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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MANNA FROM HEAVEN

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 But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”  Numbers 11:6

Ever since I was a little girl and first heard about manna, I related this heavenly food to snow.  Being born in the Midwest, snow has always been in abundance and it often came pouring generously from heaven.  I still live in the Midwest. Don’t ask me why.  Maybe it’s the bounty of snow we have each year.  It might be the glorious change of seasons, which include winter and road construction.  It could be that I like to complain about the weather or that I’m just set in my ways and change at my age could prove fatal.

Anyway, here we are again.  Schools are closed –  again.  The usually efficient snow removal trucks haven’t been able to keep up with the accumulation.   We still can’t get our trash cans out to the curb, because they’re firmly frozen into the ground and I don’t plan on seeing my car until June.  So why on earth would I compare snow to manna?

I’m not trying to be flippant about this. I certainly believe God provided manna to the children of Israel and it didn’t take them long to get sick of it. I’m merely trying to draw a comparison.  God provides for all our needs, even when it looks like we’re not going to make it from paycheck to paycheck – even when we’re faced with illness or death – or we wonder how we’ll support another child.  His provision is always there.

There are days when I don’t always believe that.  I worry.  I fret.  I try to figure things out for myself. I forget that this has happened before and God never let me down.  He always provided a way out of every difficult situation.  He helped me to learn from foolish choices.  He led me on the road to salvation through His Holy Word.  You’d think an old lady like me would keep that in mind when the snow falls.  It’s like manna coming to nurture the earth and make it rich for planting in the spring –  to give refreshment to the wildlife, the birds and other creatures of nature – to create a soft bed for a stray cat – to create cover for an animal which has no place to hide.

We become so focused on the routine things that we rarely see the beauty in them.  This storm is expected to drop another 6 six inches by the time it’s over.  We anticipate another storm on Friday and a few smaller snow events next week.  We get tired of shoveling it, removing it from our cars and the roofs of our houses.  We try hard to think of the positive, but have a hard time finding it.  We look for the easy way out, by closing schools or working from home. We think we deserve better.  We’re entitled to more.  We try to manage what only God can do.

We’re not much different than those Israelites.  We can’t see the forest for the trees.  What is meant for our benefit is often overlooked.  We have trouble giving thanks for things that are keeping life alive.  We forget that God is in control of everything – including the weather.

So, get out the shovel or snow blower.  Dig your way out.  Be joyful that God has again provided manna from heaven.

 

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RIDING TO ANGEL’S WINGS

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A blue-grey sky, rolls swiftly by, the clouds enwrap its glory,

The road is paved with gilded stones, that tell an endless story,

A husky mule, a rugged man, set out to see what nature brings,

They take the path less travelled and fall on angels’ wings,

The beauty of the landscape, enriches this sweet scene,

As light reflects on every rock, new life will reconvene,

An eagle watches from afar – takes in your every move,

While you may falter, He is there to guide you and reprove,

When days grow long and life wears on, we search for simple things,

So take a road less traveled and fly on angels’ wings.

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WHERE TWO OR MORE ARE GATHERED

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

I belong to a small congregation.  It’s truly a family of Christian believers who care about each other.  I ‘ve been a member of a large church body who was connected in the same way.  To think that we have an extended family, of like faith, who we can pray with, knowing that our corporate prayers will be answered, is really powerful.

We’re planning to revive a prayer chain at this new church.  As we contemplate how to pray, we really need to include all kinds of prayer.  There are prayers for the sick and dying and comfort to those going through those things.  There are prayers for those experiencing financial difficulties or loss of employment.  We pray for those going through marital problems which may lead to the break up of a family.  There are countless reasons that weigh on our hearts for which we pray.

Often prayer seems to be reserved for those experiencing difficulty of some kind.  Even in our own prayer lives, we often forget to pray for the good things – the blessings.  It’s kind of like the ungrateful child, who begs and pleads for something they want, and when they get it, the forget to say “thank you.”  Imagine how God feels when we forget.

Prayers of thanksgiving our as vital as prayers for assistance and healing.  Our very lives are something to be grateful for.  Our salvation – our being permitted another day to share the Gospel – provision and protection – undeserved mercy – God’s precious blessings.  Those prayers are equally important to God.

When we receive a gift, it is customary to thank the giver.  Think about the gifts we have received from God.  Eternal life – forgiveness of sin – the promise of perfect, healthy bodies in eternity – no tears – no pain – no suffering – having enough to get by in this world – often having more than enough – friends, freedom to worship as we please, a country which still allows it.  There are countless reasons to thank God, but like a spoiled child who has been given more than enough, we often continue to ask for more.

