BIG GIRLS DO CRY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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WISDOM

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

Dear, Lord,

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

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ENTRANCE TO AUTUMN

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ART BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Give thanks to the Lord for His creation,
In His hands all things came into existence,
The trees perfectly designed and crafted to bring shade, comfort, and shelter,
The seas in all their majesty, blown into place by His breath,
Abundant with life, food for our stomachs and beauty to behold,
The sky is filled with the voice and color of His paintbrush,
A glimmering sunset, a rainbow of promise, clouds to gather the tears of man,
The secret places are His also, He formed great mountains from formless clay,
He carved the crevices from steely granite, penciled in the lines,
Washed the canvas with water, tweaked, punched, chiseled,
He created every living thing,
Formed from nothing into intricately executed works of art,
Giving the first man a likeness of Himself,
And the first woman taken from the ribs of the man,
To forever be a part of him,
God is the Creator of all things,
Let us praise Him and thank Him for His wondrous gifts,
And remind us that He created us to be the caretakers of His creation.

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STILL FOGGY, BUT TRUSTING

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©
Sullied by the hands of time, darkened by its sin,
A world so lost and fallen, is buried deep within,
The broken limbs are withered, the leaves have lost their grip,
The roots are thirsting moisture, a flood or just one drip.

When family trees seem lost and dead, the cycle carries on,
Soon death will overtake it, its life will soon be gone,
We could despair and weaken, all hope might disappear,
But God sends Living Water, to freshen and restore.

His breath gives brand new life to us, His strong arms will provide,                                          His hands He stretched upon the cross, so with Him we’d reside,                                          His Son provides refreshment and brings new life each day,
If we would just remember to get on our knees and pray.

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WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF HUMP DAY

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Apparently the origin of Hump Day occurred while a group of office workers were standing around the water cooler.  Being the middle of the work week, Wednesday was tantamount to getting over the hump of said work week.  Others allude to the fact that it was associated with WWII, when allied troops were forced to fly over the Himalayan mountains on bombing runs against the Japanese at Burma.  Getting “over the hump” was often like a suicide mission in itself because the Japanese pilots would be waiting and ready for the attack.

Our work week begins usually on Monday.  When we get to mid-week we are half way to the end of the week.  We probably don’t do our best work on Monday, because we’ve had two days to rest and recharge.  Maybe we’re in the groove by Tuesday, but it almost takes until the middle of the week to work up to capacity and accomplish something. At that point most people are looking forward to the end of the week.  Instead of getting the work completely done, we start planning for the weekend – again.

If you think about the days of Creation, Wednesday would’ve been the 4th day by today’s calendar.  Up until that point God created day and night – the atmosphere, outer  space and everything above the earth – He divided the water and created land masses which contained vegetation and all things that sprang from seeds to fill the earth.  On the 4th day He made the stars, planets and all things that fill the universe, including the sun and moon which work to track time according to Gods divine plan.

He could’ve rested on that day, but there was still more to do. The rest of Creation meant making inhabitants to fill the land, air and seas.  Birds, fish and other sea creatures were made upon this day.  They did not evolve.  They were created. On the next day He made the beasts and creatures that creep across the earth.  He also created man and gave him dominion over all living things.  There was peace – no killing – no predatory instinct.  On the seventh day God rested.

He took a breather on the seventh day, which He didn’t really need, because He’s God.  I imagine He used that day to look at what He’d accomplished in His Creation and knew that it was good.

When we reach mid-week and our thoughts turn towards the weekend, it might be a good idea to look back at the work we’ve accomplished so far and see what still needs to be done.

 

 

 

 

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IN A FOG

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ART & INSPIRATION FROM PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

The opaque murkiness of an impenetrable sky surrounds you. Your mind swirls with empty thoughts. You feel alone, lost, unapproachable, frightened. There is nothing but an enclosing darkness that makes your mind swim.

A somberness encumbers you – shrouds you, yet causes you to shout out for just a glimmer of light.  Your heart pounds within your chest – beating like the sound of a dusty old grandfather clock. Your ears listen attentively to each and every sound with anticipation, fear, helplessness.

