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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WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?

Does becoming a senior citizen mean that our days of usefulness are over? I hope not. So far I’ve been blessed with a sound mind, except when I’m dreaming or creating a new piece of work; and I’m physically sound, except for the extra 20 pounds I’m lugging around.

God has words concerning the elderly throughout the Bible. Some of the wisest men lived well into their hundreds. I think that age is not looked on with the same respect that it was in ancient times or with certain cultures today. In these times of unrest and uncertainty, we need the wisdom that the older generation has to offer. Being mentors to the young – sharing our life experiences – lending words encouragement and inspiration – lifting up those who feel they’ve failed – are all ways in which we can still be useful in our senior years.

When we retire from the work force, we tend to feel useless. Part of our identity has been eliminated. Our lifestyle changes and our dreams of a work-free life have fizzled into having no purpose. When that happens to us, all other sorts of problems arise We feel a little sorry for ourselves and dwell on our health issues more. We give up doing things with friends. We isolate. We begin to forget things. Without that purpose for living we lose another twenty years or so without actually living them. The truth is we have a lifetime of experiences, learning and knowledge that we can share with the younger generation.

I am hopeful that by example we can teach others in our age bracket that our lives don’t end with each trip around the sun. Each day is a new beginning and we need to make the most of every one of them. Join a class on something you never had time to do when you were working. Volunteer as an older big brother. Share your stories with youngsters. Grandparents are often separated from the grandchildren and that relationship is very important to both generations. Use your talents to write a book, paint a picture, create, teach, learn new things and to reach out to others. When we stop living – we quickly die. I believe the knowledge and experience we’ve acquired in our lifetimes can still be of great benefit to society today. Let’s not underestimate what we can contribute to others’ life journeys. It took a long time for you to get here, so don’t waste what remains of your own life.

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old. You grow old when you stop laughing.” – George Bernard Shaw

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PREPARING FOR THE BATTLE

The father of our country, George Washington, was right in his quote, “In time of peace, prepare for war.” Our heavenly Father wants us to be ready for the battles we face too. Every day is a battle in some ways. We’re called upon to make decisions and choices that will affect our future here on earth as well as our life beyond the grave. Sometimes we’re asked to take chances that seem impossible to manage.

The toddler is taking a big risk when he leaves the comfort of his parent’s arms and takes his first steps. When a child rides his bike on the road alone for the first time, he is opening the door to new opportunity. As we get older, we will face various hazards in life. We continue our education without knowing if we’ll be able to pay back student loans. We enter the work force with doubts about our ability to do the job. We get married without knowing what lies ahead. We make investments in real estate, a business and the stock market without having any guarantees. When life is drawing to a close, we might take some foolish risks in order to empty our bucket list.

Joshua was told by God to be strong and courageous as he began his military commission, just as we should remain strong and courageous in our walk with God. He has promised to be with us in everything we do. Should we take chances in life or should we sit on the fence and wait for someone else to take care of us? God has promised to be with us when we call on Him for help. It’s so easy and yet sometimes so hard. Whatever battle you are facing tody – be aware that you are not alone. When you walk with God, you have the most competent general leading you.

Help me, Lord to look to you for everything I do in this life. You are my strong defense and with you all things are possible. Amen!

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HE SPEAKS AND THE EARTH MELTS

WATERCOLOR PAINTING & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

“The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it.”  Nahum 1:5

Through all our perils, fears and woes, the Lord is there to guide us,

He runs to us when we are crushed and tenderly revives us,

When all the world in sin decays, and burns into the ground,

We still can rest in confidence that God is still around,

The mountains bow before His sight, the hills are in His hands,

Each creature in His path bends low, the desert fills with sands,

The wells dry up and fields grow brown as He consumes it all,

Yet still our God controls His wrath, He’ll never let us fall,

He has the pow’r to wipe us out, His breath is in the wind,

He knows our hearts and all therein, and how to Him we’ve sinned,

But He will never forsake us, He loves us so much more

He wraps His arms so tightly now, and gets right to our core,

Don’t ever forget His power and don’t deny his love,

He chooses to protect and give from His throne high above,

He sent His Son to pay the price, His blood was shed for all,

So turn your eyes to God alone, and heed His mighty call.