There’s another kind of prayer we sometimes forget to bring to God and that is the prayer of praise.  Our God is beyond awesome.  He created the world and all that’s in it with perfection and the use His words – “Let there be,” and there was.  He intricately wove life of all kind to dwell within it.  He separated the waters from the land.  His power is greater than anything we can do.  Lift His holy name in praise every minute of every day.

Today, think about the chain that binds all of us as Christians.  Each link has a purpose.  The connection makes the chain complete.  When we’re united in prayer, God will hear us.  Certainly He will hear the smallest voice, but when we are linked together, with hearts united, our voice becomes stronger and our bond becomes unbreakable.

 

 

 

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TIME FOR LUNCH

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Every day we’re set upon by the enemy.  It can be the fear of failure, the angst of pain, the inevitability of death.  Whatever it is that holds us captive is the result of sin and God has a remedy for that.  Even though our enemies surround us, He is there to protect you from harm.  Trust in His unending love.

I walk in danger every day, the evil world surrounds me,

I could take cover from the fray, but still unrest confounds me,

I know that God above, is watching with His love,

And He will intercede, fulfilling every need.

 

No matter what is on my plate, He is my certain advocate,

I’ll take His hand and walk with Him, all fears and pain He’ll suffocate

His strong protection settles in , for Jesus took away my sin,

I walk secure in this true fact, that Jesus always has my back.

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PEEK A BOO

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Twisted vines and broken branches, colors matching perfectly,

Make it easy for these critters, to take refuge or to flee,

They fit in to their surroundings, quietly they hold their breath,

Hoping silence and no motion, will prevent an early death,

God created all His creatures, to fit in wherein they lay,

Giving them complete protection, so they live another day.

 

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IF IT’S BROKE – FIX IT

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I’ve written about our country being broken for the past couple years on Presidents Day.  I’ve been witness to breaking up of families through divorce.  Through my life, I’ve been broken by loss of a loved one – bad choices – sins that continually haunt me.  I’ve also seen division occur when minds have differences of opinion – friendships are broken because of it – lives change as a result.  When something is cracked, do we abandon it?  Do we walk away, because we don’t want to pick up the pieces and go through the tedious job of putting them back together again?

Last week I accidentally bumped a treasured porcelain figurine and broke it. This little piece of art had survived all these years without a crack. I glued it back together again, but will it last? Will the mending outlast time?  Probably not.  Still for a while, it will be fine and look as good as new – until it falls and breaks again.

When we go through trials as individuals, as a church body, as a group of friends, we don’t simply walk away.  There is a driving force in us, designed to mend those relationships.  Sometimes there is no hope of rejoining the broken.  We become so focused on the cracks and fissures that we don’t see the remaining beauty and how it can be reworked for everyone’s good.

The piece of art shown above, is a great example of using something solid and beautiful to restore the broken.  Isn’t this true in our personal lives too?  When things get messed up, we look for solid solutions.  We rely on the best methods – tried and true.

The same is true for every president of our country from the founding of this grand nation.  Each came to office to pick up the pieces and turn them into something new and better.  Every president undoubtedly felt his ideas would make a difference.  After wars were fought, we established ways of restoring countries that suffered because of them.  When poverty strikes another land, we are there with financial and physical aid.  When tyranny reigns and families are broken because of rulers bent on power, we intercede.  America has always stood as a beacon, because of its compassion, strength and ability to fix things.

Somewhere along the line, our nation has lost its faith in God’s intervention.  He can take the broken – the shattered – the useless and make them whole again.  With God, there will be no traces of those breaks.  The cracks will be filled with strength and power.  With God only, can we become stronger through our brokenness.  Through our weaknesses, God restores us.  However, we need to be proactive.  God wants us to be involved in the process.

As we honor our nation’s presidents today, let’s remember that each of them had a dream for America.  They wanted the best for her.  Let’s never lose respect for any of them in this important office.  America may have it’s flaws, but God will make her strong again.  God bless America!

 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

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COLORLESS

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I never thought of white as my favorite color. All shades of blue and green and some shades of red or brilliant yellow are more my choice. White is the color of milk and those fluffy cumulus clouds that float overhead. You can see white as the background for words, in your eyes and you can even make your teeth whiter if you want to.