Your eyes plead for just a tiny glimpse of light and then it happens. A small star in the distant sky slowly moves towards you. The light that shines from it, bounces to other heavenly bodies and they too come to life. This one bit of light now encompasses the entire sky and it’s as if someone turned on the switch.

Your eyes open wide. You breathe it all in. You feel safe. Every sense is enlivened by the glory of it. You are released from the mantle of uncertainty. The pall has been lifted. God is in the heavens and He has drawn you to Him.

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EERY MORNING RANDOM THOUGHTS

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This image reflects what I’m seeing from my window this morning.  It’s already 8 AM and a thick haze of fog envelopes my view.  The wind is slightly tickling the branches on the trees so you might think it was cooling, but when I went to move my car I was faced with a giant slap of unbreathable air.  Since I have Asthma I began to cough and sputter. Add to that, I am currently stage managing a musical version of “Sleepy Hollow,” and I live in the small town of Anoka, MN – “the Halloween capitol of the world,” you might believe my thinking is a little cloudy this morning.

Well, I guess it has been for the past few months.  As the years pass, God has given me a good life.  I know that my future is guaranteed both here and in eternity, but lately have been wondering what He wants me to do with the rest of my time here.  I am convinced that work is still in the cards.  Ask most retirees how they manage to live on Social Security and they’ll tell you they continue to work.  So what happens when age begins to catch up with you?

Your memory fails at times – you can’t voice the right words when necessary – your body aches – you take more time to think things through – you can’t keep up the stamina of youth, but you feel you need to contribute to the earning.

Fortunately, as I was looking out at the mire and fog, I came across this Bible passage.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”                       1 Corinthians 13:9-12

This is the “Love” chapter which is usually referenced at weddings, but it can really apply to all times in a persons life.    We might face moments that are cloudy – whether they’re shrouded by indecision or confusion or mixed with unsureness about the future and what is in God’s plan.  We don’t know what lies ahead, but God has promised us, that if we depend on Him, we can be certain it will be excellent.

When clouds cover your future – when you don’t know which way to turn – when you find yourself at a crossroads, remember that God is in control and His promise for your future is certain.

 

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FOLLOWING THE SWEET AROMA

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Oneta Hayes at Sweet Aroma posted a series of questions that might reveal something  about some of you in the blogosphere.  Might take a little time, but should be interesting and maybe even funny.

QUESTIONS

1. Do you make your bed every morning?  I sleep on the couch because I can’t climb the stairs so the answer is yes.  
2. What was your first car?  A 1964 Ford Fairlane which had over two hundred thousand miles on it.  When we finally got rid of it we were given $50 and they had to tow it out of our driveway.
3. What two grocery items do you never run out of?  I shop weekly so I usually need to resupply almost everything.
4. At what age did you start doing your laundry?  When I realized I didn’t have anything clean to wear..  
5. If you could, would you go back to high school?   Never.  I don’t want to go through puberty again.  I didn’t like pimples or cramps.  I think those are the most stressful years until menopause.

6. Can you parallel park in under three moves?  Not sure.  I haven’t had  to for about 20 years.

7. A job you had which people would be shocked to know you once had?  I worked as a vocal coach for Cirque Du Soliel.  My student was to be a ringer from the audience with a typical Minnesotan accent, but he had a heavy Spanish accent mixed with French Canadian.  I discovered part of the problem was the fact that he was wearing a clown nose causing him to have a nasally sound.
8. Do you think aliens are real?  I don’t discount the possibility.  God created the world and all the planets.  If we were to find life on other planets it would be cool.  They might have an answer for world peace.
9. Can you drive a stick shift?  Yes and I still own and drive a car with a stick shift.  It’s an adventure and keeps my knees strong.