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ON THE WATERFRONT

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Reflections of a summer day, the range of many hues,

The gentle breeze on mirrored lakes, the reds, yellows and blues,

The sailboats take their daily cruise, the colors quickly change,

While God remains in heavenly skies, the seasons to arrange.

From hot and steamy summer air to cool, refreshing fall,

From there a blanket of pure white, will entertain us all,

Again in spring new life awakes as birds come back to sing,

The seasons are a plethora of blessings God will bring, 

And so as one is put to bed another soon will dawn,

The richness of creation sings its richest autumn song,

And though things change through out our lives, consistent He remains,

With light and life He fills our souls and takes away the stains.

 

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SHINING JEWELS OF DE NIAL

From left to right – Ben Layne, director, narrator & assorted characters – Kathy Boecher as Pearl – Christine Tauer as Ruby – Dee Moore as Crystal

Last night we hit the stage at Northern Starz Performing Arts Center in Ramsey, MN. As you may know, I’ve been involved in this little theatre troupe for about three years now. It stemmed out of a class I was teaching for seniors 55+ and it turned out to be a small class which decided to become a writing and performance group.

When the pandemic hit, shortly after we inititiated this program, we continued to meet via Zoom to brainstorm on ideas that would appeal to an older audience – issues like technology, medical problems, traveling, relationships, etc. We took a comedic turn and the stories have developed from those days and continue to keep our creative juices flowing. In that interim, we decided it might be fun to turn our episodes into an old fashioned radio show, performing to a live audience. This allows us to read (not memorize) from the script, to use our acting skills, engage the audience and have fun doing it.

This year our theatre received a grant to take our show on the road. We’ve been performing for assisted and independent living, nursing homes and senior centers in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. The idea of aging with a sense of humor is our ultimate goal. It’s always so much fun to perform for a live audience and even though there weren’t a lot of people in the audience, those who were there seemed to be enjoying themselves. It shows me that there is still pupose for us as we age. No matter what we choose to do with the rest of our lives, we must continue to live them. Otherwise we lose our determination, our zest and our desire to be part of life. If we can bring joy to others, that’s the frosting on the cake

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SATURDAY SABBATICAL

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

When we search for distant places,

When we walk uncharted lands,

Our hearts are filled with wonder,

Our minds hold no demands,

A trail that leads to winter,

A path beside the sea,

A walkway through a forest,

Whatever it may be,

Our dreams can take us somewhere,

We’ve never been before,

In our imaginations,

We can open any door,

We wander through a fantasy,

A magic wonderland,

Though sometimes fears surround us,

It’s hard to understand,

Then we awake from slumber,

Our dreams come to an end,

But our imagination,

Can still be our best friend.

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FRACTURED FRIDAY -BRIDGING THE GAP

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

I believe that God has plans for each one of ius. How do we bridge the gap between aging and youth? Maybe it starts by listening to each other – sharing life moments – reaching out rather than judging. In any event, I think that we’re lacking that ability to discover rather than obliterate each others thoughts and ideas. We may find a very common ground.

FINDING MY PLACE

The world is not the place for me,  I long to be in heaven,

When thoughts like that invade my mind, I ask to be forgiven,

God’s plan was not e to die,  He chose me as His own,

He crafted me and knew me, before each stitch was sewn,

Each perfect piece he whittled,  each vessel put in place,

He had a plan set just for me,  He knew the dreams I’d chase.

And even as my days grow short, and time is running out,

I feel His presence in my life, of this I have no doubt.

To live for me is Jesus, no matter where I roam,

I will rejoice to meet Him when He comes to take me home.

The world is not the place for me,  I long to be in heaven,

When thoughts like that invade my mind, I ask to be forgiven,

God’s plan was not for me to die,  He chose me as His own,

He crafted me and knew me, before each stitch was sewn,

Each perfect piece he whittled,  each vessel put in place,

He had a plan set just for me,  He knew the dreams I’d chase.

