WHAT’S ON THE OTHER SIDE?

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ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

We do not know what’s waiting beyond the other side,

With faithful hearts believing, a new life will abide,

Our fears and tears will pass away, like drops of gentle rain,

We will be clothed in bodies new, and will no more feel pain,

God loves us all so very much, He gave up His own Son,

To die and pay the ransom from the sins that we have done,

He washed us clean with His own blood, we now are free at last,

The darkness of that other world will soon be gone and past,

We thank you, dear, Lord, Jesus for this most precious prize,

At heaven’s gate we’ll meet you and look you in the eyes,

Your consolation waits for us, beyond that great expanse,

Where broken bodies are made whole, where we will sing and dance,

We’ll live in life eternal, where trouble is unknown,

Come quickly dear, Lord, Jesus and carry us on home.

 

 

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IT IS FINISHED

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MARY’S JOURNEY By Kathy Boecher©

The memories of yesterday were more than any one human being could bear.  Her firstborn Son, subjected to the execution of Roman justice – to the humiliation of this horrible torture – to rejection by His followers and finally death.

She watched as His body writhed with pain and droplets of blood escaped his wounds.  She listened as He spoke His final words – struggling for breath under the burden of His own body.  She responded with tears as Jesus told His disciple, John to take care of her.  She watched in disbelief as the soldiers wagered over his robe.  She trembled with the others as the earth began to shake and the clouds burst forth with tears from God. She died inside when He took His final breath and committed Himself into His Father’s hands in death.

It was over.  The tears wouldn’t stop that next day.  Grief takes time, but she was so confused.  She couldn’t understand any of it.  This child, conceived by God, carried in her womb for nine months, still so young – why?  Why did He have to die in this way?  He wasn’t a criminal and yet He’d been treated as one. Why would God allow such a thing?   This was His Son!  She struggled with these thoughts, but then remembered that this was the way it had to be.  The words of the prophet Isaiah –

“For he grew up before him like a young plant,and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”  Isaiah 53:2-3

Those words must’ve resonated with her as she saw Joseph of Arimathea carry her Son’s body to be buried in his own personal tomb.  This rich man allowed her Son this final gift, but it wouldn’t bring Him back.  They would then prepare His body and lay Him in a cold, dark tomb.

She could barely move from the sorrow she felt.  Her tears continued.  Her boy was dead.

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HEAVENWARD

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ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

What started as a single seed reclining in the earth,

Is now a giant masterpiece with monetary worth,

The time it took to grow this tree encompassed many years,

It suffered many bruises and witnessed many tears,

Some of its limbs were withered, while others brandished life,

Its trunk was strong as iron, yet endured all kinds of strife,

As winds defiled and bent its frame, it seemed that he was lost,

Its roots exposed, its spine now bent from cold and bitter frost,

Still it survived and grew some more and pierced right through the clouds,

Its life went on and does today, evading death’s dark shrouds,

We like that tree continue through life’s discouraging path,

We place our hope in worldly things and we receive God’s wrath,

But when we put our hope in Him our life will never end,

And it will be much greater than our minds can comprehend,

The growth that we experience throughout our earthly days,

Will never reach comparison to what His love purveys,

We lift our eyes to heaven and know what waits beyond,

To see the face of Jesus and know he will respond.

 

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SNAKES IN THE BASEMENT

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My husband grew up in a home that also housed the family business – a funeral home. There were the usual jokes throughout his childhood about people dying to get in there. There were an abundance of stories that would make for hilarious reading.  I know it isn’t really very respectful to find laughter in grief, but sometimes humor is the only way to deal with something like that

The family residence was upstairs and the huge basement was used for fun activities for the children.  They had a full length archery range – room for a toy train set – a science and biology lab and even a place for specimens such as snakes and frogs living in the window well.  There was also a family room in the basement for people to sit and smoke – something folks did a lot of before they found out how bad it was for them.

One day my husband (then about ten) had fed his pet frogs and snakes and left the window well door open.  As guests were gathering in the family room for a quick smoke before the review of their loved one, a few snakes had escaped and slithered their way into their presence.  The room erupted in shock, fear and panic.  That was the end of the science lab.

Whenever we went on a date, we used the company car and would have to call every half hour in case it was needed.

Thankfully my husband never followed in his father’s footsteps. It must have been very difficult to face death on a daily basis, but his family held on to the hope of heaven and the price that was paid for salvation so they were able to deal with the sadness knowing that life really didn’t end at death.

How do we know what lies ahead for us? The Bible is full of references to death, but one that gives me the most confidence is when Jesus spoke these words to the condemned man that was crucified alongside Him. “And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43. Jesus knew this man’s heart at that very moment and promised that his faith would set him free from the pangs of hell.

It seems so simple doesn’t it? That’s because it is!

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WEEKEND FUNNY FOR JULIE

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CAN WE CARRY THE BURDEN?

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MARY’S JOURNEY By Kathy Boecher©

Jesus’ beaten and wounded body was exhausted from continuous beatings.  His flesh was a mass of blood and torn flesh, along with the spit spewing from His accusers mouths. His trek along the Via Dolorosa included carrying the instrument of His death. He’d gone through hours of interrogation, false accusation and bitter pain.  The weight of the cross must’ve been almost more than He could bear.