10. Guilty TV pleasure?  Tom Sellick  westerns.
11. Tattoos?  None.  I’ve always had visions of an aging, sagging body and that was enough to snuff that idea out quickly.
12. If the world ends do you want to be one of survivors?  I will be a survivo, but not here.
13. Sweet or salty?  Are we talking about men here or food?  
14. Do you enjoy soaking in a nice hot bath?  Yes indeed.  It’s the getting out of the tub that creates problems.
15. Do you consider yourself a strong person?  Physically, no, but spiritually and emotionally I’d say I’m one tough cookie.
16. Something people do that drives you nuts?  Crack their knuckles or don’t look you in the eye when they talk to you.
17. Do you have any birthmarks?  That’s none of your business, but yes.
18. Favorite childhood game?  I liked Hide & Seek, but most of the time I preferred putting on shows in the backyard with kids I’d drag by the shirt collar to perform.  
19. Do you talk to yourself?  No but I hum a lot.
20. Do you like doing jigsaw puzzles? I like doing the corners.
21. Tea or coffee?  No thank you.
22. First thing you remember wanting to be when you grew up?  First it was a brain surgeon, then a writer, now I cut away at my writing.
23. Favorite game now? Jeopardy

Now it’s your turn.  Use the list, copy and paste and fill in your answers.

1. Do you make your bed every morning?

2. What was your first car?
3. What two grocery items do you never run out of?
4. At what age did you start doing your laundry?
5. If you could, would you go back to high school?
6. Can you parallel park in under three moves?
7. A job you had which people would be shocked to know you once had?
8. Do you think aliens are real?
9. Can you drive a stick shift?
10. Guilty TV pleasure?
11. Tattoos?
12. If the world ends do you want to be one of survivors?
13. Sweet or salty?
14. Do you enjoy soaking in a nice hot bath?
15. Do you consider yourself a strong person?
16. Something people do that drives you nuts?
17. Do you have any birthmarks?
18. Favorite childhood game?
19. Do you talk to yourself?
20. Do you like doing jigsaw puzzles?
21. Tea or coffee?
22. First thing you remember wanting to be when you grew up?
23. Favorite game now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WHEN IS TOO MUCH, TOO MUCH?

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When we lived in the heart of Minneapolis, I had a membership at Costco.  I’d drive a long way, spent more than I should’ve on things I normally wouldn’t buy, bought my prescriptions, had photos developed, got ink for my printer, could buy a car if I wanted to and thought it was the ideal place to save money.  My yearly membership fee reminded me of that.

When we moved to small town, Minnesota I discovered there was a Costco only two miles from our house.  I could go there for a free lunch if I wanted by tasting all the samples.  That first year I managed to stock up on things that I still have three years later.  Since we downsized I no longer have room for all the accumulated “good” deals, so I reluctantly failed to renew my membership.  It’s been a couple years now and I feel I’m finally cured of wholesale shopping mania.  It can become an addiction of sorts.

I still have two large jars of coconut oil, just finished off the final can of a giant, economy sized Pam and really miss going through the store and testing all the nifty food choices.  I’m over it though – really.

When you retire there isn’t a huge need for a lot of anything, except perhaps toilet paper.  First you’re purchasing a membership, which puts a strain on your fixed income.  You don’t need as much as you once did since you rarely entertain.  Two elderly people can only consume so much fruit in a week.  The cheesecake which serves at least 40 people would instantly go to my hips, not to mention the gigantic muffins and oversized pies.  Did I mention the baked gods were amazing?

I recently watched an episode of “The Golden Girls,” where the matriarch, Sophia bought a warehouse membership and went berserk buying cases of items she wouldn’t be able to use in two lifetimes.  The episode ended with her making dinner one night.  It was a sardine casserole covered with crunched up oatmeal cookies – a lot of it.

I have a theory that our society is headed for cocooning in the future.  We’re almost there in fact.  We work at home.  We shop and order meals to have them delivered to us.  Our prescriptions can be mailed to us. If you have a warehouse shopping card, you only have to shop once every three years.  You can get an education online as well as go to church.  You can even study the Bible on your phone – there’s an app for that. You won’t have to interact with anyone face to face except for those who deliver things to you.  Praise God I won’t live to see that day.

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WHY GO TO CHURCH?

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We sometimes form our ideas about attending church out of habit, need or willingness.  When we gather or assemble we are doing more than that.  We have been invited to confess our sins, to receive absolution and forgiveness, to give thanks for our blessings and our trials and to praise God for His bounty – even when we are blind to those things.

A church is not merely a building.  The Bible tells us that where two or more are gathered in one place, God is in the midst of them.  What a thought!  To have God right in the middle of the gathering place, sharing His love, forgiveness and peace.  A church is not just a place to go and show others how obedient you are.  It’s a place where you can bring your prayers, worship, praise and thanks to the God of all creation, who knows your heart and loves you.