I guess the entire color wheel is much more appealing than white – but then again white is the combination of all colors. Without color there would be no white. Without God there would be no color. He is the One who created it. Without God there would be nothing to truly appreciate in this world.

I need to start appreciating the color white. It looks like we’re going to be seeing a lot of it this winter. Fresh, white snow is expected to cover our yards and rooftops again this week. It has washed away all the ugliness from the backyard – all those yellow patches. It has covered the remainder of leaves that fell after the last snowfall. It glistens like a field of diamonds.  Its a good reminder of how God has washed us clean from our sins and made us perfect in His sight.

Thank you, God for WHITE!

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DRIED UP

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Isn’t it funny to see those commercials for products which promise to reduce or removed wrinkles and signs of aging – and all the models in said ads are probably 14 years old?  For once, I’d love to see real people (70+) using these products and getting the same promised results.
There’s everything from potions to special kinds of tape to pull the skin up and look younger.  I tried it once with duct tape, but found it a little inconvenient when I tried to comb my hair.

I was an early wrinkler.  In fact I come from a long line of wrinkled skin. One of the reasons for those deeply imbedded lines has to do with coming from a family of laughers.  Crows feet and laugh lines made their appearance when I was in my thirties.  The deeper forehead lines and what I like to call “marionette lines” which go from each corner of the nose to the each corner of the mouth.  If you’re really lucky, they extend down to create a line from the edge of the mouth to the chin.  You actually look like someone must be standing above you, ready to operate the strings which get your mouth moving.

As I grew older, another wrinkle popped up somewhere or other – not always on my face.  I believe I woke up one morning and had so many new ones that I thought the Lord was playing a trick on me and making me old all at once.

This winter has been brutal.  We’ve had intensely cold temperatures outside, so the air inside is over heated and all the moisture is sucked right out of it.  Not only that, but it’s sucked out of me too.  The skin on my elbows and feet look like a very pale alligator.  My limbs are flakey and shriveled.  My neck resembles a large turkey and now my television says I have crepey skin.  I suppose it’s something like the consistency of crepe paper.  In the past few months I’ve had a few zits pop up on my face.  What’s going on?  Am I advancing into adolescent old age?

There is very little hair on my legs.  I only have five of my original teeth.  My hair is thick, but it seems like a handful gets combed out each day.  My bones are brittle.  I will undoubtedly need cataract surgery next year.  My strength is waning, my memory is failing along with my hearing and there are days I’d rather stay in bed.

The idea of one day having a new body, without infirmities and one that is perfect in every way, is becoming more and more appealing to me every day.  See!  There is actually something to look forward to when you grow old.  You are that much closer to heaven11

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WE DON’T WALK ALONE

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Butterflies tickle my insides each time I try something new,
I worry and fret and often forget how Jesus knows just what to do,
He’s always around when I need Him, He walks with me all of the way,
He won’t let me down – He helps me find strength to sweep all frustration away,
No matter the day or the hour, I experience His awesome power,
He’s at my side and with me He’ll abide through rain storm or light falling shower,
So when I am tempted to give into fear, I stand confident in His grace,
He is my defense – He helps me make sense of the difficulties that I face,
I praise Him today for all that He gives to a wretch as hopeless as me,
Because of His love, which comes from above, sins were buried and I am set free.

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AFRAID OR STANDING IN AWE?

 

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I don’t deserve God’s forgiveness and the promise of eternal life.  When I look back on my 76 years of living, all I can see is one failure after another.  Who am I to be given such mercy?

When I was a child, I was afraid of God.  On one hand, I was told that God was my heavenly Father and that He loved me as an earthly father loves his children – only more.  To a four year old little girl, that made no sense.  I knew my dad loved me, but he never once expressed that love verbally.  I felt I had to be a good girl and tow the line in order to gain his favor.  If I didn’t, I would receive punishment.

I felt the same way about my heavenly Dad.  I felt I must follow the commandments to the letter, to never make mistakes, to learn all I could about heaven and how to get there.  I felt God was my judge and I was terrified, because there was no way I’d ever get it right.

I was taught in a Christian high school.  I heard the words of my teachers, but they weren’t sinking in.  At least I didn’t think they were.  When I started my own family and understood a little bit about parenting, it began to become clearer to me.   Life experiences are like that.  We can learn a ton from them.

As a child, I thought of God as a stern judge who saw only my dark side.  I couldn’t help but feel unworthy.  Like many Christians, I felt something was missing. There had to be something I could do to make amends for my sins.  Time and lots of prayers finally brought the truth of the Gospel to my heart.  Yet, without that Law, I would have had no need for a Savior.

