Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/24/13

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/24/13

In the great scheme of things, I suppose spitting cherry pits rates way down there. Somewhere with watermelon seeds flying around, as one reminded me.

And yet, chewing the fruit, pursing the lip, curling the tongue just so, and then blowing, is one of those things that give life a memorable moment, especially if the aim is true and you managed to get your older brother on the neck. It’s one of those little things that bring a smile to the face and warm the heart in the remembering. Often such moments go unnoticed and unremarked, yet such moments provide the oil that make life easier.

I’m just thankful the Lord provides such moments now and then, aren’t you?

So “Rejoice in the Lord always,
Again, I say, Rejoice.”

GPD 7/24/13

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/23/13

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/23/13

Golfer Phil Mickelson won the British Open played at Muirfield in Scotland last weekend. He started the day five strokes back, and won by 3 strokes. Many watched the match and were probably glad for him.

There was another match recently. This one at Eau Claire, Michigan. Attended by maybe 200 people, some from overseas and one contestant came all the way from California. And what was that? You might well ask. It was the annual cherry-pit spitting contest. Yes, there is such an event.

One rainy afternoon in the 70’s Herb Teichman, who owned a fruit farm 100 miles northeast of Chicago, and was trying to find a way to lure people to his farm to make it a self-picking operation. It was a rainy day, and he and some children were in the barn, waiting out a rain storm. Mr. Teichman drew a line in the dirt and challenged the children to a cherry spitting contest, and suddenly the idea sprouted. Why not make this an annual event, and on July of 1974, he hosted the first contest.

Word spread. Mr. Teichman met with other cherry growers and they drew up a set of rules. The official pit must come from a Montmorency cherry. Each competitor gets 3 tries, with a minute in between to eat the fruit off the pit. For every inch over 4 feet the competitor stands, he must move back 2 inches from the line to make it even.

An early competitor was a young gym teacher who worked summers for Mr. Teichman, Rick Krause. In 1980 Mr. Krause spat a pit 65 feet 2 inches and claimed his first title. For the next several decades, he and his son, Brian, won. They were beaten once by a Canadian. Last year Ronn Matt from Chicago rocked the cherry pit spitting world with a pit going 69 feet. But this year the champion belt was back in Krause hands. Mr. Matt mustered only 33 feet.There were a total of nearly 200 spitters in this year’s contest.

By the way, there are organized competitions in Germany, Switzerland, and Canada.

I do not believe this event will ever reach TV. But you know there is such an event. And as long as there are cherry trees ad children picking them, there will be pit spitting.

GPD 7/23/13

Friday, July 19, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/19/13

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/19/13

It set me to wondering.

I mean the article in the paper the other day about the couple who “found” a deserted fawn in the woods near their home, brought it home, and are shown feeding it with a bottle. The article went on about how we moved into their area and now needed to look out for such lost creatures. The article also mentioned that this was costing money for food, for shelter, and for the extra time it took.

That set me to wondering. Deers do that, hide their fawns while they are off foraging for food. So the doe returns and finds the fawn gone. So life goes on .

Meanwhile, the fawn grows . It doesn’t learn how to survive in the woods. It gets over its fear of humans And when they release it into the woods when it is grown, that deer has no clue how to get along in the woods, because it was never near its mother to learn those skills it needs to survive.

As I said, such thoughts ran through my mind when I read the story about ‘rescuing’ the lost fawn. Maybe it wasn't at all. Many things we do have unexpected and unintended consequences, don’t they?

GPD 7/19/13

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/16/13

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/16/13

       Benjamin Franklin, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, said:
“I’ve lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth; that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?  We've been assured in the sacred writings that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.”

       Yesterday I had my semi-annual doctor’s visit and he gave the usual “Keep on doing what you are doing”. The walk is slower. I often use a cane. Things in general are slowing down with age. And I left his office wondering again why the Lord has allowed me these many years.

       Then I read the Word, and I find St. Peter with the same question,. His answer, “I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance: knowing that shortly I must put off this tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus has showed me, “ so that “after my decease you will have these things always in remembrance,” 2 Peter 1, 12-15.

       That is a good reason to remind you always of “the old paths, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jer. 6,16) that our Fathers trod, and that brought them to salvation through their faith in Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection to pay for their sins, and they pay for mine, and yours.

