LUKE SIX – BLESSED WORDS

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READ LUKE SIX
This chapter is filled with so much meat. It begins by discussing the Pharisees insistence on not working on the Sabbath. Such things as eating some gathered corn from the field or healing the sick from their infirmity were considered labor by the elders of the church. Jesus quickly set them straight by stating that He was the Lord of the Sabbath. Those words must’ve stung deeply, as they were seen as a threat to the church itself.

By this time, Jesus had chosen all twelve of His disciples. They indeed were helpful to His ministry, as many of our own church elders can be of help to our officiating pastors. Jesus was a man and because of that He got tired and hungry. He needed time to pray, to rest and take nourishment just like we do. On the other hand, He is also God and could’ve easily provided for those needs, but it wasn’t part of His mission on earth.

We see in this chapter that Jesus prayed a lot. As our example, we can glean much from this. God is available to hear our prayers at a moment’s notice. We don’t always take advantage of that.

Jesus and his band of disciples covered a lot of territory. The crowds were growing. People came to be healed, out of curiosity and because the message was one they had longed to hear.

The Beatitudes are listed in this chapter. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh,” was one of them. These were akin to the proverbs of old, but they carried an entirely new meaning. He said things like, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”  These words were foreign to them, but they certainly held their attention.

Jesus must’ve been an exemplary speaker. His voice would have to carry to great lengths to reach the many in His audience. Imagine the voice of God speaking directly to them and us. He was nothing extraordinary to look at, yet he commanded the crowds. When He told them not to judge others, but to forgive them as we will be forgiven. He told them to be good fruit and to build their lives on the foundation of God. By doing so they would not be shaken.

Jesus was bringing that foundation back to the people. He came to establish His kingdom in our hearts. Let us continually stay rooted in His Word so we continue to flourish and spread the Good News of salvation to all people.

We are definitely living in troubled times.  The church is being attacked on a daily basis.  The devil is using every tool in his toolbox to take advantage of us.  Don’t let Him in.

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BIG GIRLS DO CRY

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The feminist movement did great things for women.  It allowed them to leave the ties of housekeeping behind and venture into a whole new world.  It was a world which challenged their abilities, their brain power, their industriousness, their ingenuity, their organizational skills, their talent and their compassion.

Yes, I said compassion.  Now where in the world does that word fit into the world of commerce?  Up until then, compassion was woven into the fabric of nursing or caring for others.  The corporate world was and still is, filled with money driven men who were trying to change the world.  Not a lot of compassion was necessary  When women became part of that world, things changed a lot.

In the beginning men said women’s place was in the home, raising a family, tending to the chores of the day and caring for her husband.  The game was on.  Women started attending colleges for things other than secretarial or medical skills.  They proved that they could work under pressure and handle the stress of corporate life.  It wasn’t an easy road, because these same women still had the responsibilities of running a home, but they managed to do both.

Today women are deeply imbedded into politics.  They hold positions of power in the medical field, the corporate world, high finance and industry.  They have proven to be equal to men, but still fight the battle of equal pay. I’m sure that day isn’t far off

In the process, families have become accustomed to both parents working.   The material things that were put on the back burner until they could be paid for are now staples in most homes.  The home fires still burn, but most of the management of that place is being carried out by hired workers.

In the meantime, women have become equal with men.  In my opinion, they always were in God’s eyes.  Woman was created to be a partner for man.  I’m sure there are statistics that prove that men are the hunter/gatherers and women, the caregivers, simply because of the way they are made up physically.  Women are sensitive, intuitive and have the ability to listen.  The tenderness of their hearts is something that continues to exist, even though they try to put on an armor of toughness.  Women cry.  Yes, so do men, but women seem to do it more often.

As women take on some of the roles of their counterparts, they’re expected to be tough,  put their emotions aside and act like a man.  However, even in a society that wishes to determine their own gender, men are men and women are women.  The differences were designed to compliment each other.

Women do have a softer side.  Our emotions are often worn on our sleeves.  Our compassion is evident in the way we work with others and live with them and should be considered a medal of honor.  It’s not an attack on your character to say you can cry if you need to.  There will be days when the pressure of work gets in the way of family – when the demands of travel take you from those you love – when the extra hours of work keep you from kissing your children goodnight.  It’s OK to feel bad about those things.