And even as my days grow short, and time is running out,

I feel HisFROM presence in my life, of this I have no doubt.

To live for me is Jesus, no matter where I roam,

I will rejoice to meet Him when He comes to take me home.

FROM HERE TO THERE

When feeling that I’m all alone, there’s no place I can run,

I look beyond my brokenness with hope to find just one,

One road, one light, one hidden trail that finally leads me home,

But in the stillness of the night, my fears explode, I’m filled with fright,

The darkness and the swollen air, fill empty lungs with deep despair,

Until that moment when I see, that God will not let go of me,

A tattered bridge He’s laid for me, a gentle push to set me free,

With Him the road has been made clear.  No more will death encase me here.

My freedom lies within His hands – much further than the bridge expands,

I’ll live with Him forever.

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WHERE EVER I GO, HE IS THERE

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©


When answers to questions are hard to find,

We struggle within and our minds go blind,

We try as we will to figure it out,

We fret and we worry, we cry and pout,

We try to do what is out of our realm,

Instead of placing our God at the helm.

Inside of ourselves we’re hopelessly lost,

Our thoughts are unclear and our minds are tossed,

To find our true worth we must search without,

To God, our dear Father, we plead and shout,

Our voices He hears and answers in time,

He lifts us up with His power divine,

When you change your focus and don’t give up,

The Shepherd of heaven will fill your cup.

God promises to be with us in all seasons of our lives. He gives us purpose and unconditional love. We can”t hide from Him, even if we try. He will seek us out and find us. To me, that is the comfort of the ages.

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM – FAMILY TREE

We had a visit from our flower girl of almost 58 years ago, recently. She’s in the process of researching her family tree, which includes my husband. I’ve always thought it would be interesting to study my family tree and learn the kind of people I came from. The problem is, there were probably a few scalawags in the bunch, and I don’t necessarily want to know about them. Still it’s a good thing to know that we all come from the same tree. We are imperfect people and there are many scalawags among us.

The Bible is full of begetting and begottens – all the way back to creation. Jesus lineage is peppered with all kinds of people, from kings to shepherds – from rapists to murderers – results of incest, prostitution, and all the dregs of humanity known to man. It’s important for us to know that God took on human flesh when He came to save the world. It was part of the mission, to show that even though He had a human side, He was also without sin. He would be the perfect ransom because He was the unblemished lamb required to pay the debt that we couldn’t pay.

Our flower girl is now 61 years old. She was three when we married. Her own life is filled with art, creativity and a passion for history. In her searching she has found a common thread. The people from her past have carried on a long history of innovation, creativity and a zest for living. Sure, there are a few scalawags too, but I find it interesting how God’s plan for this family has been laden with the love of God.

So, as we look at our past, we can often discover what lies ahead for those who follow us. Are we leaving a legacy that will be honored for years to come? We can all trace our beginnings to God, the Creator of all things, because the Bible tells us so. It’s the perfect history of humankind and source of our beginnings. We are created in God’s image, so we can consider ourselves Jesus’ brother and have the assurance of an inheritance in His kingdom.

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ARE THESE THE GOOD OLD DAYS?





Our country’s short history has seen some amazing accomplishments.  When you think about how quickly technology has advanced in just the past 30 years, it’s astounding.  Most kids don’t even know what a cassette player is, or the mention of a boom box might create visions of an explosive device.

When you think of how fast things have evolved from the late 1800s to today it’s mind-boggling.  For example roads and tunnels were carved through mountains; buildings were constructed to heights not before known on our landscape; railroads passed through lofty forests; and bridges linked one body of land to another – and all of this was achieved by the sweat of the brow and the actual lives of many.

Machines were not controlled by computers.  In fact, most of the machines were crude or invented on the spot to get the job done.  Many times muscle and brute strength were responsible for what was achieved.  They say necessity is the mother of invention.  I guess that was true then just as much as it is today, but it still amazes me to think that so much was accomplished with so little in the early days of our history.

God gave man the ability to work way back in the Garden of Eden.  He put Adam in charge of caring for the beautiful creation of His hands.  It wasn’t until sin entered the world that work became difficult.  God also gives us the brain power to figure out how to make our work easier, but it is still work.  Today we have been blessed with tools and inventions which continue to take the difficulty out of working, but those of us of the older generation still struggle with trying to figure them out.

