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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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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GOD IS IN CONTROL

ORIGINAL ART & INSPIRATION BY KATHY BOECHER©

Our lives are like a thin, frayed thread,

Our thoughts are filled with fear and dread,

The tines of life like wildfire spread,

We even wish that we were dead,

He never will let go.

Yet God would not release His hold,

He held us tightly in the fold,

To teach us to be strong and bold,

He never let His love grow cold,

He never will let go.

His roots run deep, His hold is strong,

He keeps us where we now belong,

He turns us right when we do wrong,

His Word is like a lovely song,

He never will let go.

He pulls us out of danger’s way,

He gives us light in each dark day,

He leads us back when we would stray,

He even teaches us to pray,

God never will let go.

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BEING EXCLUSIVE SHOULD BE INCLUSIVE

Being a Christian is not being part of an exclusive group of people who have received favor from God. Jesus tells us that His kingdom is in heaven, but His mission on earth was to redeem those who were lostTOn sin. That, to me, indicates that He came to save everyone. He ministered to all people, from various walks of life as well as those who others considered to be “low-lifes.” Why can’t we be more like He was? Well, for one thing, He’s God and we aren’t. However, His life is to be an example for us to follow. Still, everyday we see injustice, unfair treatment, bizarre behavior, immorality, hate, bigotry and on and on. We’ve forgotten how to talk to each other as well as how to listen to one another. In our exclusiveness, we’ve turned people away from Christ’s everlasting message, rather than bringing the good news to their attention.

We’ve all had experiences where we place our trust in a close knit group of people. For some it’s a group we share coffee and conversation with. For some it can mean being part of a clique or gang that makes you feel important. In the world of business, your success is a measure of your worth. In regard to your popularity, it can be your sense of humor, your zest for life, your ability to manage more than the average person that gets attention. There is even a sort of hierarchy in the church that poses that same works oriented value on people, In God’s eyes, we’re all the same. Even though we don’t deserve to be in His inner circle, every human life has the same opportunity to be part of it.

Have you ever heard Jesus differentiate among people? He definitely criticized what was happening with the leadership of the church, because it was going against God’s Word. He associated with all kinds of people, from the very rich to those who had lived in poverty throughout their existence. He conversed with prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers, princes, soldiers – people from every walk of life. His mission was not to save one exclusive group over another. He came to save all of humanity.

That is the good news we all need to hear right now. Our hearts are breaking in so many ways, but God loves us so much that He gave His life for us. He then overcame death and resurrected as a foreshadowing of what we will experience in the end. In order to come together again, we must be willing to talk and to listen. Those key elements to problem solving have been underused for a long time. Instead we often feel our voice is the only one worth mentioning. Instead we should be following the commandment that Jesus gave us.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34 ESV

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FIRE & BLOOD IN THE STREETS

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

This is a rerun of a post written on 5/29/2010 during another time of protest and injustice.

Pools of crimson stain the streets.

People running, hiding, covering themselves and those near them,

Fear ensues, then pain, followed by anger and rage,

Faces and heads shrouded in black,

Too cowardly to show themselves,

Misdirected,

Searching,

Groping for something to believe in,

Something to hang on to,

Do they find peace in causing others pain or in ending lives?

Where is the righteousness?

Blood flows from a beaten, smitten corpse,

Hanging on an instrument of torture,

This One not taking life, but giving it through His own precious blood.

That is righteousness, bought and paid for the ugliest of us.

Refreshing, cleansing rain falls softly on an eager earth,

Thirsting for relief and longing for renewal and rebirth.

The tears of God bring respite for the dying soul,

He gave His only Son to fill a gaping hole,

The hole that widens every day,

When we forget to turn to Him and pray,

As branches dance and lightening fills the air,

I think of Him who takes away each care.

We see the need for God’s power to inspire us once again,

To cleanse our hearts and wash our souls in His refreshing rain.

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TRANSFORMATION

The idea of transformation is tough for most of us. We feel comfortable in our own skin. Change isn’t easy. In fact, many of us are satisfied to live the same every day, without ever taking chances, risks or any alteration in behavior , because they want no complications along the way.

We’re exposed to advertising that urges us to dress to kill, reshape our bodies, shop until we drop, climb the ladder of success, do the unthinkable. The world lures us into believing that we deserve the best. All we need to do is step on someone else’s toes on your way. Competition has sadly become the norm.

Then we notice something else about our world. It’s filled with injustice, unfair treatment and all sorts of inhumane behavior. Our streets become battlefields. Our neighborhoods become territories for drug lords, looters, violence. Our homes are breeding grounds turning out children without parents. Morality seems to hit an all time low, but next week it will sink even lower. We try to find the answers to all of the insanity and it leads us to believe there is no answer.