God made tears for a purpose.  They come out when we grieve, when we’re frustrated or angry and even when we’re happy. The silent tears you pour into your pillow each night do not go unnoticed.

There’s someone who understands those feelings.  Jesus wept.  He knows all about sorrow.  He understands our pain.  He is also our comforter.  He hears our prayers and dries our tears, but He allows us to  bring all our burdens to Him, so he can carry them for us.

 

 

 

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WISDOM

” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”  Proverbs 9:10

Dear, Lord,

You know all things.  Nothing is hidden from you. You are the only consistent in our lives.  I pray that you guide our leaders to proceed with dignity and fairness.  Two people have been dragged through the mud and may never recover from what’s happened over the past few weeks.  Please give the men and women in the position of passing judgment, the wisdom to do your will.  Help us all to accept what is happening and what will happen because of these events.  You are also with every one of us. You’ve judged each of us with fairness and abundance of grace, giving us a freedom we don’t deserve.  May your Word be upheld.  May your will be done, in Jesus name.  Amen!

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WUV AND MAWWAGE

It was September 26, 1964. Strange things were happening around our house. My dad had put the newspaper in the refrigerator and thrown his shoes down the clothes chute. Mom was acting like a giddy school girl and my sister was showing new admiration for me – undoubtedly because I would soon be gone and she’d be inheriting my room.

It was the day I married my best friend forever. In these days it’s quite an accomplishment to be married to the same person for so many years, but I guess I always knew that it would be a lifelong commitment. I am thankful that God has always been a part of our lives. He is the cement that glues us together.

Mark 10:8-9 “and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Thank you, Lord for the love of my life. Without him I would be incomplete.

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SUNDROPS

ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

The air is crisp and fresh as leaves turn into a blanket for the ground,

Preparing it for the coming winter blast,

So swiftly they turn from a massive green canopy,

To gold, rust and crimson,

Their end of life is a brilliant display,

One final swan song,

As rain fills the sky and large droplets invade the dark spaces of the earth,

As moistures is sucked into waiting soil and refreshes as it brings life,

As dreams of new growth and bright, colorful flowers, dance in the wind,

As birds search for sustenance with the deepest crevices,

A tiny seed lies waiting,

For just the right moment,

For just the right time,

When sun drops fill the air and give birth to living things,

When sun drops revive, restore and rebuild,

The Son has risen indeed!

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FROM ADAM’S RIB

I love the Bible verses that refer to the creation of the first woman. God put Adam to sleep and removed one of his ribs to shape the woman who would be Adam’s wife and helpmate. She would be equal to her husband, because she was formed from him, yet she would be protected by him, just as his ribs were designed to protect his own heart.

Everything that God created was good. It was configured with perfection and the highest quality. Marriage was part of that creation. God knew that it was necessary for man to have someone to share his life with. Many would beg to differ on that point, but I believe that it is equally important for a woman to share her life with her husband as well.

As I come a day closer to the celebration of 56 years of marriage to the same man, I can attest to the fact that God created my husband and I for each other. He knew precisely what each of us would need to balance out our lives – to provide encouragement and inspiration – to laugh and cry together – to dance together when we no longer can bend our knees.

We laugh together.  We enjoy many of the same activities, but each have our own special things that we take pride in.  We’ve worked together to build a business.  We cried together as it fell apart and we lost everything.  We held each other tightly and comforted each other when we received news of serious health issues.  We stood tall when each of our children was born and brought amazement, concern, love and even disappointment at times.

We are now in the latter years of our life together.  It’s been a lovely ride in spite of the roller coaster effect.  That’s what makes for the excitement of a solid marriage.  That along with having God as the head of our house has been our mainstay.

Marriage isn’t easy and many choose not to do it.  God instituted this sacred estate, not only for procreation of the species, but to share life with another – to rejoice in triumphs and lift each other up in times of grief – to be a helper for the other.  I’m one of the lucky ones to have been blessed with my amazing husband for almost 56 years.

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THE MASK CONTROVERSY

There is massive controversy out there right now regarding the wearing of masks. Soon Halloween will be here and the choices are bound to be unlimited. For me, the wearing of a mask is difficult. I have multiple breathing issues, but I still need to get out and do my grocery shopping once a week. This time has become the one getaway I look forward to.