As Mary stood within the crowd, hearing the violent words, “Crucify Him,” her heart burned. It was only thirty three years since she held His tiny body close to her breast and now it had all come to this.  She couldn’t believe it would end this way, but she knew deep inside her that it had to.

The Roman guards were anxious to get this over with, so they pulled a man from the crowd to carry the cross.  His name was Simon of Cyrene, Lybia.  Many Jews from Cyrene  were part of a community in Jerusalem called the Synagogue of the Freedmen.  Either he was a permanent resident or he had made the journey to attend the Passover Feast.  This man was ordered to carry the cross – to speed things up – to get it over with.

Did Simon do so willingly?  Did he realize who Jesus was? Could he recognize Him as the promised Messiah or was this just another religious fanatic?  Whatever was going through Simon’s mind, he carried the cross to the place of Jesus’ death.

Mark 16:24-26  “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

Tears poured from her eyes as Mary observed this act of kindness towards her Son – the only kind act shown Him in all of this. His disciples had run away in fear.  Only John remained and was the last one for her to lean as they followed the smitten Lamb to the site of His final hours

As we travel to Golgotha with Jesus, it becomes apparent that being a follower of Christ isn’t an easy road.  There will be stumbling blocks along the way, but to live for Jesus will always mean gain for us.  Our eternal life depends on it.

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THE YEARS IN BETWEEN

 

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“There is no fulfillment in things whatsoever. And I think one of the reasons that depression reigns supreme amongst the rich and famous is some of them thought that maybe those things would bring them happiness. But what, in fact, does is having a cause, having a passion. And that’s really what gives life’s true meaning.”

Ben Carson

We start our lives kicking and screaming at our birth and often go out the same way. It’s what happens between those two events that makes the difference. Some are born into great wealth whiles others are met with an abundance of adversity. Some have every opportunity in life while others must struggle constantly for whatever they achieve. Our lives often depend on our circumstances, but when God is included in them, the opportunities are endless.

I’m not saying that being a Christian is going to open every door for us, or that life is going to be so much easier because of it. Chances are you may even have a harder road as a child of God. Your challenges in life may be greater than an unbeliever.  Your accomplishments may seem unimportant.  Your path will be filled with obstacles.

The difference comes with the knowledge that He is in control of every aspect of the time we are given; His love for us lasts forever; He overlooks all our mistakes through the death of His own Son. He remains the same even when we change. In a lifetime of between 70 to 90 years we can make a real mess of things, but we are guaranteed eternity when we place our hope in Him.

Knowing that God has mapped it all out for us – drawn up the blueprints for our lives – has them in His own hands – knows what’s best for us – then those years in between, no matter how long, do make a difference.

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WRITING FUNNIES

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Painfully true, even if it doesn’t come wrapped in a rock.  No wonder so many are self-publishing these days.

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WISDOM

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Job 28:28 “The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”

ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

The hope of every human mind is to gain wisdom,

We labor through our lives in search of it,

We imagine that it will come from learning,

From experience,

From years of practice,

But it doesn’t,

When we reach the end of our days,

We see,

We know,

We have learned,

That wisdom is like the air we breathe,

Like the birth of a child,

Like the first blooms of spring,

Wisdom is a gift,

From God,

To His children,

A precious commodity that only comes,

Through understanding.

Through trial,

Through adversity,

From a fear of God,

Not a fear that makes us tremble,

But one that instills an awe within us,

That fills us with inspiration,

Encouragement,

Hope,

That lifts us up to touch the face of our Creator,

With confidence,

That He will accept us as we are,

His own precious creation.

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FEBRUARY HAS GONE TO THE DOGS

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Some of you know, I love weird and wacky holidays. Who needs a writing prompt?  On February 14th it was Pet Theft Awareness Day.  February 20 was Love Your Pet Day – Yesterday, February 22 was Walking the Dog Day and today we have International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day.

February is one of those months most of us would rather not experience – especially if you live in Minnesota.  We are in the midst of winter doldrums and cabin fever is a way of life not a fun trip up north. February is also the shortest, with only 28 days.  It seems an unnecessary month except for the fact that my husband was born in this month.

Maybe folks are thinking more about getting outside with their pets – walking around the frozen lakes with them, loving them, being aware that there are those out there who want to steal them, and feeding them a luscious dog biscuit.

My dog isn’t especially fond of dog biscuits.  He’d rather eat a roll of paper towels or toilet paper.  I think he needs more fiber in his diet.  He is, however, experiencing cabin fever.  With each trip outside, he sniffs the air for unusual scents, searches out squirrels and cats.  Recently a feral cat was asleep in the middle of our back yard.  The dog saw him and took advantage of the opportunity to introduce himself in a most inappropriate way.  He jumped on the sleeping cat, who naturally responded with hisses and screeching.  A fight ensued without injury to either animal.  It did result in a new desire to find and subdue anything new in our yard.

Our pets can give us much pleasure, unconditional love and cause us great anxiety and frustration as well, but we love them just the same.  After all, there’s a day for that too.

15965366_10202461102565910_8752816940329042442_n  My dog, Gage.

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WRITING FUNNIES

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They say some of the best writing comes from personal experience.  I guess this would apply.

 

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