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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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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STALLED

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ORIGINAL ART & INSPIRATION BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Gentle waves lap up against the base of this bastion,

It seems to be going nowhere – stuck,

Sun blazes down upon it,

Rain beats against it,

Cold and snow integrate into its space,

It stands alone,

Steadfastly it has stood the test of time,

Diligently it holds sway again adversity,

It is no longer filled with laughter and joy,

It sleeps alone,

Within the confines of a relentless river,

This old haven of delight,

Now fades into oblivion,

It lives alone,

Never to feel the caress of that raging water,

Never to feel the gentle tug of the current,

Never to dance with the sky and waltz with the wind,

Alone.

 

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HE KNEW

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MARY’S JOURNEY by Kathy Boecher©

As the days wore on leading up to the Passover Feast, Jesus continued to teach. It seemed to Mary that He was more urgent in His message.  There was so much He wanted His followers to know and yet He knew that His time on earth would soon be over.  She couldn’t bear the thought, but knew in her heart that this was God’s plan.

As the leaders of the Sanhedrin plotted against Him, Jesus sent Peter and John to arrange for the last meal they’d share together. As Jesus traveled back to Jerusalem from Bethany, He knew full well that He was walking into a trap designed to silence Him forever.  Still He went forth, like a great warrior ready for His battle for the redemption of humanity.

It was after dark when He arrived with the others. They entered the upper room where the Passover Feast awaited them. Since it was the custom to wash feet upon entering a house, Jesus prepared the water and started to wash His disciples’ feet.

They had just walked two miles from Bethany, through the rough terrain and into a city now inhabited with thousands.  The streets were cluttered with filth and their sandal-clad feet were now covered with scum.  Still Jesus insisted on washing their feet.  It was an act of a servant, but also another opportunity to teach His followers.  He wanted them to know what was expected of them as His disciples – to care for each other in deepest humility and love.

He then proceeded with the feast – again a mysterious act of submission.  Jesus was offering Himself as the final sacrifice and this was how He was teaching them to honor Him after He left them.

He spoke of the betrayal and denial to come from Judas and Peter.  He knew they wouldn’t be able to stay awake as He prayed in Gethsemane. He knew Peter would cut off the ear of Malchus, the soldier.  He knew His band of brothers would desert Him when He was arrested.  He knew He’d be bound, spat upon, flogged, harassed, humiliated and suffer death on the cross.  He knew and yet He went bravely forward.

He knew that the sacrifice was the only way to fulfill God’s covenant to the world.  Only a lamb without blemish – the lamb of God, Himself – would do.  He knew He was that lamb.

He realized that He was about to face a court of those who hated and feared Him.  They would call Him a heretic, a radical, a fool, a blasphemer.  He would endure the lash as it tore through His flesh.  He knew what was coming.  Yet He went forth willingly.

His mother would weep in the darkness of that night, because she also knew.

 

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THE PLOT THICKENS

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MARY’S JOURNEY By Kathy Boecher©

The plot was well underway from the day they left  Bethany until they reached  Jerusalem.  Mary heard murmurings of it within the crowds.  Some thought Jesus was the Messiah, but there were those that couldn’t believe it.  This was just another prophet to them.  Yes, He performed some pretty spectacular miracles – He walked on water – He changed water into wine – He even fed the crowds with a mere pittance of food, but his man was claiming to be the Son of God.  That was too much to comprehend.

Word spread, dissention mounted and by the time news got to the Sanhedrin, the high priest and others had already determined that this man had to be stopped.  Now all they needed was a reason to have Jesus put to death.  So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”

Caiaphas, the high priest declared, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.”

He  did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

Jesus would be the scapegoat.

Mary watched as Judas began to weaken in his faithfulness to her Son.  She knew there was something different about this man.  She had the feeling that he was more concerned with the money they collected than anything else.  Would Judas be the one to sell her Son out?  Would this end before the work was finished? Time would prove her right.  All the pieces of God’s mysterious puzzle for our redemption, were being set into place.

 

 

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WRITERS’S FUNNIES

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This really isn’t funny, except I often wonder why some novels always seem to start this way?  My grandson, now a senior in high school, would often make a contribution to one of my plays in progress and it started with – It was dark.

Is there something to be said for setting up a story using such a description?  Or it simply an overused circumscribing of the ambience of a location.  To say something is dark, just what are you trying to imply?  What exactly is dark and who is it?  We obviously need to be a little more specific.

For example: The luscious, exquisite, dark chocolate beckoned the appetite of a tall, dark and handsome young man, as he sauntered to the light switch.   He sunk his pearly whites into the sumptuous treat and flipped the switch.   It was no longer dark.

OK, enough rambling.  It was dark!

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DEATH SHALL HAVE NO DOMINION

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And death shall have no dominion.
Dead man naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

Dylan Thomas

When we think about death, our first inclination is to be sad – to grieve for those we lose – to wonder how we will survive without them – to know that they have departed from this earth forever.

As I grow older, I think about death quite often.  I think about my own death – the death of a loved one or dear friend – the emptiness created by that loss.  I think about the relationships built over the years and what it will be like without them.  We want to hang on to this life forever because of that and because we might be afraid of what lies ahead.

Death is a word we like to put away and not think about, but it is inevitable, even for those in the best of health.  Death was not an option until sin entered the world.  We need someone to rescue us from the darkness – a Savior – a Redeemer.  God provided that deliverance for us.

For the Christian, death is not an ending, even though we don’t know for sure what lies ahead.   Our faith in Christ is what leads us to Him.  Faith alone will bring eternal life – in new bodies, free from pain.  There will be no more tears for those who go before us, only for those left behind.  The sadness will linger and eventually be replaced by fond memories of the one who has passed into eternity.  This is our life assurance policy from God Himself,

Death will no longer have dominion over us.

Romans 6:5 “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

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THIS ONE IS FOR JULIE 

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SO LITTLE TIME

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MARY’S JOURNEY by Kathy Boecher

It was like any other day during Passover.  Many had come to give their offerings and make their animal sacrifices. The sound of sheep without blemish and doves cooing, along with chanting voices and general chaos filled the streets.  Every year it was the same thing.  People came from far and wide to do their religious duty in celebration of a long past time when God gave the Jews their freedom from the oppression of Egypt.  For many, it had become a habit – a tradition – a ritual.

Now they were under the rule of the Roman government, who allowed them to worship as they wished, but were brutal in their governing and forms of justice.

Mary may have thought to stay home this year.  It wasn’t necessary for women to make this journey, but her son, Jesus was there.  She knew in her heart that this week would be the culmination of his work here on earth.  She must’ve have felt the pangs of a broken heart as she pondered everything leading up to this week.

Jesus sat at the temple gate, where the treasury was set up and watched as people came, gave their offerings of money and left.  There were those who placed large amounts in the boxes.  They were rich and may have been able to give even more.  Soon a poor widow went forward with her pittance and dropped it in the treasury.

Jesus found another lesson in that moment.  He spoke of how the rich gave from their abundance, while this poor widow gave everything she had, which was only two copper coins.  She gave her offering out of faith that God would continue to provide for, even though she now had nothing more to give.

The religious leadership of the time didn’t take time to help the widows, as had been the custom of old.  They would as soon take advantage of them.  This act of faith was more than the size of her gift.

Mary marveled at Jesus’ insight.  He saw the unrighteous condemnation and indignation towards the poor.  Yet he praised those who had nothing but their faith to rely on.  She could see that the widow was indeed richer than she knew.

 

 

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