       Because people have a tendency to do what Jeremiah said, “For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jer. 2,13

       There is one reason, isn't there? For the Lord to allow me to remind, bring to mind, always the center who is Jesus Christ, so that “by grace you are saved, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”

GPD 7/16/13

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/11/13

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/11/13

I mentioned Whittier’s Barefoot Boy the other day. It brought many thoughts to mind. It seems to me – and I may be totally wrong here – but those were more innocent times.  Times when people as a whole generally obeyed the law. They might have grumbled, and they could and did change some onerous laws, but it was done in the way it should, with debate and thought and care. Not, as one careless senator said, “Let’s pass it and then figure out what it means”.

One thought is, “From my heart I give thee joy
      I was once a barefoot boy”

        And it is from that thought I write now. For it does seem that we are moving farther and farther into the swamp of neglect of God’s will, indifference to the proper and legal way of doing things. And the result is confusion and chaos. For history shows that once we get on the wrong track, the way becomes cloudy and dark.

Right now the Texas governing body is debating an abortion law. Nobody seems to remember the law that came first, the one that says, “Thou shalt do no murder.” Instead there is the cry of rights and having a choice, when the wrong choice leads to this to begin with.

History also shows that once we leave the right path, it is very hard to get back to it.

We who are baptized, the children of God, led by His Spirit, let us be fervent in prayer and in speaking the saving Gospel that alone saves people from destruction. For Christ Jesus came ”that the world through Him might be saved.”

GPD 7/11/13

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/9/13

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/9/13

We are moving toward the middle of July in this summer of 2013 and I am thinking of summer days when I was growing up. Time for just being a boy. Whittier’s poem came to mind. Part of it these familiar words.

“Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy with cheek of tan!
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes.
. . .Oh for boyhood’s painless play,
Sleep that wakes in laughing day,
Health that mocks the doctor’s rules,
Knowledge never learned in schools
. . .Cheerily, then, my little man,
Live and laugh, as boyhood can”.

Now I find life is not like that. Here is a Digest article about the 100 must trusted people, and I see few on that list that really seem all that trustworthy, (Not even the pope made this list).

        E.H.Peterson in his “Running with horses” writes, “why do so many people live so badly, not so wickedly, but inanely? There is little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture” pg.11.

        I turn to the Bible, and see no heroes as such. Each life is separate, and the Christian lives quietly, serving his God in the corner where he is planted, without notice, paying no attention to trying to get attention, but doing his daily life in love to God and to his fellow man, and really being a “light in the world”.

        Luther said the world is full of such people. They belong to the congregation of God and to them, he writes, “I belong”.

Ah, for that let us work, seek, find, and in Christ, rejoice because there are God’s children, of whom I am One by His grace.

GPD 7/9/13

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/4/13

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/4/13 (the Fourth)

       “The Bible is the best of all ¸for it is the Word of God and teaches us . Continue there to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts”.

       “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christina nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers,” John Jay, first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.

       “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Psalm 33,12a.

GPD 7/4/13

Monday, July 1, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/1/13

Shade Tree Wisdom 7/1/13

       This morning’s news reports that 19 firefighters lost their lives in that fire in Arizona. That’s tragic, and there will be discussion about procedure or what else needed to be done, and important matters like that, both for now and for the future.

       But it tends to show us that things are uncertain, and often are hard to understand, or to puzzle out.

       Last time I spoke of Jeremiah. His life was harsh, and what he preached to the people was ignored and derided. Worn out by the opposition, and beaten by self-pity, he was about to give it up when he heard these words: “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you will fall down, what will you do in the jungle of the Jordan?” Jer.12,5.

       Life is difficult, Jeremiah. But are you going to quit at the first wave of opposition? Are you going to live the life to which I called you? Remember my promise to you was, “be not afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you. Jer. 1,8

       So are you going to live cautiously, or courageously? I called you to live your best. I set your feet on the Way. I called you to live with courage and to God’s glory.

       It is easier to give in, to go along, to take it easy, to drift along. But remember this Jeremiah, approval by the masses is not the way to Truth. Which promise is more likely to be kept? One a politician makes to 10,000? Or one that a person makes to a person? Truth is not arrived with statistics. Truth is often flattened to fit a slogan.

       The crowd did not dictate his message. He got that word from God.

       It strikes me we live in an age like that of Jeremiah, and it behooves us to be sure of whom we follow, what we believe and practice, and what we say. God’s Word dictates our lives, and therein lies the blessing we seek daily. May your day be rich with truth.

GPD 7/1/13