Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/31/14

At year end 2014.

“My Soul rejoices,
My spirit voices,
Sing the greatness of the Lord.
For God my Savior,
Has shown me favor
Sing the greatness of the Lord.
With praise and blessing,
Join in confessing,
God Who is solely,
Mighty and Holy,
O sing the greatness of the Lord.
His mercy surely,
Shall rest securely,
On all who fear Him.
Love and revere Him,
 Sing the greatness of the Lord.”
LSB 933,1

GPD 12/31/14

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/29/14

          The event that changed the world and brought us ‘BC’ and ‘AD’, the birth and life of Jesus Christ in an obscure corner of the Roman Empire. Hardly noticed by anyone else, took place some 35 years before this letter arrived in Rome.

          Rome, the teeming capital of power, bustling with commerce and business activity of all kinds, was also home of much important writing, so this letter hardy made a splash when it arrived.

          There is much to read in Rome. Court documents, official notices, fine poetry and excellent literature, yet this letter has outstayed them all, and is still read for its vital truths. For it is an excellent statement of what God is up in this world, and just why Jesus Christ was born, and what “Jesus Christ Saves” really means to the lost world.

          For here St. Paul, who begins the letter by identifying himself as “servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle and appointed to tell the Good News” v.1, starts from the beginning and tells the story. How Adam and Eve fell into sin; “ by one man sin entered into the world”, and how this sin was defeated when Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for it, and what this means for the life of the person who believes in Him. Then what happens to their living, their outlook, and their existence. How they can, and do, live in hope, and how they can defeat the temptations thrown at them by the devil.

          It’s an important letter because it gives us the truth about our way of salvation. It's the last verses we look at are so striking. Paul ends by throwing in this caution: “Fellow Christians, I urge you to watch those who cause disagreements and make people fall for going against the teaching you learned. Turn away from them. Such men are not serving Christ, our Lord, but their own bellies. By their fine flattering talk are deceiving innocent people”. Then he adds this word, “I want you to be experts in what is good, and not even beginners in evil. It will not be long before the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet.” Romans 16,17-20. Paul uses “I urge you”. He means the words to be taken as strong warning. Please pay attention. I insist you fellow my advice. It is pressing.

          A recent study tell that a mere 10 percent of all Christians believe they have the entire truth and says, “there's some good in all religions”. Don’t believe it. Your Lord says, “I am the way, the Truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father But By ME”.  John 14,6.

GPD  12/29/14

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/27/14

          Church services usually end with the Aaronic  Blessing.
“The Lord bless thee,
And keep thee;
He make His face shine upon thee,
And be gracious
unto thee,
The Lord lift up His Countenance upon thee,
And give thee peace”.
 Numbers 6,24-26.

         So the worshiper always leaves the service with God’s blessing ringing in his or her ears. Ready to begin the new week.

          These days during quiet moments I wonder where this “peace that passes all understanding” disappeared to. I remember one afternoon on a cold winter’s day making a pastoral visit to a member who was staying in a room with a family who were taking care of her. So after celebrating the Lord’s Supper and our visit and devotion together, I left to drive home. My way led through deep forest and there was a lake set on the side. I stopped and looked at the quiet water, several ducks were floating and eating, a Heron stood fishing, He caught a minnow while I watched. And I was flooded with a feeling of “Peace with God”.

          The moment passed, I had “promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep”.  So I reluctantly drove on. Suddenly the forest gave way to a casino run by Indians on their reservation, and that was going full blast, with lights and noise and people all over. And that “peace with God” lay shattered by civilization.

          It strikes me that our life is too often just like that. Our quiet moments are broken by  unexpected company or a telephone request for urgent help with something, or whatever.

          Let us seek to try to live with that blessing and peace with each other and the people we meet daily. God surely will bless such a life, so lived in His grace.

