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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INTO EACH LIFE SOME RAIN WILL FALL

The sound of gently falling rain upon a tin roof can be irritating or restful depending on your state of mind.  A drenching upon the dry soil can be a welcome relief or it can flood things freshly planted and carry them away.  When we cry, our hearts are usually heavy because of sadness or loss, but there are also tears of joy which come when something miraculous happens or your heart is so full it can no longer hold the joy inside.

I sometimes wonder if rain falls as a result of God’s sadness over the world.  He certainly has reason to cry.  Our world is full of hatred, anger, fear, self-absorption and desperation.  We can’t escape the evil which is allowed to permeate the heart of man. God is God. Does He experience the same pain we do? As a child I was told that rain was evidence of God’s tears. He created every part of humanity including tear ducts to wash away the impurities of life. Jesus is God and He wept on more than one occasion.

When we hurt – when our bodies are filled with pain – when our emotions overtake us – when the world seems to be out of control – we cry.  We sometimes can’t control those tears and they become so much a part of us that we become depressed or emotionally broken.  God is all powerful, all knowing and always present in our lives and that should fill our hearts with hope, but sometimes the tears can’t be held back no matter how hard we try. It is then that we pray.

Lord, you know all about pain and suffering.  You watched as your only Son was subjected to ridicule, slander and physical abuse.  You saw Him placed in a tomb with the weight of our sin on His back.  Your tears must’ve been uncontrollable.  Yet on the third day you brought Him back to life.  He walked the earth again, preparing His disciples for the work ahead and then ascended into heaven 40 days later.  We have your promise that He will come again on the last day and take away all our tears.  Thank you for your love, for your patience and your tears.  Amen!

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CHASING THE WIND?

Do you feel like it’s Groundhog Day, every day? Are you going through the motions of living, without really living? I am stuck at the moment. Life does get in the way of our living from time to time. How do you cope when that happens?

King Solomon was a man of great wisdom. He had wealth beyond measure.  He could partake in anything that would give him enjoyment.  He had servants caring for him, more wives than he could count and a nation who looked up to and honored him.  He had access to everything in life and yet during his final days he said it was all meaningless.

There are days when I feel like all I’m doing is chasing the wind. I wake up, go through the same rituals and habits. I try to look for the good in my life and it’s all around me, yet there are times when it gets cloudy and there seems to be no answers to current problems. I find myself wallowing in the rut of sameness, but when something happens to shake me up – I’m not always prepared for it. I get frustrated. I worry. I fret. I cry myself to sleep at times. I often don’t know what to do.

Solomon said that there was nothing new under the sun.  Times change, but people have been struggling with the same issues since man fell into sin.  If our focus is only on this temporary span we call life, there really is no purpose.  What then is the part of life that gives it meaning?

There may be nothing new under heaven but imagine what’s in store for us when we get there.  God has promised us a place of complete peace – a place where there will be no sadness, no tears – an eternity of joy.  There may be nothing new under the sun, but all things are new under the Son. When we realize that God never changes, even though our circumstances are in a constant state of flux, He is the only One to turn to. He may not give you an answer right away, but you can bet that when He does answer it will be for the best result.

Lord, I ask that you become the center of my life.  You give me a reason to get up every day.  You motivate me in all my comings and goings.  You lift and encourage me.  You strengthen my soul with your Holy Spirit, and I am washed clean of all my sins through your Son, Jesus. Stay with me as I draw nearer to you. Amen!

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AGING WITH GRACE

As we grow older, we’ve developed so many layers that our skin naturally becomes thick and hardened.  Each day we encounter something that causes us to falter, to waiver, to hurt and to give up.  We build a shield of protection around ourselves to fight off the enemies of this world. By the time we’ve reached our senior years, we’re perceived as cranky, hard-lined, unbending and just plain negative.  Older folks often think they’ve earned the right to be this way.  Have we?

When things aren’t going as we planned, our natural inclination is to blame someone else – even God.  Why doesn’t He answer my prayers?  Isn’t He listening?  Why is He putting me through this?  God doesn’t want us to become grumpy old men and women, but He does create bumps and even major roadblocks in our lives to draw us closer to Him.  As we get older we should see that even more clearly.  Why do we naturally turn the tables and put the blame on Him instead of understanding that He has this?  He’s running the show.  He’s the director of the universe.