When we spend the rest of the week in a sin filled world, it’s like a breath of fresh air to step inside God’s house.  You can take an hour or more sharing time with Him first and foremost.  You can hear the truth and gain peace from His Word.  You can share your thoughts with like minded people.  We are not going to a house of worship because we’re so much better than anyone else but because we are in need of a remedy.  Sin is very real and we need to be treated for it on a regular basis.

Jesus is the remedy.  He took on all the sins of the world so that we could have eternal life.  His love is unconditional and requires nothing from us in payment.  He did it all and we come together to give Him the honor He is due.

Going to church will also give you an opportunity to meet others who share your beliefs and those who need encouragement.  As a corporate group we pray for each other, we lift each other up and we see where we are part of something where we are needed.  There is a place for everyone at church.  Come and see!

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COVET?

The word covet isn’t used much today.  Instead we talk about greed, desire, longing, craving, lust or wanting what someone else has that we don’t.  Both the 8th & 9th Commandments are similar because they talk about how our passions get in the way of common sense.  They both refer to coveting.

The ninth refers to a neighbor’s home – his shelter – his inheritance.  Instead of looking at his home as the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence, we should be willing to help him, work beside him, make sacrifices so that he will be able to keep it for his own protection and good.

The tenth goes a little further by including his wife and family, all his worldly goods and anything that he owns.  Our neighbor is not just the guy who lives next door.  He is anyone we do business with, our friends, our co-workers, our leaders, our teachers, everyone we come into contact with on a daily basis.  As followers of God, it’s our responsibility to love everyone even when we don’t agree with them or think we deserve what they possess more than they do.

These ten commandments were establish by God as the Israelites passed through 40 years of traveling through the wilderness and soon forgetting what God had done for them during their deliverance from bondage.   We often act the same way.  As soon as we’re left to our own devices, we’re bound to fail.  God presented theses commandments, carved in stone tablets by His own hand, through His servant Moses.  They aren’t complicated to understand.  Some seem archaic today, because of the circumstances of time has almost obliterated them.  Still for those who love God and depend on His intervention, they are not just guidelines, but LAW.

We’ve seen an increase in crime and blatant misuse of the law of our land.  We’ve also seen the laws of God stomped upon and crushed as they were when Moses came down that mountain.  Each law we have in place in our country was designed for the protection and safety of its citizens. Each of God’s Commands were written to give us the truth of how God wants us to live.  In my book, He certainly deserves our obedience more than anyone.

The words are simple.  We aren’t talking about complicated legal language.  God’s word is written for all of us – not just the rich, the poor, the harassed or broken – everyone – in words that stand the test of time.

In concluding this series on the Ten Commandments, we’re reminded that God is jealous.  He demands our obedience, but He shows mercy to those who love Him and follow His law.  That should send fear into our souls and minds.  Our humanity and original sin will separate us until we die.  Since our God is also loving and full of grace, He has provided a way for us to keep these laws.  Through His Son, Jesus, we’re guaranteed eternal life. Through His Spirit’s work within our hearts and minds, we believe and trust God completely.  The Spirit instills in us the faith necessary to follow Him.

THE NINTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

THE TENTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.


 

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WALLY’S FRIDAY FRIDADDY FUNNY

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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THE TIMES ARE A’CHANGING

Someone once said, “Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.” Change can be good; it can drive us crazy; it can be difficult, but it will happen to everyone. When something disrupts our comfort zone it can really shake us up.

The world is in a constant state of flux. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand how changes in morals and ideas occur, but it just shows us how sneaky the devil is. He gets into our moral fiber and slowly eats away at it until it becomes totally unrecognizable.

Our physical world changes because we, as stewards of our environment have failed to take care of it as God intended.  Laws change – new technology becomes obsolete before we get it out of the box – minds change and are easily bent – our thoughts are on overdrive and change daily.  Change has been a part of our vocabulary since mankind fell from God and tried to manage things on their own.

We all have access to the one thing that never changes – the actual words of God which have been preserved for us in the Bible. If you want consistency, that’s where to go.  God never changes, therefore His words always reman the same.