My husband, on the other hand, is a stickler for following the rules. He is adamant about social distancing and wearing both mask and gloves when necessary. He teaches an online art class and wore a mask because he was being filmed in a small space with the person filming. He has finally decided he needed to remove his face covering so his audience could understand what he was saying.

Yesterday he made a trip to the post office to purchase stamps. There was the usual line of people waiting for their turn. The clerk was having a friendly conversation with a customer, which is an unusual occurrence to begin with. Another person was thumbing through the items for sale. Paul was sandwiched between her and a fellow who was inching up closer and closer and becoming very impatient. Paul noticed that the man was wearing a mask, but it covered nothing but his chin. He asked the man to please move back and observe the social distancing rule. The man became belligerent and started yelling that the whole mandate thing was just a fake.

“Don’t you get it? This whole thing is just a scam. We don’t need to do this anyway,” he said with a few added unnecessary expletives.

He finally moved back, but began to cough from his unmasked face. Such is life at the post office. No wonder so many postal employees go ballistic from time to time. Anyway, Paul got his stamps and a taste of what’s going on in the world of COVID19.

Is it a conspiracy thing? Will it all go away after the upcoming election? Will our kids and grandkids get to finish their senior years of high school and college in the usual way? What is normal anyway? Why is everyone so angry and frustrated? Will we ever get back to what used to be or do we even want to?

Life goes on, whether things change or become intense and difficult to handle. We have no control over the hands of time. Only God monitors our every minute. Life will be crazy from time to time. We will experience difficulties and anxiety, but knowing that He is in charge should give us the confidence we need to persevere.

“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:5-7

WEAR YOUR MASK, FOLLOW THE RULES, STAY CALM AND CARRY A SIX FOOT STICK.

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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CALM DOWN!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but when someone tells me to calm town, that’s like an invitation to pick a fight. It seems that the current climate in our country is being determined by a minute virus and a rabid political scene. Add to that all the anger, impatience, lack of patriotism, lack of trust, violence and hate that looms in our cities as well as our rural areas. Everyone is pretty much on edge these days.

I made my way through the local Wal Mart yesterday and noticed that the floor signs indicating how far we should stand apart along with the arrows pointing to the way we should travel through the aisles were missing. People were wearing masks and seemed to be spaced apart at the right distance without having to be reminded by the signs. Is this another indication of how conditioned we become in just a few months? Not only that, but most people I came into contact with yesterday were grumpy and anxious.

We’re told on one hand to wear masks and socially distance, but college campuses are filled with unmasked students who are bunched up in close groups. Social events continue with apparently no concern for being exposed to this deadly disease. Many of these kids are putting themselves at risk along with those they come in contact with, but is that just something we’ve been led to believe?

In fact, our ability to reason has been dispelled by fear. Those of us in our vulnerable years don’t want to venture to a clinic filled with sick people. We’re cautious about wearing a mask, but we do so, because we feel we’re not only helping ourselves, but others, even when we can’t breathe. We’ve also learned to place our trust in God which seems to be a cop out by most of society today.

We’ve been conditioned for a long, long time to trust our elected officials, our teachers, our parents, those in authority and the news media. We’ve chosen the path of least resistance, because it creates less tension and doesn’t make us accountable.

Through the latest reports from the CDC we get mixed messages. No one seems to know the best way to deal with this disease. We take chances so we can be with our friends and do the things we did before. We’re tired of the rhetoric, the lies, the unknown, the waiting.

Still, even in the midst of all the chaos that fills the air these days, we have words to fill us with confidence in God’s Holy Word, the Bible.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ISAIAH 40:31

In other words, CALM DOWN!

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YOU’VE BEEN MARRIED HOW LONG?

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There are many books on the subject of the secret to a long and happy marriage.  Most people don’t enter this contract unless they expect it to last for a long time – even until death.

When you find the one you want to spend the rest of our life with, your goals no longer are yours alone – they belong to both of you.  When you promise to share your life, you are giving permission to another person to know your innermost thoughts – to see you at your best along with the not so good times.  You are allowing yourself to be joined mysteriously with another human being so that you can become of one mind.  You become united as one person.  Wow, that’s awesome, isn’t it?