Instead of passing the buck and blaming God, we should be thanking Him for every difficulty we face.  Each minor hiccup along the way prepares us for the next one.  Each bump in the road will help us realize how God works for our good.  Each major life event will lead to another and finally have refined us for our place in heaven.  God is constantly re-working us.  Not because He didn’t do it right in the first place, but because He knows what our true potential is.

So, even though we build up a steel suit of armor and more layers than an onion, our hearts should remain focused on our Savior.  Think of what He endured for us.

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NATIONAL LAZY DAY

I don’t know – maybe it has something to do with the dog days of summer. Maybe it’s a reminder to slow down and enjoy the moment. It might even be a day dedicated to simply doing nothing and being accountable to no one. Whatever the case, I love this national holiday and I think I’m going to enjoy celebrating it.

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WHY PRAY?

I’ve never had too much of a problem writing down my thoughts. I guess this is the way I can express myself without actually speaking the words. As I grow older, the words I speak get garbled or I use the wrong ones. There are times when I can’t find the words – when my mind just won’t wrap around the thoughts intelligently or in a logical way. The same is true in my prayer life. There are times when the words pour out of me and other times when I just don’t know what to pray for anymore.

At those times I feel like I need someone to help me find the right words. God’s Word tells us, that even on those occasions He provides an intercessor for us. My words have meaning through the Holy Spirit because He knows my thoughts and my heart. God knows me inside and out. He certainly doesn’t need my prayers, but by praying, we have a way to communicate with Him. He loves it when we do that, because He is always willing to listen. He is our greatest friend in so many respects, but prayer allows us to praise and honor Him along with asking Him for help when we need it. Even when we can’t come up with the right words, He knows our hearts and minds better than we do.

Isn’t it great how God provides for every aspect of our lives – even the words we send to Him? Our God is an awesome God!

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AGING WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR

As you know, I turned eighty a couple months ago. I really feel this is a great accomplishment for me, but my genetic background shows that my DNA contains genes which qualify me to be a long liver. I’m not talking about the organ here, but most of the women in my history lived well into their 80s. I’ve even outlived a few of them, even though most of those early family members were pioneers who had to make fires out of animal dung. That alone would’ve \put me away a long time ago. We women of the 21st century have so many advantages compared to our ancestors. We live in a world that requires little physical labor – we’re pampered in many ways – our homes are often self-maintainable -we have jobs that bring in mucho bucks – we can go into politics – we can do just about anything a man can do, but I personally don’t care about that. The problems arise when we retire.

The world tells us these will be the best years of our lives. They fail to mention that you’ll be spending many hours at the doctor’s office or trying to move from place to place without the help of a cane or walker. By the time we retire, we are so tired, we’ve kind of lost our way. Aging is a state of mind. I believe that there is a reason for those of us who live as long as we do. Maybe it’s so we can be there for our spouse. It might be so that our children can see what they have to look forward to. The primary reason, I think, is so that we can grow in wisdom and share that with someone else before the mess things up by themselves.

I have chosen to live the rest of my days, doing something I love. I don’t want to get too attached, however, because it might just end in a flash. I’m sure many folks wonder why an old woman like me is still acting on stage. They might think it’s an ego trip for me. Maybe it is, but my philosophy is this – God gave me this life for a reason. If I can make someone happy through what I do, maybe that’s what I should do. In the process, I am making my own life a lot more enjoyable. Aging requires a great sense of humor. If you don’t continue to laugh at your failings or give in to feeling useless, you will never experience the joy of old age. Yes, there is joy in getting older. We have so much to share with the rest of the world. If only they would listen to us.

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WHERE DOES THE ROAD LEAD?

ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER

Our walk each day is often filled with tangles, twists and turns,

We try to forge a clearer path, for safety our heart yearns,

Each fork can lead you to success, each branch can hide the way,

You struggle with the smallest things, you’re not sure what to say,

The road holds many stumbling blocks, you fall and then you rise,

The darkness of a late-night walk, can muddle up your eyes,

If you don’t follow all the signs, you may stray off the way,

You need someone to walk with you and hear the words you say,

It all becomes much clearer when we trust in the true God,

He shows the way and leads us home, wherever we may trod,

He lifts us when our legs grow tired, He calms our every fear,

He carries us when we can’t walk, He wipes away each tear,

The darkness may surround your steps, but He is always there,

To shed His light upon your way, to take away each care,

Put your faith in God, the Father, He’ll never let you down,

His Holy Spirit comforts you, His Son gives you a crown,

Eternity will be your prize, when this life is long gone,

Just trust in His sustaining love from dusk until the dawn.

