Friday, September 27, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/27/13

        Grant, Oh Lord, wisdom, guidance, and direction to those in government. Fill them with the zeal for fairness, that their decisions may reflect to the good  for the whole country. Take away any bitterness or unwise speaking, and bless the work they do in this land under Your care.

        This I pray in the blessed name of Jesus, my Savior.

GPD 9/27/13

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/24/13

          Nine Million!  That number is simply astounding, and yet is the number Apple reported it sold of its new iPhone in the first three days, and the experts who have used it report is far surpasses the last number.

          The entire process is simply amazing, at least to me, and people waited in line long hours – some were even robbed while waiting in line – a real slap in the face.

          We live in a frightening world, don’t we?  And unsettling things happen much too regularly and easily, and we wonder “Is the Lord really aware of all this?”

          A correspondent reminded me of Hezekiah when the Assyrian king threatened Jerusalem. Hezekiah took the matter to His God, and God told him that the Assyrian would never enter the city, and he would be killed by his own sons while at worship in his temple. Just so it all happened. God was there, even when the outlook was desperate. (11 Kings 17 & 8).

          Our circumstances may change, but our God gives this promise, “I am the Lord, I do not change”. Malachi 3,6. And because He remains the same, we can always rely on Him in the shifting events of life. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46,1.

                                   “A Mighty Fortress is our God,
                             A trusty shield and weapon”.

GPD 9/24/13

Monday, September 16, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/16/13

          So, the question before the house is “Are you a hugger”, or where do you stand on the thing of hugging?

          Personally, I never thought about it much. If someone wanted to hug, my personal system was always “let ‘em” or endure it gracefully. Now I see an article that mentions that we have become a hugging culture, He points to ceremonies as the Awards where every participant gives hugs from seat to stage, or sports events where a score results in a round of general hugging. Many schools have established policies, ‘never hug a child.’ That’s kind of sad, because there are times when a child really needs a reassuring hug.

          For men, this is new terrain. Handshakes are scripted, a firm grip, several quick pumps, and done. There is evidence that the handshake started  in the fifth century to show there was no weapon being held.

          Hugging at the work place gets this advice from a senior executive, “Don’t yell, don’t cry, don’t hug”. Maybe that pretty well covers it.

          And then, we probably are over thinking this, and making the usual mountain out of a mole hill, as we tend to do.

          My advice, that of St. Paul (2 Thess 3,16) “The Lord of peace always give you peace in every way. The Lord be with you all.”

GPD 9/16/13

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/12/13

          Just observed the 68th year of my ordination into the Holy Ministry, and it brings all kinds of memories. The country was at war during my Seminary years. Students were classified 4F, but the Seminary had to add a quarter of classes each year. That explains the date of my graduation, Friday, July 13, l945.

The war was drawing to a close, and the country sighed a sigh of relief and spoke prayers of thanksgiving. Troops were coming home and making the difficult adjustments that meant. The Church was active and much involved in helping  get things back to normal.

I remember the excitement of graduation, and looking forward to the next phase of my life. Some of my classmates elected to become chaplains. As a matter of fact one of them ended his career as Chief of Chaplains in the Army. I accepted a Call as assistant Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church, St. Charles, Mo. From that beginning other parishes followed, ending the final 11 years at Bethany Lutheran Church, Detroit, Michigan. I retired on my 65th birthday and then moved to Texas in order to watch our grandchildren grow.

Now our nation just observed the anniversary of 9/11/01. An event that changed our country. And the prophet Habakkuk comes to mind. Living by faith is a bewildering adventure, for we seldom know what lies in the future, And Habakkuk gives voice to our bewilderment. The events from which he spoke came when he saw that God was going to use the godless military machine of Babylon to punish Israel. Using a godless nation to punish a godly one didn't make sense and Habakkuk said that to God.