There is an answer. We won’t find it in the news stories that break each day. It’s not available online to be delivered to your door for a price. It won’t show up in universities, churches or places of great knowlege. Our transformation occurred when we were redeemed by Jesus and His precious blood. He took away the ugly part of us – making us acceptable to His Holy Father. Thus our souls were washed clean. We know we will inherit the keys to paradise and that death will have no dominion over us ever again.

Therefore, all that we do in this world will be affected by that transformation. We can make life decisions based on God’s plan for us. We can trust in His perfect direction. That doesn’t mean there won’t be problems. In fact, we may expect more than our share of them. Yet we no longer dispair in those difficulties. We continue being works in progress. Part of that restoration requires us to trust in God’s will. He promises to give us a way out. We can push forward, even in a world filled with ugliness. We can stand united in Christ who has given us the victory.

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A STROLL THROUGH TOWN – A GALLERY

An artist on the move will find interesting locations and take them into his vision. He will look at lights and shadows, contrast, clarity, and focus in on the subject matter. Like a photographer, he can replicate an image. As an artist he can take it a step further and make it a part of himself. Creativity, intensity, grasp for all that God has laid before him, the artist will pour his heart into the work.

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DOES NEW LIFE COME FROM A COCOON?

Remember the old movie, “Cocoon?” It’s listed as science fiction because some of the main characters were aliens that had been frozen in time in large cocoons and dropped into the ocean for future observation. Years later the pods are retrieved and placed in a swimming pool until they can again be transported to their original planet. A group of elderly people begin swimming in the pool and are transformed. Their aging bodies are invigorated and their youth returns. This movie was released in 1985, with notable actors like Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy and Gwen Verdon. For a time these elderly folks are experiencing new life. When the spaceship returns to carry off the cocoons, they offer to take the old fogies back with them. Some decide to go while others cling to life as they know it.

At the time of its release, I remember thinking that this must be what it’s like to get old and dream of going to heaven. Though it was just a story, appealing to a wide audience, I wasn’t thinking about death at the time. My life was just beginning. My husband was on the cusp of building a business. I was busy raising three growing youngsters and had just returned to college to take some theatre courses which I could use as a drama instructor. We were at the middle of our existence. Old age wasn’t even a thought.

We all go through a metamorphous of sorts through our lives. When we reach middle age we look forward rather than back. When we reach retirement, we might think that all we can do is look back at our past – our accomplishments and failures – our decisions, good or bad. Each stage in life is a step in our transformation process. As we get closer to the end of it, we realize that our hope doesn’t lie in this place – this time – the people we love. Our hope is in the future in a place that provides for all our needs, takes away all our pain and gives us complete peace..

As Christians, we believe that our time on earth is a time of grace, gifted to us by our Creator. It’s an opportunity for us to share the good news of God’s future plans for us. This message isn’t exclusive to Christians, because Jesus came for everyone. God’s inspired words in the Bible are His words and they provide us with the key to living forever.

The thought of dying comes to us when we grow older. We don’t relish the thought of leaving loved ones behind. We don’t want to leave any unfinished business. However, death will come to all of us. It’s a fact of that we will all face. When we have faith that our Almighty God has provided us with our salvation, the thought of heaven is eternal paradise.

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A BRIDGE TO SOMEWHERE

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A tattered bridge seemingly leads to nowhere,

It swings precariously over a raging river of trouble,

An ominous, green cast shrouds the waters,

In the haze of life’s existence,

We could despair,

We could fall,

We could hang on for dear life,

Or we could let go and rest,

In the powerful consolation,

Of God and His Holy Word,

There is always hope,

Never give up.

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I SMILE BECAUSE I’M HAPPY!

The photo I’ve chosen today is representaive of what’s going on in my life right now. It shows that joy can’t be hidden, even if the result is difficult for some to look at. You can’t stop joy from overflowing, when your heart is full of it. We’ve had one week since sharing the news of the Gospel and God’s redeeming grace and already there have been many attempts to take away the excitement – the freedom – the unshackling of the hold of sin. The world has seen to that. Still, as believers in Jesus and His mission on earth as Son of Man as well as Son of God, we should be bubbling over with enthusiasm for the amazing gift we’ve been given.

No amount of negative thinking, shame or guilt is going to blot out the joy unless we allow it to. My advice to everyone who wants to approach the rest of their lives with a positive attitude, is to turn to the Savior of the World. Jesus took on our guilt. He carried our shame to the cross. He buried our sins in the grave. He did that for every human life that ever existed or will come to be. That isn’t just good news for a few. It’s meant for all. How can one not be joyful about such a confidently completed mission?