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DREAMY VILLAGE

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

No this isn’t the mystical little town of Brigadoon, the magical town filled with legend, love, tragedy and beautiful music. It.might be though.  This is a town just north of the great cities of St. Paul & Minneapolis, but it is reminiscent of a quaint village from many centuries ago. The fact that I love this piece of art, the musical “Brigadoon,” and the artist who painted this beauty inspired the words.

Where do you find contentment when all around seems lost,

In city streets so dimly lit, at an expensive cost,

In valleys green where water pours through rivers pure and clean,

In rivers deep, that wind and creep and keep the valley green,

In the darkness of the soul within, is that where you find peace,

In a sanctuary built of stone, where your problems you release,

Do you see it in the people that you greet most every day,

Is it in the quiet laughter of a child alone at play,

Is it in the calm serenity of music, art or dance,

Or does it come from looking at your love’s sweet, smiling glance,

Don’t search in darkest corners, you’ll never find it there,

The light that shines from heaven, will take away your care.

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DIRTY WINDOWS

We have some major construction going on just a short distance from our home. A major highway, which is within earshot of our backyard is being remade to accommodate for the increase in traffic. The construction is on its second year and will undoubtedly not be completed until 2023. In the meantime, I have a really good excuse for not washing my windows. It would be a futile task, you see, because each day a new film of dirt covers them. When I look out those layers of dirt each day, I feel guilty for ignoring the task. Sunshine is trying to streak through those dirt-filled panes, yet all I can do is wait for the reconstruction to end.

When I think about the windows, I can’t help but relate to my sinful soul and how God envisioned it before I came to believe in the work His spirit continues to do within me. The outside is still under construction. There is still the dirt of guilt and original sin. There is nothing I can do until the reconstruction is complete. Maybe that’s why I’m still alive. I know that God has already washed the windows of my soul. He sent His only Son to take on the task. Jesus carried the dirt to the cross where He suffered and died to redeem me. I believe He proved that His work was accomplished when He rose to life again. I know that if I come to Him daily and ask for forgiveness, it’s like being washed clean again and again.

The windows on our house will remain clouded. The sun will occasionally sneak through. I will still be able to enjoy the critters as they romp in the yard, but each day the view becomes a little less clear. Each day brings more accumulation of residue and darkness. The world grows dirtier and obsessed with evil and filth. Even though the devil seems to be winning, I am confident that my sins have already been washed away.

Now I need someone to wash my windows!

 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7 ESV

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LIFE BEGINS

Two join together as one and allow God to do His handiwork. Carefully He knits each cell together Into intricate patterns. He places vital organs into protected areas which otherwise might be vulnerable. He slowly determines the exact number of red and white blood cells to create a perfect balance.

He constructs the brain – one of the most complex means for learning – the original computer – storing information, calculating solutions, creating, imagining. It is the part of a human life which can determine the difference between a genius or an average Joe. It is also the mega center for everything that happens within the rest of the body. It is capable of warning us of impending danger

God threads veins and arteries throughout this new life to carry the necessary blood and oxygen to each of the vital organs. He patiently watches over this new creature as it grows in the protective membrane within its mother. Within this place tiny digits form into fingers and toes. Soft fuzz grows on little heads. Bones grow stronger. Eyelashes and brows are brushed onto the delicate face. Nourishment for this sweet child is carried to him in just the right amount to satisfy hunger. Elements of both parents are integrated into the masterpiece through the genetic design of God.

At just the right moment, this infant finds its way out of its protected environment into the waiting arms of his mother. There are those who cry out to protect the whales – save the planet – go green, but think nothing about taking the life of an unborn child

Life is precious. Especially human life. It is God’s creation.

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HEAT WAVE

When temperatures hit the 90s and the dew point is over sixty, we Minnesotans have a remedy for that. The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes beckons to those in search of refreshment from the summer sun and the disgusting sweat it causes. You have your choice of swimming holes here. Some choose to go to the cabin and spend the summer with the flies and mosquitos, while others choose a backyard pool and the luxury of air-conditioning. Stepping on pebbles and hot sand can be magic to some, while a sun umbrella, sunscreen and a mint julep appeal to others. Whatever your choice, you have a lot of options in my state.