I thank God for the men, women and children who made it possible for me to have the conveniences available to me today.  I also am grateful for the ingenuity and craftsmanship of those early years and the work ethic of our forefathers .  Let’s never forget all the lives that were spent building our nation, as well as the lives of those who shed their blood defending her.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the ability to work.  It is truly a blessing and gift from you.  As I get older, I sometimes feel that if I ever stop working, my usefulness on this planet will be spent, but I know that you have a plan for every second I have left.   Strengthen me each day with the knowledge that you are beside me all the way. Amen!

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ANOTHER DAY OLDER AND STILL KICKING

When I wrote my memoir several years ago, I was in my 60s and thoughts of retirement were not yet in the picture. They still aren’t. I have survived eight decades and am eagerly moving into the next one. Yesterday was my birthday and I celebrated along with fathers all over the place who were being honored as dads. I am truly blessed to have a wonderful family and loyal friends. They have been the source of my joy for most of my life. I guess I’m still not retired, but I sure enjoy being able to take an hour nap when I feel like it. I enjoy the work I’ve been chosen to do. I continue to write, focus on the things that are important to me and treasure the love of Christ in my life.

Getting older doesn’t have to be a death sentence. When we give up, it becomes one. As long as I’m able, I will continue to work and I’m confident that God will bless what I do. I told my children that they can now consider me a wise old woman. They replied that I was already wise. That made my day. I’m still a wise guy.

Thank you, Lord for another year of life. Thank you for using me to share your love with others. Thank you for showering me with so many treasures without measure. Thank you for giving me all I need to get through life. Thank you for your Son, Jesus. Thanks for taking away my sins. Thank you for releasing the burden of worry from my shoulders and carrying the load yourself. Thank you, thank you, thank you, God. Amen!

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LIFE LINES

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

(This pencil drawing lives on our living room wall. It is one of my favorites works of Pauls art. The detail in every inch is like the patchwork of our lives. It has won awards.)

Each line is like a vein, that weaves both in and out,

Each shadow is created as we search the world about,

Our paths may go in different ways, they lead to where we’re going,

But often we just hide away, and leave some seeds for sowing.

Each whisper of the wind can satisfy our longing,

The tempest of the breath of God assures us of belonging,,

The road is filled with obstacles and detours on the way,\

But God will lead us bck to Him as we begin to stray.

His tender touch will guide us, through wind and sleet and rain,

He’ll carry us through danger through suffering and pain,

Because He is our Father God, we know His love is true,

He carries us when we can’t walk and brings us safely through.

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

There are so many reasons to thank men for being fathers.  Not only are they procreating to populate the world – which requires no special skill – but they’re also given responsibilities anyone would desire on their resume’.  They’re problem solvers, “go-to” men, decision makers, first aid administrators, care givers, financial wizards, teachers, spiritual guides, goal setters, fixer uppers, strong and reliable.  In addition to that, they give advice, answer lots of questions, provide for their children, give them tools for living and will stop on a dime to give their kids attention.  They know how to administer justice when discipline is necessary.  They come to their child’s defense when they know they need an advocate.  Their love should be, but isn’t always unconditional. Wow – that’s a lot to expect of anyone.

Fathers have been fashioned by the Creator – who made all of us equal.  God is the perfect example of what a dad should be.  The greatest gift a dad can give his children, besides his time and attention, is directing them in God’s path.  With God, they will  accomplish things they only dreamed.  You’re leaving the richest legacy any parent could give their child – the gift of knowing how much our heavenly Father loves and cares for them.

Thanks, fathers, for giving us life and seeing to it that we have the necessary tools to get through it.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

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SUMMER PERCEPTIONS

ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER

The earth rotates as God first set it in the sky,

The winds are His, He controls whether we live or die,

He carves the trees into skeletal versions of themselves,

He releases His rain on parched grass and plantings,

He uses His powerful breath to breathe life into all things,

His power is amazing,

His majesty – beyond our comprehension,

His mercy – undeserved,

His love – unconditional,

Our salvation – a truth to sustain us in our darkest hours,

He is God.