So fear, in my case, had a negative connotation.  Fear also means to stand in awe of someone or something – to honor and show respect.  We can never do what is necessary to become right with God – only God can make that happen – and He did, when He became flesh and blood and suffered the weight and shame of our sins.

God is not only the creator of the universe, but its Savior. We’re told to fear and love God which sounds like a contradiction. God tells us in Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Today and every day, may we stand before You, Holy God, with reverential awe. You loved this world so much that you sent your own Son, Jesus, to take on our sin so we could gain your forgiveness. Through your resurrection, we know that we will overcome death as well.  This is amazing grace.  When You look at us, You see Your Son and the work that He did for all the world.  The price has been paid.  This the best news.  Amen!

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ONE MAN SHOW

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This is the man I love – a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and brother.  He has been part of my life through a majority of it.  We’ve shared our ups and downs.  We had disagreements.  We’ve had all out fights, but we’ve always managed to mend those fences and move on.

For the past several weeks, Paul Boecher, the artist, has been exhibiting his art in a one man show at the Rum River Art Gallery in our little town of Anoka. His show will end on Sunday. He is passionate about his art and constantly works at improving it and growing because of it.  His greatest abilities are not always shown on a canvas, or in a piece of wood, but in the heart of this man.  He’s able to share his knowledge, because of his formal art education and experience, with several students in the classes he teaches.  He especially enjoys seeing them evolve into fine artists and discover their potential.

Because Paul is also a man who loves God and wants to serve Him with all his heart, financial gain and notoriety are not important to him.  He gives the credit for his abilities to the One who created him.  He feels that his true reward is in what his art does for others.

The arts are filled with so many gifted people and chances of becoming a Renoir or Rembrandt today are slim to none.  Because of this, the arts are also very competitive and saturated.  Still Paul and I agree that they are an important part of life.  Through art and performance, we can communicate our thoughts, our vision, our hopes and dreams. We can share with our audience, the love we have for what we do and inspire others through it.

As I sit here, writing this post, I’m seated at a table filled with some of his paintings and relief sculptures.  My hand drifted over the top of one and I was moved by the depth of each cut of the chisel the smoothness of tenderly crafted wood.  I recalled a life sized relief sculpture Paul did many years ago of the Good Shepherd, holding a sheep and tending others.  When the piece was installed, a blind woman went up to touch it.  She began to cry as she touched the Shepherd’s face.  She said, “That’s my Savior!” That’s what art is about – touching others with the work, inspiring, giving comfort, joy and peace – spilling  part of yourself into the finished product for someone else to enjoy.

Art has an effect on all of us, whether we know it or not.  I’m very proud of my husband and his artistic.  I’m even more proud of how he shares his love of God through it.  From the wife of a starving artist, I can honestly say, I’ve been blessed beyond my own merit, by the gift of this man who has shown me how to give my heart to God. There is no greater treasure.

 

 

 

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ICONIC SIGN OF THE CITY

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

This painting of the iconic Gold Medal Flour signs, which are visible from the Mississippi River, stand as a beacon of sorts for those nearing the town of Minneapolis.  One of the major industries in our town has been the manufacturing of flour and flour products.  The grain silos upon which the twin signs stand, act as a welcome to the metropolis made famous by one of the main brands of a product known throughout the civilized world.  For over a hundred years, it has been part of our city scape.

Firmly she stands on the water’s edge, brilliantly lighting the way,

Beckoning travelers to stop and stay, greeting them day by day,

This sign once stood lightless, but those who knew, restored her again to view,

Proudly displaying the product’s name, it was again made bright and new,

So when you approach the river’s edge, be on the lookout for her,

An icon of past days  and future so bright, sweet memories  she will stir.

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WALLY’S FRIDAY FRY DADDY VALENTINE FUNNY

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JULIE’S FRIDAY VALENTINE FUNNY

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WHEN I WAS SEVENTEEN …

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When I was a girl of seventeen, I had already found the man I’d marry.  We were high school sweethearts then and are old married folks now.  As we began to date in our senior year, my true love sent me a handwritten note with the words from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem, “How Do I Love Thee?”  I was so impressed, thinking he had actually penned the words. Remember, I was seventeen and not extremely well versed in poetry.  When I finally discovered the truth, it was too late.  I was already madly in love with the guy.