Each day we drift away from that great news, we start to doubt what was done for us – what was sacrificed on our behalf – how nothing is required from us – just an unconditional love that cannot be described in human terms.

Our souls have been cleansed by the Son of God. We will continue to experience setbacks through our lives, but we have the promise of eternity in paradise, where our aging bodies will be restored to perfection. We are assured of life for eternity, free from sin and temptation and in divine communion with our Maker. Sing for joy and don’t stop!

ALLELUIAH! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

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C’MON MAY FLOWERS

ART & INSPIRATION FROM KATHY BOECHER

It’s been a week of April showers and as my mom used to say, “April showers bring May flowers.” I started painting flowers one summer when my allergies were so bad, I couldn’t venture into my garden. I’m not nearly as inspired as my husband is to paint. I’d rather paint with words, but some days you need to broaden your horizons. Trying something we aren’t in the habit of doing – walking in a different neighborhood – venturing beyond the safety of our own backyard – stepping outside the box – can seem forboding to some while exciting to others. Somewhere in between there has to be a happy medium.

Taking that first step into the unknown is the hardest. Anytime we’re called upon to do something we’ve never done before, or are challenged to explore different avenues it can be downright scary. But even as we age, there is no end to the discoveries we are yet to experience. By passing them by, we’re losing an opportunity. Try something new today!

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NEW LIFE

ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

The dark days of winter have finally passed, a new day awakes with the sun,

The earth now gives way to the greening of grass, the squirrels are all on the run,

A robin is perched on a sweet budding branch, a cardinal sings beautiful tunes,

A newly tilled field lies awaiting a chance, to enjoy the sun’s long afternoons,

From dormant, dead soil, springs new life once again, sweet flowers explode in the rain,

The water from God benefits the terrain, and gives all  that it needs to sustain,

The process of life, makes us blessed like the earth, with seasons of unending bliss,

The story begins at the time of our birth, there are days that we’d rather dismiss,

We cannot escape trouble, it’s part of the plan, to test and refine us each day,

To strengthen our growth in life’s tenuous span, to trust in our God as we pray,

No more will we lay in that backbreaking ground, a new life awaits in the end,

Upon our last day, we’ll inherit a crown, given by our sweet Jesus, our friend.

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EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

It’s been less than a week since we ushered in Easter and praised God for conquering death so we would be guaranteed eternal life. How’s that working for you? How soon we forget the glorious message of hope and promise. Life somehow gets in the way, doesn’t it?

We soon lose the afterglow of Easter, because of those unexpected challenges. Maybe your car breaks down, or worse yet, you are involved in a costly accident. Maybe you stumble and break a bone. You might find yourself in a hospital bed fighting for your life. You get news that someone you love has passed away. You lose your job. A relationship is bitterly ended. You may have a series of unwanted events that pop up one after the other. Those little incidents begin to eat away at your savings and suddenly you’re overwhelmed.

Life was never guaranteed to be perfect. Jesus never made any claims to eliminate all our earthly problems. He never promised a rose garden or one without weeds. He wasn’t commissioned to take on the weight of the sin of the world, in order to make our lives a piece of cake. Remember, He said His kingdom was not of this world. Jesus purpose was to make us right with His Father again – sinless and prepared for eternal life.

So, does that mean we’re going to sail through the rest of our lives with no problems? Does it mean that because Jesus paid the price, we don’t have any obligation to being thankful and expressing it through how we treat others? Certainly Jesus paid for all the sins of every man. He also gives us the free will to decide whether we believe He did so. Nothing WE could’ve done would’ve been sufficient.

So do we simply put on a happy face and accept all our earthly problems? Most people would think we were a little crazy if we walked around with a smile on our face all the time. Of course no one would know if we were smiling right now anyway. Do you simply give up or do you keep plugging away, because you might make a difference in another person’s life? I personally prefer to think that God has allowed me to hang around for these extra years for a reason. He will lead me through them.

Life goes on until we die and then it goes on in a much better place. We have that promise from God Himself.

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APRIL SHOWERS

We’ve had a lovely week of spring weather up here in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. Sunday, being Easter was filled with sunshine and temperatures reaching 80 degrees. The gathering time was spent outdoors for the most part, giving way to great conversation and fellowship. By Tuesday, the sun was hiding and torrents of rain fell from heaven. It was as if the tears of God were nourishing every little blade of grass and filling the cups of newly sprung crocus plants. It has been off and on raining for the past two days. Even though it’s raining, you can almost see the world coming to life again.