GPD 12/27/14

Friday, December 26, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/26/14

Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives,
Do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled,
Neither let them be afraid.”
John 14,27

          Yes, Christmas is here and Christ is born bringing “peace on earth, good will to men”. You enjoyed good fellowship with family and friends. It was a nice Christmas. Except – did you get into an argument with that fellow again and came away fuming? Remember your wife asked you not to discuss politics with him because his thinking, you said, was twisted. But you thought you might set him straight, and now you are fuming.

          So where’s the peace Jesus is talking about?

          It starts with an apology. You apologize to him, that nut? Yes, because you’ re baptized, so have been filled with the Holy Spirit. So, in Jesus’ name, apologize (and mean it from your heart).

          That is one way this Peace on earth fills us with real peace.

          In Jesus’ Name bring us peace. So ends the Christmas story.

GPD 12/26/14

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/25/14

And the angel chorus still rings out:
Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among those with
Whom He is pleased.” Luke 2,14

          Christ is Born.

          A Blessed Christmas to you.

GPD Christmas Day 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/24/14

          If you will, cast your mind back to when you were about 6. Remember? The time simply dragged. It seemed to be standing still. Would Christmas never get here?

          Now change to the time when you were about 26. What a difference. Time simply flew. So many things -  letters to write, notes to pen, envelopes to send, presents to wrap. Maybe some last minute shopping, then get the ham ready for the oven, dinner planned, and then get the family ready for worship.

          And at just the right time, as always, Christmas is here.

          And so:
“Turn to me and be saved,
All the ends of the earth,
For I am God, and there is no other.”
Isaiah 45,22

GPD 12/24/14

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/23/14

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/`13/14
          On day closer as time marches on. So use this prayer:
“All creation, join in praising God the Father, Spirit, Son,
Ever more your voices raising, to the eternal Three in One.
Come and worship, Come and worship,
Worship Christ the new born King.”
And let the Spirit strengthen your faith in this King Our Savior

GPD 12/23/14

Monday, December 22, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/23/14

          It’s  Christmas coming.

“O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels,
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord  Immanuel” LSB 301,4

          I send this precious thought while awaiting His coming.

GPD 12/23/14

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/18/14

          I believe it was Blaise Pascal who used the term for a “God appointed vacuum in a man that Only God can fill".  And men search frantic ways to fill this place, and only God can do so.  When the Holy Spirit enters, that happens.  That is what the Birth means.  Jesus came, was born, lived, suffered, and died for us, and in Holy Baptism He sends His Holy Spirit to us to fill that vacuum, and makes us righteous.

          The Hymn I send along expresses it so well.
“By Grace I’m saved, grace free and boundless.”

          Think that God has sent His Spirit to fill that “God appointed vacuum”.

GPD 12/18/14

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 12/2/14

          Enter December, the last month in this eventful year.  The Church is now in the Season of Advent, preparing for and looking to celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem.  The end result of that is, of course, our salvation.  One hymn writer expressed it this way:
“My sin, Oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.”

          The State and local land owners so far have replanted some 40,000 acres with native grasses to create a bird friendly habitat.  For when native grasses were removed to plant other grasses more suitable to range for cattle, such plantings did not provide the habitat where the quail and other birds could survive.  State biologist estimate quail population dropped 75% over the last 30 years.

          Texas lawmakers last year earmarked $6 million for restoring prime habitat, expanding research, and educating land owners.

          Jim Willis was a pioneer in the movement.  He removed cattle, used prescribed burns and herbicides, before planting native grasses, sand plum trees, and shrubs. In time quail and some 30 species of grassland birds, as well as rabbits, deer, and ducks returned to the property.  The new prairie also acts as a sponge when it rains and replenishes the aquifers below the surface.

          That is what Advent leads to.  It brings us to the Birth of Jesus Christ, who was born “to save His people from their sin.”  To us who are all born in sin, it is the message that tells us “Behold, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world."

          Let the birth bring you rejoicing anew in this year of your life.

GPD 12/2/14