What does it take to make a marriage last for so many years?  People have various opinions on this, but I think the secret to anything worthwhile is to be dedicated to it – just as we commit to our Lord and Savior when we become His children.

Marriage isn’t going to be perfect all the time.  There will be days when you wondered why you ever chose to do it, but isn’t it worth it to have someone with you when you’re afraid, hurting or confused – to have someone to share your successes along with your failures – to encourage you when you think you can’t go on?

Once you are joined together, you have to plan on a life-long commitment.  It’s a partnership, but there is only one Chairman of the Board and it’s neither one of you.  Success comes by putting God at the head of your union.

Lord,  I cannot thank you enough for giving me a Christian husband.  His strong faith has helped mine to grow.  His love for You has been a perfect example for our children and for me.  Through him, you have blessed my walk.  I praise you for the blessing of a strong marriage.  Amen!

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A CHILD OF THE NIGHT

I know it’s a little early for Halloween, but Autumn often stirs the imagination and our neighbor, the night person, has done it again. A while back, you may remember, my husband called me to look out the window at the neighbor who was mowing his lawn in the dark. My faulty hearing led me to believe that the poor guy was glowing in the dark instead. We had a few laughs over that one. You have to laugh at your disabilities or you will slowly go insane.

What began as a joke has become a mainstay for us. This neighbor lives alone. He’s a bachelor, probably in his thirties. He’s a sweet young man, but we rarely see him during the day. He has kept nighttime hours with his job as a limo driver. The virus has shut down his employment, but he seems to be used to being a child of the night. Often I will notice his house completely lit up at 2 or 3 AM.

He still tends to his lawn in the evening hours. I’m not quite sure how he sees what he’s doing. Maybe it’s the fact that he glows in the dark and has no problem finding his target. Maybe he’s just shy and doesn’t want to run into anyone and have to engage in conversation. My husband has been known to monopolize a conversation and hold his listeners captive with his entertaining stories, but he rarely tells them in the dark, unless he’s seated around a campfire.

Maybe we should just accept the fact that he likes to do his work at night and mind our own business. However those windows have led to a great deal of speculation as to the goings on in our relatively quiet neighborhood. Oh, the joys of growing old and getting sick of modern day television fare.

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TEN SECRETS TO A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE

I am not a marriage expert, nor could I possibly have all the secrets to a happy marriage, but there is a wonderful book which carries some extremely good advice on how to live together as husband and wife and how to have your life together blessed in countless ways.  The book is God’s own words to us, which He breathed into the pens of men many years ago.  The Bible, though ancient in its conception, is still pertinent today in all areas of our lives.

Here are ten references to specific elements of a great marriage:

  • 1 John 4:7 Refers to placing God at the head of your house.  Having Him as your chief advisor makes some of the tough decisions easier and He also promises to bless those who trust in Him.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:11 & Genesis 2:24 talks about a total commitment to each other – becoming one flesh.  This is difficult to understand in a time when we  are taught to live our own lives and do our own thing.
  • Hebrews 13:4 proclaims that we should trust one another.  Any great relationship has to be built on trust or the foundation will not stand up under the storms of life.
  • Ephesians 5:25- We should love each other as we love ourselves.  Isn’t it true that we often put ourselves first.  When you marry, you have another part to honor – Your better half.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:14 Tells us to be joined in faith.  When you have a common faith you can move mountains with God’s help.
  • Ezekiel 3:14-21 reminds us to honor the vows we said before God – to love, honor and obey until death.  This is one contract that should never be entered into lightly.
  • Hebrews 13:1-25 is a great section on being encouragers of one another.
  • Psalm 85:10 tells us to be hold tightly to our love for each other.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 refers to being respectful of one another.
  • John 15:13 talks about the greatest love of all being the willingness to give your life for another.  John 3:16 tells us God’s perfect love for us.

God wants us to be happy in all areas of life.  When He created man, He saw the need for Adam to have a companion – a helper; so He created woman.  He blessed that partnership and continues to lavish us with His love when we remember Him first in our marriages.  Thank you, dear Lord, for blessing mine.