Thank you, Lord, for giving us your Holy Word; for inspiring men with those words and for keeping it alive even today. Even though our world is constantly changing, your love and your laws never do.  Change the hearts of men to return to you once more.  Amen!

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JUDGE NOT, LEST YE BE JUDGED

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When we bear false witness, lie or spread rumors, alter another person’s reputation with misinformation, bully, cut down or humiliate another human being, we are in fact disobeying the Eighth Commandment.  It also goes against Jesus’ teaching to treat others as we want to be treated.

A young girl is accused of being sexually promiscuous.  There is nothing to back it up, but word spreads like wildfire and soon she is known as the town slut.  Because of careless words and thoughtlessness, she now carries an undeserved label, which will stick to her for years.

A man is about to be voted onto the largest court in the land is accused of sexual harassment.  A Senate Judiciary Committee drags his name through the mud along with that of his accusers.  We sat watching the drama unfold on our TV sets. These people’s reputation will be in question from now on.

A simple lie can mushroom into a giant explosion.  One falsehood can start wars, destroy lives, cause depression, anger and shame.  We see falsehoods spread at lightening speed with the tools of social media.  Are we so bent on making ourselves look better by making others look bad?  Do we accomplish that by creating untrue stories?  What has happened to our core beliefs?

The Commandments from God have been corrupted over time and the simplicity of their meaning has been uprooted.  The Eighth Commandment is expounded on in the book of James in the New Testament.  A whole section is devoted to the evils of the human tongue.

“And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.”  James 3:6 ESV

We’re held accountable to God for the way we treat Him, ourselves and those we interact with.  He’s the only One who can judge what’s in the heart.  We are also to make a point of being of assistance to others and support their good name.

We won’t be completely free of our original sin until after our death.  While we’re part of the world we’re not immune to temptation.  Through the promise of God and the death of His beloved sin, the ransom has been paid, and because of that gift we can ask God to help us to live according to His law and His will.

Maybe it’s time to carve these laws in stone again and place them on display for all the world to see.  They are designed to bring order to our lives.

The Eighth Commandment
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.

 

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A RACE TO NOWHERE

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Time pulls us away from the beauty around us.
We’re in a race to beat the clock.
Each day becomes a battle field between our time here ,
And hope of eternity somewhere else.
Our days are numbered.
The seconds drop like sand in an hour glass,
Swiftly,
Instantly,
Vicariously,
Tumbling through life at an expeditious rate.
So fast that we don’t bother to enjoy what’s in the moment.
Laughter, tears, times of peace and contentment,
Desire, goals, birth and death,
Run right past us at lightening speed,
As we spend ourselves on the marathon of existence.
We need to slow down,
Enjoy the world we live in now,
Even though it’s not perfect, there is much to enjoy.
We have been afforded these years as a time of grace,
A time to be refined and perfected for the next place.
God is still in control of our future and,
He has something amazing planned for each of us,
When we take His hand and follow Him.
As we wait, be assured that He has our best interests in mind.

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“I’M NOT A CROOK!”

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The word STEAL has many meanings.  The obvious one is to take something from another person which you have no right to.  Over time it has been associated with  thievery, identity theft, stealing a kiss, a base, a scene, an idea or something of value.  We revered a thief named Robin Hood, because he stole from the rich and gave to the poor.  Even the stagecoach and bank robbers of the old west have been immortalized. The movies make it look easy.  Our culture seems to accept it.  Stealing can be motivated by need, greed or a desire to succeed.

When I was a child of seven, I pocketed an item in an antique store.  I don’t recall what it was or why I stole it, but I managed to get outside of the store, walk home and make my way to my room without being caught.  Somehow my father discovered the trinket and knew that I’d stolen it.  He marched me back to the store and made me return the item and apologize for stealing it.  I did.

That event played heavily on my conscience for a long time.  How did I think I could get away with breaking God’s law?  How could I bear the weight of being a thief?  My apology was enough to get me off the hook, but I still carried the guilt.  Every time I heard the Seventh Commandment I was convinced that I was condemned to a life in hell.