He created us.

He lived with us and died for us,

His heart is totally in love with us,

He conquered death and we will too,

His resurrection makes us new,

Submit to Him,

Rely on Him,

Turn to Him in all trouble,

Don’t give up on Him,

For He has already won the war,

We are His and He is ours,

Take His hand and let Him lead,

And His sheep will always feed,

Filling every earthly need,

For our lives His heart did bleed,

Leading us to heaven’s door,

Where we’ll lift Him and adore,

Where our sin will be no more,

Amazing grace do we implore.

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THE MAN MY KIDS CALL DAD

The guy in these pictures has been a part of my life for most of it. He was my high school sweetheart and 58 years ago in September, I married him. A lot has transpired during that time including three great children who have grown into outstanding adults and three grandchildren who are becoming the same. I guess you could call Paul a rebel of sorts. He’s always gone the extra mile in everything he does. He doesn’t conform to the norm, but he is ethical and God fearing in everything he does.

When he owned his own business, he was very fashionable, wearing suit, tie and button down shirt. As he became his own person, he developed his own style. Today you will see him wearing jeans that are worn at the knee and covered with paint.  He wears clean jeans to church, but sometimes you may find a speck of paint on them too. The ties have been replaced with a bolo for special occasions. He’s an artist you see, so paint is part of his calling card.

He could be called a Renaissance man. He comes from a long line of them – inventors, builders, innovators, creative individuals with a quick sense of humor, which has served him well over the years. He still makes me laugh. Our children admired him, respected him, feared him at times, tried to imitate him, loved him to the moon and back. They still talk about times they shared with him as children and memories that linger on forever. They didn’t like his rules especially, but they realized his discipline was peppered with love and they passed that on to their own children.

This man has a lot going on underneath all the hats he’s worn over the years.  He has a masterful brain.  He’s a great problem solver.  He knows how to teach, have compassion, cry when necessary and laughs a lot.  He knows how to tell a great story, complete with body language and hand gestures.  I can almost “read” what he’s saying from a great distance because of it. The Word of God is imprinted in his heart and he is a great evangelizer.  He’s never been known to be shy and during our time together, he’s brought me out of my shell.  He’s an encourager, motivator, inspirer, talented, inventive and he’s the man I love. He is a great example of what a father should be.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN!

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TWO SPECIAL DADS

These wo special fathers left this world much too young, but are not forgotten. My dad was raised by a single mother, along with his three siblings. No one ever speaks about his father, except to say that he abandoned his family when they were all very young. Being raised by only their mother, they suffered through the depression years – had to go to work at an early age – became self-sufficient – but longed for a father image to follow. I belieive they found that hero in their grandfather – their mother’s dad. He was a stern German man of exceptional height for his time. He was close to six feet and even though he appeared to have a stiff upper lip, he taught his grandchildren to be independent and to rely on God in their lives. My dad was a smaller fellow. He was short – about 5″4.” Because he had to find his own way at a very young age, he didn’t enjoy the benefits of being a kid. He had a poor self-image, but he knew a lot about everything. What he didn’t know, he would search for in books. He realized the importance of Christian education and made sure we attended Sunday School and continue through high school. He liked his martinis and beer, but rarely seemed intoxicated after consuming them. He worked as a bartender, to supplement the family income, which may have contributed to his own drinking. He never rose a hand to spank. He didn’t have to. The “look” was all that was necessary. That which wasn’t covered by the look, was carried into verbage that made it clear that he was disappointed in us. He was delegated to tell us about the birds and the bees, because mom was too embarassed. So to prepare himself, he bought a book all about the subject. I wondered if he was trying to find out for himself or if what he learned would be for our benefit. He died at the age of 61 after a long battle with lung cancer.