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HE LIVED FOR ME

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

His hands are open to the world. He reaches out to heal.
He touches and His will is done. He knows just how we feel.
He took on human flesh to be the perfect sacrifice –
The pure and spotless Lamb of God would pay the needed price.
We walk with Him in confidence. We know He’s always there
To wipe away our sadness and tend to every care.
So reach out to the Savior, the sinless. Son of God.
Prepare your hearts to meet Him as on this earth we trod.
And when our final hour has come and new life takes its place,
We know He’ll be there waiting to meet us face to face.

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GROWING OLD TOGETHER

During that first year of marriage, there will be so many things to discover about your spouse, even if you’ve known each other for most of your 22 years. You find out it isn’t all about you anymore. I knew before marrying my husband that he loves hunting. I got accustomed to seeing dead birds in the refrigerator with rigor mortis already setting in. He had to tolerate going to bed with a woman with rollers in her hair and sweat socks on her feet. Gone were the days of trying to impress. Now it was a matter of putting up with each other’s reality.

Each of those tiny adjustments were just the beginning of a lifetime filled with them. Compromise is right up there with laughter in importance. You must put aside your own personal needs and take on an attitude of selflessness, but still maintain the same personality that drew you together in the first place. Not always an easy task.

We can never fully mirror the love that Jesus has for us, but we can use His servant attitude as an example. When you’re fully devoted to the one you love, you put them first. The second year is a little better, but by the third you’re introduced to a whole new element – another life which God is knitting together within you. You share crackers in bed first thing in the morning. You compare waist sizes. You cry at the silliest things, while he tolerates your mood swings.

As years pass, you become more and more of one mind, despite some disagreements, but every step brings you closer together and closer to your Creator.

By the time you’ve shared a lifetime together – created a family – built a business – watch it fall and try again – put your faith in the God of heaven and earth – you finally realize you are no longer two individuals, but one connected by that same God.

Anyone that enters marriage without placing the other person before themselves, will probably not be successful. If that same couple chooses to marry anyway and forgets to include the tie that binds – God – there is a lot of pain that will go along with it.
Every marriage will encounter difficulties, pain and tests which can either strengthen your life together or cause it to fail. The point is that there is work involved in the process. Don’t expect any less. Anything worthwhile is worth working hard to preserve.

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EVERY DAY IS A NEW ADVENTURE

This week I’ll be turning my attention to marriage. 56 years ago this coming Saturday, Paul & I will celebrating 56 years of wedded bliss. Well maybe all 56 of those years weren’t like the stuff of which Hallmark movies are made. Maybe the ideal ivory towered fairy tale is just a wish for a perfect marriage. In actuality, marriage consists of more ups and downs than a roller coaster. Many times the downs outweigh the ups, but the ride is always exciting.

We often go into a marriage with no real preparation for what the future will hold. We aren’t told that there will be mistakes, misunderstandings, mishaps, misinterpretations and miscalculations. We believe that joining two lives in marriage might become a bondage of sorts, thinking only of the negative side of that word. We fail to realize that when we make a life commitment to someone other than ourselves, we’re letting go and making sacrifices, but the result is a freedom you can never achieve alone.

Marriage may be conceived as the perfect ending of the love story. The fairy tale happily ever after comes to mind. No one tells you that you will be sharing your life with a stranger. Little things like how they put toothpaste on their toothbrush – leaving the toilet seat up -habits you didn’t know about before you made that promise to love, honor and serve. Than there are the bigger things – the loss of a lifetime of work, the illnesses that plague us, financial worries, unfaithfulness, keeping secrets – all which lead to further difficulties.

56 years ago people didn’t wait forever to get married. They often did it with little planning. Some went to extremes and had huge, expensive events, while others chose to elope and save the money. In that time, the vows taken at the altar meant something. The joining of a man and woman was one of the first gifts God gave to mankind. It’s considered one of the most important sacraments within the church – a thing of mysterious and sacred significance; a religious symbol.

When we give ourselves in marriage, we aren’t losing, but gaining something in return. We become one body – even though we still have our own opinions, hopes and dreams. We shouldn’t consider this institution as a ball and chain, but a freedom to be part of a joint venture – an adventure, filled with highs and lows, but always abounding in love.