My husband and I have talked a lot lately about our own personal quiet places, where we can go and talk on a personal level with our Creator. He has always been in love with the outdoors, while I prefer the serenity of the home. I prefer not venturing out into the unknown. Some of my most creative times have occurred right in my own backyard.

About thirty years ago I began a project which consumed most of my waking hours. I began the process of terracing our front yard into a splendid garden. The adventure was often precarious, since it took place on a spanse of two city lots on a very steep hill. Bit by bit and plant by plant, I would cut through the soil and pull all invaders from within. I’d add rock barriers for each terrace and cedar beams as well to frame a patch of daisies or lilies. It became my place of serenity for a long time. In those hours of mindless work, I was coming up with plots for new plays or stories. I could develop the characters with each shovel full of dirt that I turned.

At times the work became more consuming than relaxing. Weeds reared their ugly heads and their tenacious roots went deep. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I could pull a complete intruder in one entire piece My neighbors would watch intently as I traversed across that hill, just waiting for a mistep and an unplanned sommersault. I was covered from head to toe with dirty soil. My gloved hands were filled with holes and had far outlived their usefulness. Passers by would encounter weeds flying through the air with the greatest of ease, and a crazy woman with a straw hat and masked face. I scared off a number of them.

We all have places that beckon to us. They call our name and beg us to become a part of them. For me, it has been my garden. The past few years have produced weakened lungs and continuous allergies, making it nearly impossible to work a garden as it should be. My aging years have taken control of my ability to traverse across anything. Weeds don’t bother me as much anymore, since it’s too hard to get out there and pull them out. My spirit is still willing, but unfortunately, my flesh is weak. I still desire time working in the garden, but realize I have limitations now.

Fortunately, I can still find time to be with my Creator in quiet conversation no matter where I am. Looking out my window and surveying the flowers that persist right alongside the weeds, has taken on a new meaning. I don’t feel the need to fight off trespassers, because I know that it’s all been done for me. The weeds will continue to grow as long as life exists, but I’m convinced that our life never ends. We will flourish when death takes us to our heavenly home.

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MY SHEPHERD, MY KING

RELIEF WOOD SCULPTURE AT BAY PINES, FLORIDA LUTHERAN CHURCH DONE BY PAUL BOECHER ©

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Clouds ripple across brilliant orange skies,

Gigantic cumuli tower over the others with majesty and power,

Below them a gathering of tiny puffs  resembling a flock of reluctant sheep,

They herd up as if knowing this is what expected of them,

Following the leader, the shepherd,

Light filters through the mass of white,

Wrapping its warmth and radiant healing upon them,

The sky shows God’s love and compassion for these wandering creatures,

It radiates down to His wayward sheep and leads them,

Cutting through granite mountain sides,

Beside still waters,

Into lush pastures,

Where danger lurks, but cannot penetrate,

The protection of the Shepherd.

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WERE YOU THERE?

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Were you there when the universe was formed,
Did you watch as God crushed through solid rock,
And made majestic mountains,
Did you hear the sound of His breath,
As He filled the sea with fish,
Did you see His finger,
As it carved rivers, lakes and seas,
Were you witness to His creation,
To His bounty of vegetation and life,
To His perfect design,
To His loving attention to detail,
Were you there when he took the dust of the earth,
And made a human being,
With a heart, mind, synchronized body,
Perfect in every way,
And later created a helper for that man,
From the man himself,
His plan has never nor will ever,
Be matched,
We were not there at the start,
But believing in Him,
We will be with Him at the end,

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DAYS OF THE YEAR – APRIL 7, 2021

I love checking out all the weird holiday celebrated each day. Today is not only National Beer Day, Coffee Cake Day and No Housework Day, but it happens to World Health Day, which kind of nullifies the three above celebrations. I’m not much of a beer drinker, so that doesn’t bother me much, but I do love coffee cake and the idea of no housework is likewise appealing. To add to the mix we have The Day of Hope and Making the First Move Day. I am almost always filled with hope, though I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t have an off day in that area. Making the first move – if that means showing someone you care about them, I’m all for it.

So there you have it folks – another day in the books. If nothing else, it gives me something to write about each day.

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VARIANTS, MUTANTS & VACCINES, OH MY!

Things have been a little crazy for the past year or more. We’re all ready to throw in the towel on all this COVID19 invasion. Things are beginning to open up at a record pace. Gotta get all those summer events scheduled and bringing in the bacon again. Certainly the bars need to open up. Happy hour via the internet is just not the same. Restaurants, schools, theatres, concerts, all the stuff that’s been in suspended animation for more than twelve months is opening up again. Not too sure how I feel about that.