But then he did more. He Listened, and he began to understand the sovereignty of God. That God is in this world, rules it, and every detail of our lives is worked out to something good. So He ends by saying, “I’m singing joyful praise to God. . .counting on God’s rule to prevail”. Hab.3,18

So the years have been richly blessed. And I also “count on God’s rule to prevail” always.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/5/13

          Have one of those days? The one in which the alarm didn't go off and you ran late and missed an early staff meeting, a project you were working on just didn't come off, lunch was a hasty snack, and the afternoon ended with a traffic jam because an 18 wheeler had capsized and you sat waiting for it to be cleared for nearly an hour.

          So how do you relieve the stress? One lady I know cleans the bathroom, another goes for a long walk, still another takes a nap. Yard work relieves stress for many, or just relaxing with a cool drink for half an hour.

          The times we are living in cause lots of stress, and I am here to offer help.  Just read an article about Ax throwing as a way to unwind. Toronto’s backyard ax-throwing league was started 7 years ago in the backyard of 34-year old Matt Wilson. It has now a membership of 128 and is growing.  Mr. Wilson says, “Everybody on earth loves throwing an ax. They just don’t know it yet. Once you throw one and sink it into wood you’re hooked.” 

          Mr. Wilson has established regular lanes, and scoring rules. One bonus, each target has 2 small green dots painted on it, hit that, and you score 7.  But for this, you need to go to the place where they throw axes.

          The other suggestion is something we Christians have learned at our mother’s knee. “Cast all your care on the Lord, for He careth for you.”1 Peter 5,7.  St. Peter was following his own advice when Herod arrested him. Herod “killed John’s brother with the sword, and when he saw the people liked that he arrested Peter too.” Acts 12,3, Since it was Passover, he “set 16 soldiers in squads of 4 to guard him for he wanted to bring Peter before the people after Passover. So Peter was put in prison”. v.4.5.       

          Now here’s something to worry about. But when the angel came to rescue Peter, he found him sound asleep, so soundly that it took a smack in the ribs to wake Peter up.

          Now that’s how to deal with stress. “Take it to the Lord in prayer”, and leave Him take care of it for you. Stressful times do come, things something go awry, or someone lets us down, or something wasn't done in time. The list goes on. But let’s always remember, we are Baptized Children of God whose eye is on us. He is indeed, our Good Shepherd, so “I shall not want.” 

          May God bless the day.

GPD 9/5/13

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/3/13

Work, for the night is coming,
Work through the morning hours;
Work while the dew is sparkling,
Work 'mid springing flowers;
Work when the day grows brighter,
Work in the glowing sun;
Work, for the night is coming,
When man's work is done.
          -Anna Louise Coghill

            That poem came to mind when I read Genesis 2,15 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work and take care of it.” And then, after the Fall into sin this, “In the sweat of your face you will eat bread till you go back to the ground, because you were taken from it. For dust you are and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3,19.

            A person is a creation made to be busy, to be involved in something useful. And when this is the sort of work that benefits mankind, the satisfaction is the greater.

            Right now there seems to be a sort of uneasiness in our country. We see much joblessness as an economic crisis and we talk about the implications of high unemployment. That isn't wrong, but the point of the matter is this is also spiritual. A job is more than a means to a paycheck. There used to be a saying, “To work is to pray” God made us to be useful to ourselves, and in the world we live in; to contribute to the greater good.

            There is pride and satisfaction in doing something well, and even more so if it  is something to will make another happy too. To work is to grow, and find out who you are and what you can do.

            Work gives us purpose, stability, integration, a shared mission. We belong. And when we are unable to work, not able to find a job, it is sad for a human being. That is the real reason jobs are the no. 1 priority in our domestic life.

            We all have heard this saying, “The devil finds work for idle hands to do.” Because when hands are idle, when there nothing to keep us occupied, we tend to mischief. Think about that a bit, for it is so true.

            So, this Labor Day weekend, when we again celebrate the working man, it behooves us to say, “Thank God I have a job.”
            Because God is He “whose mercy endures forever.”

GPD 9/3/13