memorial Herman Ironman Texas triathlon run last Saturday in the Woodlands. I find that astonishing. Athletes start with a 2.4 mile swim in Lake Woodlands, followed by a 112-mile bike race through Southeast Texas, ending with a 26.2 mile marathon ending on Waterway Avenue. The winners did it in a little over 8 hours,49 minutes. Some were still running at 10:30 when our organist left church after practice.

And finally, Houston is awarded the 2017 Super bowl. One lure was one runway at Ellington field will be reserved for owners' jets flying in, so they won’t need ever to stand in line waiting.

GPD 5/22/13

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shade tree wisdom 5/18/13

Shade tree wisdom 5/18/13

Today they are running the Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas triathlon here in the Woodlands. Traffic has been warned of delays, and also diverted for the race. It began at 6:50 this morning with a 2.4 mile swim in Lake Woodlands, which is followed by a 112-mile bike race through Southeast Texas, and the day ends with a 26.2-mile marathon through the Woodlands to finish on Waterway Avenue.

At stake: 50 qualifying slots for ironman world Championship.

Some 1000 people from all over the world will be racing, straining their strength to at least finish, and some hope, finish well. Many are also raising funds for charities by their effort. Hundreds of volunteers to help, direct, lend assistance, make such a race possible.

What also makes it possible is the, what shall I say, indulgence of the local residence whose day is often inconvenienced because of traffic demands etc. We, for example, recess our Saturday Morning Bible Class because the race runs by the Church and often makes driving there nearly impossible.

So it strikes me how our lives are so intertwined, are they not. And how often do we pass over opportunities to speak about Jesus Christ, and the gift of salvation His death offers to every person., He “died for all,. That they which believe on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

What God offers us is opportunity, is it not? The problem is us – we aren’t smart enough to see it. Think about it that way, please, and pray the Word of salvation is readily shared. God bless such insight.

GPD 5/18/13

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Shade tree wisdom 5/13/13

Shade tree wisdom 5/13/13

Yesterday we celebrated Mother’s Day with all the flowers and cards and phone calls and perhaps family gatherings and the rest. And I was reminded of this from Holy Scripture.

”Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies. The heart if her husband does safely trust in her, so he shall have no need of spoil” Proverbs 31,10.11.

It also reminded me of the busy lives we lead, so we hardly find time to do the thing at hand properly, because we are ‘multitasking’, and in doing that, we tend to do either bad or sloppy work.

Ruben Navarrette Jr. writes on this in the Chronicle. He works at home, and had been looking after the baby while his wife was away. She came home to find him sort of juggling taking care of the infant while trying to finish a column. His wife put a stop to that dashing back and forth,. “Pick one”, she demanded, “When you’re going to be with the baby be with the baby,” she said, “and when you’re working, work, Don’t try to do both, for both will suffer.”Wise words. We might all find them useful.

E C Peterson once wrote that too many people are busy because they have never learned to say NO, so they end of up doing all sorts of jobs that they have no business doing, He reminded about the apostles who selected others to run the food pantry while they “were about their business of prayer.”

How fitting to be reminded of that, isn’t it? The Chronicles printed some ‘momisms’ which people had sent in. They remembered sayings of their mothers. One that applies here is this one “Never grow a wishbone where your backbone needs to be.”.

And one sure way to grow a backbone in your choices is by reading the Word. The Psalm says, “Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way, by taking heed to it according to your Word. . .Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.: Psalm 119,9.11.

So, a blessed mother’s day, and may God bless your day and life.

GPD 5/13/13

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Shade tree wisdom 5/3/13

Shade tree wisdom 5/6/13

“Speak the truth to one

Another, render in your

Gates judgments that are

True, and make peace”.

Zachariah 8,16 RSV

This solid piece of advice from an Old Testament prophet seems, or ought to be, sort of taken for granted. After all, one of the first moral principles drilled into us as children was “always tell the truth”. And when we were caught in a lie, we paid the price. How often did I hear “That’s not fair” from children playing near my study window.

More and more it seems hard to speak truth. Variations of untruth are so many so varied, and so well disguised. They come in the form of imprecision, socially acceptable slippages, or just plain propaganda. One Phrase often used, “I didn’t mean it that way”.

The truths of the gospel need precision, exactness, lines worthy to drink in and savor and use to build a life that honors God. And for that, we need a lodestar a touchstone, a guiding principle, something to use to measure what we heard.

Precisions means attention, precise words give a true picture, and it might even cause resentment or anger.

But consider, we use our computer to send emails. And we have to be exact in our address, don’t we, and we accept that because “otherwise it won’t go through”.

Speaking words of truth separates wheat from chaff, the sound from the unsound. We need to discriminate, as we do when we eat mushrooms. We eat only those that do not poison us. We discriminate. We insist on that.

Sloppy phrases often hide bitter truths. Like saying of an explosion that “there was some collateral damage” instead of, “14 children with their mothers who were on an outing were also killed in the blast”.

` It is time, for us to speak truth one with another. And one truth that will save your souls is this. “Jesus Christ died for the sins of mankind” and this “No man comes to the Father But By ME.”

GPD 5/6/13