An incident like that may seem like a childish prank and a life lesson from my dad, but for many this could be the first step to a life of crime.  I thought about my dad and the truth he was trying to give me and I wondered if he had ever stolen anything.  After all, he grew up without a father.  He was the responsible child, because he had suddenly become the head of the house.  In the early 1900s, a woman raising four children by herself would find it more than difficult to provide for her family.  Could desperation lead to stealing a loaf of bread?

In our world today, we hear evidence of corporate theft, where ideas are stolen from other companies to further their own success.  There are those who steal written material from other writers and we call them plagiarists.  There are those in the workplace who steal from their employers and we call them embezzlers. There are those who steal because they feel a certain rush by getting away with it.  They justify their crime and continue doing it.  We call them, addicted to crime.

As with all of our sins against God’s Commandments, this one is designed for us to lead a Godly life and treat others as we would want to be treated.  We also fall short on every one of the laws of God.  Being given too much change by a cashier and not saying anything – taking office supplies from the workplace and using them as your own – taking money out of your child’s piggy bank to pay a bill are all examples of stealing.  Even the very thought of committing such a crime convicts us.

The lesson I learned from my dad that day, was to admit what I had done and ask for forgiveness.  That’s what repentance and restoration are all about.  Then, if we follow God’s will for our lives, with His help, we will be forgiven.  Jesus bought us with His life.  We owe Him so much.  Knowing that He loves us unconditionally is reason enough to follow Him.  He will return again soon to judge the world.

Seventh Commandment
Thou shalt not steal.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God that we may not take our neighbor’s money or goods, nor get them by false ware or dealing, but help him to improve and protect his property and business.

Luther’s Small Catechism

 

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WE WILL NEVER FORGET

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Hidden in the ashes, trampled by the steel
Lay the sons and daughters of that day.
In the years that follow, our hearts may never heal.
We mourn their loss – We try to deal – We turn to God and pray.

Freedom was taken, terror stole our soul,
But America was built for more than this
Strong hearts united, with a mutual goal,
Rebuilding, renewing, restoring the mess.

This day is not forgotten. It’s seared upon our souls.
We put our faith in God’s eternal care.
We trust in His salvation, we know he mends the holes
That come from the destruction in the air.

Our hearts must stay united, no matter how we feel.
We look beyond the prejudice and fears.
Our only hope is Jesus. He is the one who heals.
He erases all our sorrows and wipes away our tears.

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A SMALL DROP RAGES

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A small mass of melting snow trickles gently over rocks and crevices,

Weeping as the tears of God,

Hemorrhaging from each pore within the granite,

Shards of glasslike ice,

Intertwining,

Mingling,

Coexisting,

Fraternizing,

Coming together,

Churning and percolating over each nook and cranny,

Until what once was an insignificant droplet,

Rages into an incomprehensible force.

 

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EVERYONE IS DOING IT

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We’re all in this world together.  We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The simple rules He established for His people, along with the many laws in the book of Leviticus, might seem like impossible demands, but they were designed for our benefit.

Not only are they to be a road map for living faithfully to our God, but also in our relationships with other people.  The Bible was inspired by God’s own voice.  Therefore, we need to take it seriously.  It is true!  We are bound to God’s law to being obedient, yet we have been set free – not by our own doing, but through Jesus perfect sacrifice.

The word “adultery” seems rather archaic in this time of history.  A little over a century ago, during the Victorian Age, it carried a lot more clout than it does today.  That is not to say that this sin did not happen at that time.  You just never heard about it.  It’s been around for a long time.

Unfortunately it seems to becoming common practice – one of those sins that has a million excuses.   Sexual desires, unfaithfulness, sex before marriage, outside of marriage or lust all fall into the category of feeling good – with no concern for the consequences.

The results of this particular sin are countless. Often families are broken apart and children are raised by single parents or multi-parents.  Even if the marriage is restored, there will always be a sense of distrust, shame, loss of self worth in the betrayed and a constant guilt in the mind of the betrayer.

There are many results that occur.  The obvious one of sexually transmitted disease doesn’t seem to mean much anymore.  Was the immediate pleasure worth it?  Those affected by this sin also include those who they interact with daily.  By committing adultery a negative example is being established – everyone is doing it, therefore it must be all right. Reputation is called into question.  If you claim to follow Christ, you have tarnished His name as well.