For me, the city girl, I prefer staying at home in a nicely air-conditioned house. With allergies and asthma, it makes more sense for me to do this, but my husband was born to be at the lake. Maybe it’s because he spent much of his youth at his grandparents’ summer home. He developed a beautiful tan and muscles as he crewed on sail boats of the wealthy neighbors. He loved tooling around in his little fishing boat with a motor and enjoyed all the water sports available to him. The adventurer in him surfaced at an early age. I, on the other hand, disliked the idea of jumping in a lake or river filled with fish and other assorted creatures. I preferred the local swimming pool, but rarely went in the water, because I felt like a blimp in a swimsuit.

Years have passed since our early youth, but we seem to have gotten used to some of our old habits. I’m still pretty much a homebody and Paul would prefer to be outside in a natural setting. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. I simply can’t breathe when I’m in it. So, we make compromises. After almost 58 years of marriage, you learn to do that. When the air is fresh, and the temp is below 80, I agree to partake of the natural beauty. When the temp goes above that, I stay inside, while he warms up outside. Part of compromise is deciding what works for all involved parties.


As this is the height of our summer season, I will probably spend most of the month indoors or inside of an air-conditioned car. Paul will most likely be outside enjoying the sound of birds chirping or jackhammers pounding, while I sip my mint julep. I can still enjoy the wildlife by looking out the window. Our neighborhood is full of it. So go jump in the lake – or NOT,,

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PENQUINS TAKE FLIGHT

CAST Of “BEAUTY & THE BEAST” – PERFORMED BY THE PENGUINS OF NORTHERN STARZ PERFORMING ARTS CENTER THIS PAST WEEKEND

Paul and I had the privilege of attending this wonderful show yesterday with our son, daughter & family. We have been limited in our venturing out this year, so it was an extra special treat. Our granddaughter has served as a mentor in this program since it began five years ago. This is a nationwide program, but the only one in Minnesota at this time. It is designed to give children with special needs an opportunity to spread their wings and fly. The Penguin Project is designed to teach these special kids that they are capable of more than they think they can do. They can fly, unlike real penguins, when given the opportunity to do so. Each child is assigned a mentor to work with during the rehearsal process and they work hand in hand to accomplish that flight. Soar the do, as they reach for the stars and heights, they never dreamed possible.

The tale as old as time – a story of love, compassion, looking beyond the outer shell and into the heart was amazing. I can’t think of another word to describe it, because it truly was. Kids who might never have had a chance to experience an on-stage performance, were delightful to watch in costumes that matched all the splendor of the lighting and scenery. Dedicated staff continue to believe in this project and will for many years to come. Tears welled in my eyes as my heart overflowed with emotional response. Each of the mentors appeared onstage with their penguin. Most of them hid behind them or appeared to be part of the scenery, because they were simply there to assist if necessary. The relationships that develop from this program are awesome too. Friendships that will last forever. I am proud to say that being involved in the Penguin Project has stirred my granddaughter’s desire to go into special education.

I am so proud of this little theatre. It’s kind of like the mouse that roared. It is a non-profit organization. In its short existence, it has become a wonderful source for all ages (even old ones like me) to enjoy theatre, perform, volunteer, build community, learn, teach and be a part of the performing arts. We all need to spread our wings at some point in this lifetime. Thank you, Northern Starz Center for Performing Arts for making it possible for so many.

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
Leonardo da Vinci

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SUNFLOWER FIELDS FOREVER

ART & INSPIRATION FROM KATHY BOECHER

The sunflower seeds have blossomed and the fields of yellow and brown, fill the land with glory and majesty for all who come to enjoy their beauty. Last year, Paul and his outdoor painting club ventured out to one of the very popular sunflower fields in our area. The locations have been the perfect place for artists, photographers and those who love seeing the massive array of color. For a graduation, engagement, family or special photo op, you can’t beat these sites.

When I think of sunflowers, I can’t help recalling all the paintings Vincent Van Gogh created of these showy flowers. He once said:

“What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.”

― Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent was a troubled soul. He seemed to be at his best when he was out in a field somewhere, painting real life scenes and expanses of brilliant color. He drank too much. He cared little about his physical appearance. He often spent hours upon hours painting without taking sustenance. He was prone to depression and was admitted to an asylum which brought him a certain amount of peace. Even in the hellish recesses of his heart, there dwelt an artist of great merit. If only he would’ve experienced the success during his lifetime.