We will celebrate  55 years of marriage this year and I still feel the same as I did then.  We’ve been battered by life through the years.  We’ve gone through difficulties together.  We’ve struggled with finances.  There were times we didn’t trust, grew angry and even walked out on each other, but one common thread kept bringing us back together.  The cord wouldn’t have been complete and able to endure all those things, had not God been a part of our lives together.

When you love someone, you overlook their flaws.  You try to see the best in each other.  You work together to solve problems.  You help each other physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.  You lift each other up when one falters.  You share your hopes and dreams and strive to accomplish them with God’s help.  You don’t grow impatient with each other.  You share the physical connection of intimacy with no shame, because God has blessed this part of your marriage as well.  You confide in each other.  You encourage each other.  You inspire, build each other’s confidence, you love without conditions – most of the time.

God’s love is even greater.  His love is totally unconditional.  He loves us, broken and soiled, because He has rescued us from the clutches of sin.  He loves us so much that He became one of us, experienced life as we do, never gave into sin, yet carried the load of everyone’s transgressions to the cross.  He suffered and died for us.  He rose again to show that He could conquer death and that we will also.  He inspires us with His Holy Spirit and gives us eternal life.

Now that’s what I call true love!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

 

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YOUR TABLE AWAITS

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

Each Valentine’s Day they met there, a table for two was set,

Vase with a flower were set there, a place they’d never forget,

For years it became a habit, one that would keep love alive,

With time they’d willingly grab it, moments like this made them thrive.

 

With each passing year their love grew, they’d always count on this date,

To restart, replenish, renew, and all their troubles abate,

The obstacles along the way, strengthened their bond and resolve,

The journey they shared each day, would simply never dissolve.

 

Days turned to years and they flourished, but death came to visit one,

Their love survived and was nourished, at a table for two, set for one,

Each year the tradition goes on, their love will never subside,

And when they’re rejoined in heaven, forever they will abide.

 

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NEW TRAILS TO EXPLORE

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A brand new park has just emerged within a residential area of the city.  Paul painted this walking, biking and hiking trail which is skirted by a little man made creek.  At the time of the actual painting, there was to  be a concert in the park.  People were beginning to gather, but so were the clouds.

The sky filled with a dusky orange color and large mammatus clouds begin to appear. There was a moment of complete stillness.  If you’ve ever experienced the signs of an approaching tornado, you know what I’m talking about.  It’s almost like a call to take cover immediately, which you do if you have any common sense.  Suddenly the wind picks up, stirring the sky and swooping down to lap up whatever lies in its path.  You hear the roaring of what sounds like a locomotive bearing down on you.  If you haven’t taken cover by this time, you’ve probably been carried off by the wind.

The storm clouds explode into torrential rain, which lasts for a short time and then all is still again.  Sometimes the sky turns an eerie green before it all begins.  In any event, Paul was able to gather up his paints, easel and canvas and make it safely home before the storm hit.

When you paint outdoors, you’re exposing yourself to the elements every step of the way.  You can face windy conditions, when your pallet goes flying and your canvas hurls into a pile of dirt.  You can try to capture the light, but too often it comes and goes before you can load your paintbrush.  You must endure extremes in temperatures, rain and other conditions which can instantly ruin your canvas. I admire the painter who loves plein air, because a photograph can capture the scene, but a painting becomes the scene.

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AGING ENLIGHTENED

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The Age of Enlightenment was a time in history between 1700-1800.  It was a time when the world was changing drastically.  Some considered it a time of enlightenment and philosophy.  In our own nation, big changes were occurring.  Immigrants in search of a better life were setting up colonies on land that once was open space for the true Americans.  Their settlements infringed on hunting lands and soon became a new civilization with forward thinking, brilliant minds, believing they would have a new start in this unsettled land.

I could get into a whole story about the fact that these lands were already populated and the immigrants were in fact taking land that didn’t belong to them, but I’ll spare you my feelings on that. Instead, I prefer to look at the enlightenment that comes from aging.  I happen to know a lot about the subject since I’m well into my seventh decade.  Enlightenment  is often paired revolution and believe me when you age, most do so kicking and screaming all the way.

All the stuff about going through childhood, adolescence, middle age and retirement has been hashed and rehashed for centuries, but there is little talk about those final years – the years  approaching death.  For most people, it’s a subject we don’t like to talk about, yet it’s a necessary one. The truth of life is that it is going to end – for all of us.  Whether you are just a child or well into retirement, you can count on that fact as much as you can believe there will be taxes to pay and pain to endure.