However the act of adultery is not limited to marriage.  It extends to sins of the heart and mind, just like the fifth commandment.  Maybe the physical act is never committed, but it’s been thought about it.  In a world filled with pornography, X-rated movies, instant gratification, immediate connection to lust and all the other evils that infest, it’s bound to affect everyone at some time or another.  As with any sin of the mind, there will always be the desire for more, which leads to even greater issues.

Alone we cannot possibly keep the law perfectly, because of our sinful nature.  With the crushing of our sins through Jesus’ crucifixion, we have been brought back into favor with God.  With that in mind, all sin has been forgiven, but that doesn’t give us the freedom to remain in our sin.  It’s a daily battle, but God has already won the victory.

Galations 5:24 “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

 

 

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THOU SHALT NOT KILL

THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not kill.

When I learned this commandment at an young age I thought –  here’s one I can keep. A lot of folks think that way.  The average Joe doesn’t go around slaying people.  What I didn’t think about was that we sin against this command every time we have hatred or malice towards one another.  When the thought enters our brain and seeps into the depths of our hearts, we are actually committing murder in the first degree.

I watched an old movie last night called, “A Place in the Sun,” starring Elizabeth Taylor, Shelly Winters and Montgomery Clift. The story unfolds as a young man is faced with the dilemma of what to do about a girl he’s impregnated now that he’s fallen for another who will further his career.  As the story proceeds, we almost feel sorry for the guy, because he’s accused of killing the pregnant girlfriend without any real proof that he did.  I found the story interesting, because as he spoke with a visiting clergyman, he was asked to examine his heart and see if his intentions were to kill her.  The movie ended with him dramatically walking towards the electric chair and his ultimate punishment.  We don’t see movies like that today.  Thesimple thought of killing another is, in God’s eyes, enough to convict us, but we rarely hear about that anymore.

In our world today, we hear about homicides on a daily basis.  The numbers seem to be increasing.  The shattered mind of someone who thinks that killing people will solve his own insecurities – the catatonic thinking of those who have been numbed by the evil one – the drastic attempts taken by one desperate to change the outcome of his mistakes- all have one thing in common.  They have not learned the value of every life that has been created by God.

If this commandment was enforced, we wouldn’t stand a chance of seeing heaven.  I thought I was free and clear until my then 4 year old grandson condemned me of killing a living thing when I stomped on an ant.

The truth is, we disobey this commandment many times each day without even thinking about it.  When we have negative thoughts about another person – when we say things like, “I wish he were dead,” – when we seek revenge or speak badly about someone who has hurt us in some way.  Whenever there is a lack of respect of life or a need to retaliate, we fall short of this commandment.

Abortion or euthanasia are obvious ways of snuffing out the breath of another, but when the value of life is regarded as unimportant, it seems to take no thought at all to take a life. We really need to instill the respect for all living things into our children’s thinking from little on.  Teach them to love – not hate.  Teach them to be patient and understanding with others even when they’ve been hurt by them.  Teach them to pray for those things. Be an example by showing respect for the lives of others yourself.  When they begin school they will be filled with  new ways of thinking.  Prepare them to stand against the world, because Jesus has already conquered it.

As with every one of God’s commandments, we should take them seriously.  It’s obvious that we are incapable of keeping them because we’re all sinful.  We fall short on every one.  Thankfully our God has provided a Savior for us.

 

 

 

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SIGNS OF AUTUMN

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ART & INSPIRATION FROM PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

Sunlight rises through skeletal remnants of trees that once were lush with a canopy of green.

The sunshade turns from hues of chartreuse and emerald to rust, gold and crimson.

The demise of summer is right around the corner.

When the heat soars, so do our tempers. Our level of patience seems to wither along with the flowers. When fall approaches Minnesota, we know that winter isn’t far off and we want to hang on to every precious bit of sunshine and fresh, crisp air.

Soon enough we’ll have to hibernate along with the bears for at least 4 or 5 months of bone chilling cold.

Along with the decreasing temperatures, we have a shortage of sunshine and depression can easily set in. Spring brings a treasure of sun into our lives again.

When the sun shines, we thrive. When Jesus is in our lives we also shine and no amount of difficult weather or circumstances can take that “Son” light away.

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