My Father-in-law was a funeral director. I was so relieved when my husband decided not to follow the family business, but that’s a story for another time. He was on call 24/7 and would often be wakened in the middle of the night to receive the body of someone’s loved one. He had a quiet sense of humor and loved to escape to the lake home on weekends to go fishing. He would spend hours on the lake. Then he would return to the reeality of his profession. He was the perfect man for the job, because he was compassionate, an artist in his own rite, kind and comforting. There were many hours that he would spend just waiting. During those hours, he would spend time working for his church and staying active with the Lutheran high school alumni board. His eyes were sparkling blue and his smile was engaging. When Paul and I were dating, we often used the funeral car for dates, which meant calling in regularly to see if the car needed to return home. Since cell phones weren’t invented yet, this was not an easy task. I never liked riding in that car anyway – even though it was very classy. He died at the age of 56 of a brain aneurysm in his sleep. It was difficult for the entire family to lose the leader of the tribe so very young.

Both of these dads had strong faith and trusted in God’s plan for their lives. Neither of them would have wished to die so young, but apparently God wanted them to come to heaven at that time. Each of these men raised two children each. I think we all turned out pretty good and have inherited a zeal for Christ, which they demonstrated throughout their young lives. We need to treasure the time we have with those we love, because we never know when we won’t have them anymore. I know they’re enjoying the benefits of heaven and that we will meet again.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO MY DAD & MY FATHER-IN-LAW IN HEAVEN!

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 ESV

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THROW BACK THURSDAY – SONS-IN-LAW

This is a rerun of a post I wrote last year on 06/18/21. I don’t always remember to wish my sons=in-law a Happy Fathers Day, but they deserve my gratitude for so many reasons. We have been blessed with two of them who have provided three grandchildren who we love and admire for their accomplishments just as much as we love their dads.

Our first born decided to marry her husband after only a few weeks of dating.  It was a match that suited both of them.  They were both quiet, contemplative, compassionate and followed all the rules.  Since our family is known to be rather outgoing, I was almost afraid we scared him away with our bold and sometimes over confident behavior.  He managed to grow used to us and has proven to be a wonderful dad to our two grandsons and husband to our daughter.

Our third child was more of a free spirit, yet one with solid values and a good Christian base.  The man she chose is funny, hard working, dedicated to his family, willing to help others and did I mention funny.  The blend of their two personalities has created a lovely young woman of eighteen who shares the same strong will as her parents. We call her granddaughter.  This marriage took a little longer to happen, but it has weathered the test of time.

We always hoped that our children would find the same kind of happiness we’ve experienced in our marriage.  They’ve grown up realizing the importance of having a strong male role model along with a faith in God that will sustain them through all trials and obstacles along the way.  We are truly blessed to have these men in our lives.  Each of them has strong family ties.  They have fantastic work ethics.  They love their wives and children.  They are available to help us when they can.  They have become so much a part of our family that we don’t think of them of in-laws.

I’d like to thank God for giving our daughters husbands that fill the bill completely.  They have accepted our family as theirs.  They’ve inherited us along with our daughters.  They know that they are deeply loved and appreciated by us.  Happy Father’s Day to our two additional sons.

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DADS WHO FIX THINGS

Dads are usually good at fixing things.  We often see them tinkering over a broken down lawn mower or under the hood of a car with a handful of tools.  They may not always know what they’re doing, but there is an ingrown ability to get to the root of a problem and try to find a solution. There are some things that just can’t be fixed by a human dad – like a broken heart, the sadness of depression, the longing for inner peace.

Imagine what our Heavenly Father experiences each and every day and night as His children come to Him with their prayers.  “Give me strength, give me wisdom, give me peace, give me joy.”  Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee! Multiply this by billions and it must sound like the annoying sound of a leaking  faucet. God isn’t like us.  He encourages me to come to Him with all my needs and concerns, but as a parent myself, I know it isn’t easy to hear a child’s constant asking over and over again. It’s like that nagging drip, drip, drip that won’t stop.

For God, who is all powerful, all knowing and always present, it’s a piece of cake.  After all He created the world, all that is in it and all the universe with its contents.  He didn’t need a blueprint.  The designed was in place inside of His head before it ever happened. So when we come to Him with our needs and prayers, He’s glad.  He loves us more than we know and has promised to answer our petitions.