We all have God given abilities – talents and blessings freely created within us. Sometimes we have to look deeply inside to realize what we’re capable of. In the process of searching, we might be surprised at what we discover.

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FINDING PEACE

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER ©

When life engulfs you with anger and rage – when you struggle with fear and temptation,

Turn your mind to the glory of God’s written page – He will heal you and give you salvation.

Though your days seem relentless, your nights never end – your hope is in Jesus, your brother and friend.

He’ll give you His peace with a love overflowing – your burdens He’ll carry for you,

A peace that’s eternal, no tears, no regrets – He’s paid the full debt that was due.

So look heavenward, leave the world far behind, and focus on Jesus the King,

His arms are wide open – He hears every prayer – and surely His peace He will bring.

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POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE?

There are days, when we really have to look hard for things that make us feel good about ourselves, our lives, our futures or our past.  Those are the hardest days to get through, because we often find ourselves dwelling on the negative.  Add to that all the surrounding adverse news, political rhetoric and aches and pains of aging and you have a formula for total depression.  Who wants to live like that?  Wallowing in self-pity and hopelessness certainly isn’t my idea of a good time.

We have a natural tendency to accentuate the negative rather than doing the opposite. Something suspicious shows up on an MRI and we assume we have cancer, before it’s even diagnosed. We plant the seeds of that notion in our brains and there is no room for positive thinking. A loved one has an illness that seems to never find a solution. How do you remain positive in those situations? A mass shooting occurs, and we immediately blame the weapon rather than the perpetrator. Or children die and we wonder where God is. The economy has taken a dive and all your investments are taking a hit. Why is this happening? We blame God. We blame others. We blame things. How can we remain positive during times like this?

There will be struggles every day, but there will also be little glimmers of hope. Take those moments and dwell on them rather than looking at the yuck. Eventually they will outshine our negative thinking. God has a plan for every life He’s placed on this planet. He is consistently in control. Our troubles are nothing to Him. He can slay any of the dragons that tempt us or depress us. He has already conquered the devil, who is now serving an eternal sentence in the depths of hell. God loves us and wants the very best for us and all we need do is trust in His omnipotence. Being positive doesn’t mean we don’t care about the challenges. It doesn’t mean we will magically feel better or look at our struggles as tests of strength. Instead, we are focusing on what God has already done for us. His love endures forever.

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LIVING IN THE MOMENT

I love my state, because you don’t have to go far from home to find some lovely body of water and amazing forests, not to mention the many parks which are the destination for hikers and campers.

Yesterday, Paul and I took one of our short road trips to Hudson, Wisconsin. It’s about a 45-minute drive from our house. It’s a quaint little river town along the St. Croix River. We’ve been there on other occasions, but yesterday was an exceptional weather day, so we decided to go there together. Usually, Paul would be going by himself, because this time of year is just not good for my asthma and allergies. He is entered in a plein air competition which covers the months of June, July and August. Each artist must paint two paintings of one of the local landmarks, a scene on the river or a house with a history. Actually, they can choose what they paint, but it must be within ten miles of the city.

We found a lovely spot right on the river. A class was in session with wannabe sailors from ages five and up. Each was learning to sail in a small boat as they were guided by a larger boat and told what to do. We got there to see them maneuvering in a circle as if they were in their own little regatta. Eventually it was time to stop and bring their boats back to shore. Paul began painting the scene before they landed, but I got a glimpse of each one as they docked. What a delight to see these precious little ones learning this skill at such a young age. I’m sure they will all be successful sailors someday. The experience got me thinking about how we often don’t see the ordinary as anything but ordinary. When we take the time to enjoy the moment, it becomes a memory worth hanging on to. The children were eager to see Paul’s painting and struck up a conversation with him. They asked him questions and, of course, Paul was eager to share his own past experiences serving as crew for some C Class boats many years ago.

We finished our adventure by sharing a fish fry. The air was dry and even a little chilly. The skies were brilliant blue, and the water shimmered like diamonds. We’ve had some struggles this year with health issues and changes in our work situations, but this one day made up for any worries we were experiencing before we arrived. God doesn’t waste a thing when it comes to His creation. The setting was gorgeous, the company was fantastic, and God was there with us, making sure that we remember He is the most consistent part of our lives.

Take time to live in the moment when you can. You will find great joy in it.