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JUST THE TWO OF US

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

Two lives mingle into one,

Of one mind,

One spirit,

One body,

Tempted at times by distractions,

Yet always returning to each other,

God watches over these creatures,

As He sustains them in marriage,

Never leaving,

Always faithful,

Watching and protecting,

Cuddling them in His arms,

Lifting them when they fall,

Teaching them to depend on Him,

And each other,

Breaking them,

Through all kinds of peril,

Building them,

Through disappointment,

Through misunderstandings,

And always returning to Him,

For guidance.

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CLOSE YOUR EYES SO YOU CAN SEE

Have you ever experienced total darkness?  It gives you a feeling of helplessness – knowledge of what it’s like to be blind and relying on others completely. .

When I was teaching drama, we’d often take a “blind walk” through the building and outside.  The kids would close their eyes tightly, but some couldn’t resist peeking.  They felt so much more secure when they could see what was going on.  The point of the exercise is to get individuals to use their other senses when one isn’t available to them.  By touching, smelling, listening and even taste testing something we can envision  the things around us..

As we walked from building to outdoors, they would touch the cement sidewalk, the bricked path, through fragrant gardens, listening to the sounds of the space.  When we rely on our sight alone, it’s difficult to act in faith.  Were always looking for answers – ones that suit our needs.  Maybe faith should be considered one of our senses.  We need it to believe that which is unseen and often unknown.

Were we walking in faith or by sight?

Walking by faith is another gift from God through the Holy Spirit, who first entered us through the act of baptism.  Faith is a belief in something you can’t see, hear, feel, taste or smell.  So in effect everything about our salvation is a reflection of God working in and through us.  Even though we can’t physically see Him, by faith we know He exists and is walking beside us through our journey.

Faith, like trust, is a word which describes complete reliance on someone or something to get us through the turmoil of this world and set us down in heaven some day.  Take a blind walk, or simply close your eyes and use your other senses to determine where you are.  Through faith, we have the confidence that we are never alone – even when we feel like our world is closing in on us.

God opens our eyes when we dig deeply into His Word.  He strengthens us through His Holy Spirit, who inspired the words within that Bible. He is a loving Father who wants all His children to enjoy paradise.  Through the only Son of God, Jesus, we have been made holy in God’s sight.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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JESUS WALKS WITH ME

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

You never cease to hold me safely in Your hand,

When everything my body does so blatantly demand,

You guide my steps, You hold me tight,

You strengthen me with all your might,

You lift me from the deep, dark pit of ever sinking sand.

I realize I’m just one speck upon this ground,

There are so many other folks around,

But still You find the time for me,

You gave your life to set my spirit free,

Your mercy lives, new life will now abound,

Through trials dark and fretful You do lead,

You purposely provide my every need,

You walk beside me when I need your hand,

You carry when I can no longer stand,

Your blood was shed so I don’t have to bleed.

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IT’S TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY

Shiver me timbers and blow the man down. It’s “Talk Like a Pirate Day.” I happen to love this particular day of the year. I’ve played the part of a lady pirate many a time, while the winds be tossing me ship about and the waves swabbing the deck so I don’t have to.

Of all the scurvy dogs out there, my favorite character was Polly the Pirate in a play called “The Treasure Quest.” Our ship ran aground and we landed on a deserted island. I was the ship’s cook and had to resort to cooking the cap’n’s parrot for dinner. We found a treasure map hidden in a coconut – the lines were in the coconut. Actually they were in there so I could remember them.

‘Twas a fine play, it was. I blackened me teeth so it looked like I had none. Today I could play the part by simply removing them. Jack Sparrow, eat yer heart out. Polly the pirate is ready to take ye on. Be prepared to walk the plank and be fed to the sharks. Polly’s cooking tonight.

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SYMBOLS

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

America lays below in rubble and destruction from looters and violent protesters

The torrid, sulphuric air rises and infiltrates the atmosphere,

Seas churn and waters rise as winds spin the remnants of what once was,

A silent enemy continues to rage across the great expanse,

Taking lives.

Instilling fear,

Causing us to retreat,

To hide,

To lose hope,

Yet, even in the chaos, in the mass hysteria, in the mob mentality,

There remains hope,

Where love exists,

The power of God is evident,

Hope returns,

Faith revives,

Love wins.

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WHAT PRICE FOR ART?