He may not always give in to all our hopes and dreams, like an earthly father mightm just to keep his children quiet.  God will takes care of them as He sees fit, with our best interests in mind. He knows what’s best for us and His plan includes salvation and eternal life for us. As we look forward to Father’s Day this week, don’t neglect saying thank you to our Father, God.  He knows us inside out.  He loves us in spite of our human nature.  He is consistent in His discipline as well as His love.  He never falters. He’s always there. He also happens to be the greatest fixer of lost souls.

“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter;
  we are all the work of your hand.”  Isaiah 64:8

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WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A GOOD DAD?

I know opinions about fatherhood have changed drastically over the past 30 or 40 years and I would like to address that today.  Somehow, maybe as a result of the feminist movement, men have been lowered in value and the role of father has diminished tremendously.  In their attempt to get better paying jobs or achieve higher status, women have placed men below the pedestal that they were once placed on.  Maybe (and I know I’ll get a lot of heat for this) in their attempts to achieve equality with men, women have created a nightmare in the scheme of God’s plan for families. Parenting is a partnership, just like the act of marriage.   When even the smallest portion of the job is taken away or lacks respect, the job loses value.

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” Psalm 103:13

The word, “compassion,” probably isn’t used much today, because the average person is more concerned with self than the needs of others.  A father is expected to be the spiritual leader of the family as well, and their needs must come first. Today’s world is geared to narcissistic values and often the ability to serve others gets lost in that.  Fathers have often been depicted as the buffoon in such television shows as “All in the Family” up to “The Simpsons” and beyond.  It isn’t easy being a good dad in today’s world. 

Let’s look at how God fathers His children.  He loves them unconditionally.  He will continue to care about those who have strayed from Him.  He looks at His children’s forgiven hearts rather than their sin, because of death of His Son, Jesus.  He corrects them, He pro He protects them and has set up a blueprint for each of our lives along with His expectations of us. He demands obedience. That’s a tough act to follow, but it gives us a guide for what God expects of dads.  Let’s pray for their continued presence in their children’s lives – even when they have children of their own.

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GOD, THE FATHER OF ALL

THE PRODIGAL SON RETURNS

Jesus made a point of using parables (earthly stories with a heavenly meaning) to illustrate His Father’s plan for us in our own lives. In the story of the Prodigal Son, we hear of a man who had two sons. This familiar story demonstrates the kind of love God, our heavenly Father, has for His children. It is unconditional, forgiving, unending and perfect.

Parenting is one of the most difficult occupations out there – and yes, it is a full time job.  You’re responsible for another’s life, for the things they learn and become, for their discipline and social skills, for their behavior, what they eat, how they dress, healing their bruises both physical and emotional and that’s just the first year!

By the time they’re old enough to leave the nest, you’ve had a profound influence of good on your children.  They’ve become outstanding citizens, hard workers and responsible adults – yeh, right. For most of us, parenting is done on a wing and a prayer.  It’s a learn-as-you-go process not only for the kids, but the adults as well.  God gives us lots of examples on raising children, but one that imitates His Fatherly love and compassion comes from one of Jesus’ parables.

The story of the prodigal son tells how an irresponsible young man left home and spent all his inheritance (which his dad gave him in advance) on foolish living.  Within a short time he was begging for food and eating the scraps intended for pigs.  It isn’t a pretty story. How often do we squander the inheritance God has so richly blessed us with?  We take it for granted.  We waste it.  We squander all of it without gratitude.

Most fathers would find the story difficult to swallow. The behavior of the son was that of rebelliousness, The ungrateful son should have been punished for his disastrous recklessness.  God, the Father (the prodigal’s dad in the story) welcomes his wayward son with open arms, just as He does for us. We’ve all sinned and deserve His punishment, but thankfully, His love is way beyond human comprehension and He welcomes us back without a blink or any expectations.

As we look forward to celebrating dads this weekend, let’s remember our heavenly Father.  His love spans the breadth of the world.  His love endures forever.  He never stops loving us, even when we abandon Him. He will always remain at our side, even in the toughest of times, because He is the perfect Father.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, GOD!!

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