“I am installed in a fairylike place. I do not know where to poke my head; everything is superb, and I would like to do everything, so I use up and squander lots of color, for there are trials to be made.” Claude Monet

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” Maya Angelou

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HUMP DAY HUMOR

Wednesdays have been labeled, “Hump Day” since the 1950s. The middle day of the work week gives the employee hope for an end of it, and the promise of a weekend filled with rest and recreation. Unfortunately, the weekend is also filled with household chores and often backbreaking hard work. So, what’s funny about hump day? Put a camel to work and you have the answer. Add a laughing child and you have the recipe for a chuckle or two.

Our world is too full of pain, trials, misunderstandings, hatred, fear and every other negative you can imagine.  So much energy is spent on tragedy that there’s barely any time for a good belly laugh.  When we get mired in the humdrum of everyday living, no amount of botox is going to lift that face.

If you’re going through a financial crisis, feelings of depression, hopelessness, health issues – the last thing you’re going to do is laugh about it.  God doesn’t want us to be downhearted.  He loves us and wants to see our joy, even in times of trouble. Just how do you do that?  First of all, it’s a great idea to start hanging out with positive people – folks who share your faith and know what God has done for them.  Then try to get your mind off of your own problems by doing something useful, productive, creative or just plain fun.  It doesn’t hurt if it benefits someone else either.

Laughter has proven to be good medicine throughout the ages.  Doctors realize the benefits too.  Sometimes you have to search for the humor in things. While working with a friend, my husband expressed concern that his fellow worker was wearing flip flops.  The guy assured him they were steel toed so not to worry.  That set the tone for the work to be done.

There are times when we have to take things seriously, but there is never a time when we should lose our sense of humor.  By maintaining it, we can wash the muck off the windshield of life and get a much better perspective – and we can have fun while doing it.

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WHAT’S YOUR REALITY?

I think it’s time for a reality show that actually shows normal people, living ordinary lives, going through difficulties, joys, fun times, death, pain, grief. Thus it would be the life of moi and probably a lot of other people out there. Most of us like to think we’re living in the real world, but are we and what exactly is the real world anyway?

If you measure yourself by social media standards, the perfect family has parents that look like they came off the cover of a fashion magazine. The kids are meticulously dressed and well behaved. The dog is a purebred and the house they live in is more of the same kind of perfection. The meals they eat are never fails. Their car or cars are the newest on the block.

The truth is that this so-called “reality” is probably laced with huge credit card debt, a dysfunctional family that rarely communicates except by text and most of their meals are consumed at fast food restaurants. Our lives aren’t Pinterest perfect. We suffer – we get frustrated – we lose our temper – we experience all sorts of things that people don’t want to know about, but who wants to see real reality? We instead look for the glamourous, the intelligent, the perfect, the outwardly successful to mold our own identity and usually wind up sadly unsuccessful.

So how does one get through life with those kinds of expectations? Living within our means – setting a moral base for our children – putting away technology and talking together – eat meals together whenever possible – communicate as you drive to sporting events or other activities. In other words, be a family. Watching others and trying to imitate them is as old as time, but we are not all alike. Look to God’s reality for an example. His Word tells us to love each other as we love ourselves. We should encourage each other through our prayers and help. We should be willing to lay down our lives for our friends. When we’re part of God’s family, we’re no longer like those in the world. His spirit now lives in us and we are forever changed.

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LEAN ON HIM!

When those we love are hurting physically or emotionally, it’s hard to sit back and do nothing. We want to fix things and make them better. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible for us to do that. We often find it difficult to turn things over to God, because we believe we can handle it ourselves.

God has given us a solution for any problem that comes our way. He has taken on all our problems through Jesus’ death on the cross. In that single most important act of kindness Jesus took away the sin of the world. This is great news for aching hearts. When we are loaded with baggage that causes us to doubt God’s presence, He has promised to take that load from us. He tells those who are burdened and heavy laden to come to Him, and He will provide rest. When things seem hopeless and like God isn’t listening, take it to the Lord in prayer.

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TINY BLESSINGS

ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

Filtered light kisses tiny petals,
Morning mist embraces each leaf,
Golden rays enliven,
Breathing,
Inspiring,
Giving hope,
Fear and anxiety drowned by the beauty,
Bringing peace,
Lifting up,
We start anew,
We gasp for fresh air,
We believe,
We know,
We are convinced,
We can look forward,
Little faces of joy,
Spring forth,
From the dirt of the earth,
Cleansed and renewed,
A new day,
A fresh start.

GOD IS GREAT!

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