My husband spent the majority of his career in the advertising business, but in order to prepare for that he had to take many art history classes along with his regular studies. When he turned 50, the tables turned on advertising and he had to reimagine himself. The loss of his business led him into fine art and he’s been doing that ever since.

It’s hard to put a price tag on art. When you consider all the years of study, work and experience one must first go through to become an artist, the pay should be comparable to that of a brain surgeon, but today art isn’t valued in the same way. Today you can buy a copy of anyone’s art for a fraction of its worth. Computer imaging and Photo Shop have given way to a whole new set of rules.

I was reminded of that last night as I watched the movie, “The Train,” with Burt Lancaster. The fact that we now have a better internet service has allowed for the viewing of some of the old movies. This one was similar to a movie we had seen in the theatre a few years back – “The Monuments Men,” with George Clooney. Both of these films focused on the art which was stolen by the Germans during WWII – masterpieces by well known artists.

Both flicks made one think about the cost of what these men were fighting for. In “The Train,” it took Burt Lancaster a while to realize the importance of this mission. In the end, he could see the need to preserve these treasures for humanity and the future of the world, but the cost was too great in his opinion. Things should never trump human life. The men in “Monuments Men,” were following orders and lives were spent in the eventual retrieval of those important pieces of art. The works would not have survived had they not succeeded in their efforts – but again, lives were of less value than things of this world.

Would we better off if lives had not been taken in preserving art at all costs? Does it matter that we now can view these original pieces of art and appreciate the time put into them? Do we treasure the spoils of war more than the lives it took to defend them?

As the wife of an artist, I know the time that goes into creating art. It’s a daily struggle. Even when the body is breaking down, there’s a passion in this medium that drives the artist. As a writer and performer I can understand that, because I still feel the need to contribute through my art form.

The truth, however, is that what we do here on this planet has no real relevance. When we die, those things will not go with us. They will not be necessary for what happens beyond the grave. They will be part of what we leave behind. Our worldly treasure cannot buy our salvation or eternal life. The perfect life of Jesus, His death and resurrection is the masterpiece that God created to bring that about. He alone is the only fortune worth preserving. It is our greatest heritage.

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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WHAT WAS I LOOKING FOR?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to put on a pair of shoes like this? Especially when you get to be my age. In a couple years I’ll be 80. I never thought I’d make it this long, but here I am. Where am I again?

Well actually, I’ve not completely lost my memory, but each day it seems to get a little more worn out – like every other part of my anatomy. Somehow there is no amount of collagen that will cut through the cellulite. Those dimples are now a permanent part of your hips, thighs and other more conspicuous places.

Retinol, Botox, injections, plastic surgery and body contouring are all options available to anyone who has thousands of dollars to spend on their appearance, but when you’re almost eighty, there doesn’t seem much point in making such an investment when you know you aren’t long for this world.

Americans are consumed with how they look. Those who think they are making a statement with their hair color, body piercings and tattoos are simply following the crowd and eliminating their uniqueness. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all just enjoyed what God has endowed us with?

Memory is important to me for a number of reasons. If you’ve ever read the Sparks book, “The Notebook,” you will understand one of them. I am a writer. It behooves me as such to keep a record of things like the heroine in that story. Her husband read her journal to her, in order to stir her dying memory. It was a real tear jerker and also thought provoking. Since reading the book and seeing the movie, I find it imperative to write things down.

I also am a performer at times. I do less of it lately, but I find it keeps my memory sharper. When you have to memorize lines, blocking, interaction, responses, etc. you rely totally on your brain power to get you through the process.

My mother and both of my grandmothers lived to their 80s and 90s and were sharp as tacks in spite of numerous physical ailments. I pray that I will retain my sanity as well as my memory through the coming years.

Getting old doesn’t have to mean giving up. I refuse to do so. As time wears on me physically and I find it harder each day to do the things I did only a day before, I will continue to trust that God has a plan for every moment of my life. When we think that way, we’re allowing Him to do the good work in us that is totally for our benefit.

Dear Lord, Thank you for all your blessings. Even when the world around us is closing in on us and it seems that things are upside down, I know that only you can bring order from the confusion. Help us to turn to you, to depend and rely on you, to carry out your plan for us. In Jesus name, Amen!

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