Each of us has a past.  Even the very young,  have memories of life in the womb.  God has designed us before our conception and we have a purpose for entering this life and eventually leaving it.  Death will come to all of us.

The longer I live, the more I question why I’m still here.  I’ve seen little children die, before they’ve even had a chance to learn how to tie their shoes.  I’ve seen older kids die unexpectedly.  I’ve seen teens take their own lives in order to find eternal peace – but do they?  I’ve seen those suffer with serious, life threatening diseases – those who are so much in the throes of depression that they don’t want to face life anymore – those so hopeless that life is simply unbearable.  As age goes on, many decide they’ve seen enough and want out.

We all have different opinions about life and death.  When does it begin and when does it end?  For those who treasure life, they soon discover that we don’t have much to say about its sanctity.  We have places for old people to go when they can’t take care of themselves anymore.  There is special help available to make the final hours of life comfortable as the end approaches.  Decisions regarding death over life are already being considered for those approaching old age..

So where does all this enlightenment come from and what does it have to do with what I’m trying to say today?  It seems to me, that the more enlightened or knowledgeable we become – the more intelligence we gain – the more we learn, the less we know. We become so encased in knowledge that wisdom doesn’t have a chance to survive.  When we place our focus on the here and now, we can be sure there won’t be a better place beyond that fatal day. We cannot control our own destiny, no matter how we try.

Remember that plan that God laid out for our lives?  It is one of perfection.  When sin entered the world He established a rescue mission for the whole human race – a plan that would insure perfection once more.  His own flesh and blood would come to save the world and give them the paradise which had been lost.  When we have faith in that truth, we are truly enlightened.

 

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EACH ONE UNIQUE

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This year all the snow we generally receive over the course of winter, has dropped more than sufficiently in just one month – which has just begin. Winter in Minnesota lasts for about six months, so we need to find some reason to enjoy it or we tend to go a little crazy up here.  Add to the snow, temperatures that dip well below zero and you have a combination worthy of hibernation.  But we Minnesotans are a hearty lot.  Many of us are of German or Scandinavian descent.  Our ancestors grew up in much the same climate we muddle through each year.  Perhaps that’s why they settled here.

One way to find joy in winter is to take a close look at the formations of ice on the branches of trees – or explore the etched frozen displays which appear each morning on your windows.  You could take a walk through the deep snow, fill your boots with it, breathe in the fresh, wholesome air and simply take it all in.  You can build a snow fort, a snow man, a battery of snowballs for future use or you can stick your tongue out and catch the glistening flakes as they gently fall from the sky.  Just don’t apply your tongue to a metal pole or you may remain in place until the next thaw.

There is so much of God’s glory expressed in winter.  The snowflake, for example, is unique in its formation.  There is not another snowflake like it. One of a kind, created with precision, beauty and divine perfection.  Just like us.  We are each unique.  We all have something to bring to the table.  Some have great minds, superior creativity, good looks, entrepreneurial skills, ways to solve problems sensibly and so much more.  We all look different too.  Even identical twins have something unique in their DNA.  Those with special needs also can be of great value to society.  We come in all sizes, shapes, colors, belief systems, each with a special gift that will benefit the whole.

We’re like those delicate snowflakes in a way.  Each one different and unique, yet when joined together they become a force to be reckoned with.  (Remember those snowballs and what they have the potential of doing.)

My point this morning is not only to treasure the gift of winter, but to look at those around us and see unique individuals who when melded together with others can do great things.  We each have the ability to work for the common good, but as a unit, imagine what we can accomplish.

“There are as many pillows of illusion as flakes in a snow-storm. We wake from one dream into another dream.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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CITY AT NIGHT

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A pale glimmer of mauve glistens over the city as the sun descends into night,

Leaving a path of darkened shadows and sparkling diamonds in its wake,

Reflections cover a cobblestone street, mirroring the lamplight from inside,

Some shops remain open, while others have ended another day.

 

Luminosity radiates from the corner church, inviting those in need  to enter.

“Come to me,” is the inviting chant “I will carry your burdens for you.”

Simple words yet full of promise and hope,

“Come to me and I will give you rest.”

Peace is offered freely there.

You are under no obligation.

Don’t resist,

Open the door,

Enter,

Step inside and receive the gift of a brand new day.

Your cares may still remain, but something new has been added unto you,

The true Light of the World will change everything.

Come!

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