I’ve had both of my vaccinations. I had a reaction about a week after the first shot. I’m alway delayed in my reactions to things. I had a terrible headache, body aches and was nauseated. The second shot seemed like a breeze. I had it early in the day so was able to hold two Zoom meetings without any trouble. The next day I slept for eight hours. So I thought that was my reaction to the second. However, two weeks later, I’ve developed all kinds of side effecs. I’m not sure it’s from the vaccination or my yearly allergies coming back at full force. Whatever it is, I’m coughing, sneezing, itchy and in need of some vitamin D.

This morning I heard on the news (I don’t generally watch the news anymore for obvious reasons) that variants of COVID19 are popping up all over the United States and that the drug companies are scrambling to adjust the vaccines to cover all those mutations. You have to hand it to that crummy little germ. It’s a fighter. If one thing doesn’t work, they step up to the plate and offer another version of themselves. Too bad we don’t have the same ability to fight like that.

So todayI sit at my computer. I’m supposed to attend an in person meeting, but don’t want to cough on everyone. The need to gather is at an all time high. We need each other more than anything. Maybe this push to get things back to normal isn’t such a great idea after all.

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SUPERNATURAL SPIRITUALITY


We live in a world that is filled with a keen interest in the supernatural. There are those who search out the spirits of those who have passed away – those searching for miracles – those who seek divine intervention – those who search in all the wrong places for the bizarre and evil. Most spirituality comes from this need to figure out a world we don’t understand and come to grips with it in our own way, by inwardly searching for peace.

Our Christian faith is based upon a powerful God that expects us to be obedient, knowing we’re incapable of doing so, yet so loving that He took on human flesh to save us from eternal death. It tells of the conception of a virgin by the Holy Spirit. A pregnancy that appeared normal but was anything but. A life of poverty and oppression, a supernatural visit by the villain, Satan and the power of this man/God to defeat Him with the Word. Then the persecution of the same man/God – torture, humiliation, mockery and death. Miraculous resurrection of a dead man, free of all evidencde of His humiliation except for the wounds in His hands, feet and side. Eventually this same person will miraculously rise into heaven escorted by angels. There is nothing normal about the story. It is the most supernatural event in human history and we believe it because it’s true.

The average person, living in a world of chaos and confusion, thinks of this as nonsense. They refuse to believe the truth, because they feel the need to be in control of their own destiny. The act of salvation without any kind of payment is illogical, foolish and impossible for the rational mind. The only payment expected of us is our obedience to the Almighty and Everlasting God. That obedience and our gratitude for what He’s done will lead to a life filled with caring for others, helping them through problems, standing at their deathbed and encouraging them through difficult life situations, healing broken hearts and bringing them peace and joy.

The simplicity of letting God take the controls is a difficult concept for the majority of people today. Still our God invites us to cast our burdens on Him. He tells us to ask, seek and find – to be silent and let Him complete the work He’s started. As we push forward knowing that He has paid the ultimate price for our redemption, give Him praise and thanksgiving. His story has stood the test of time and will continue until this world ends. Then rejoice with me at the fact that heaven awaits and we will live forever.

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GALLERY – WATER

Sheets of frozen shards slice through the mountain,

On its path, the ice turns into glistening, fresh, cool water,

Crashing,

Rolling over jagged rock,

Bubbling and steaming,

As it falls to still waters below,

The finger of God,

Pushing it ever forward,

Cutting through granite,

With only His touch,

As in days of old,

When waters poured down,

And raised up from the ground,

Flooding the entire earth,

Only a few survivors,

But enough to begin again,

In that flood,

God spilled His tears,

Over a fallen world,

But didn’t give up on it,

He provided a way out,

Carving new channels,

Scenic bluffs,

Canyons and pathways,

Filling the old,

with new,

Renewal,

Restoration,

Revival,

Rebirth,

A new covenant,

Never again would the world,

Be destroyed by water.

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EASTER AFTERGLOW

They didn’t don their Converse shoes, but some high speed sandals led Peter and John to the tomb that Easter morning. The one who had been deemed the “rock,” according to his master and the one whom the master loved, pumped up the power and ran an unsurpassable race to find out what happened to the stolen body of Jesus. I cannot imagine that this was their first thought – that someone had carried the dead body off. Jesus made no bones about what was about to happen to Him, before the horrible events unfolded in the Garden of Gethsemane. He said He would rise from the dead. Yet when you think of the reality of the situation, this undoubtedly would’ve been my first inclination too. None of this past three years made sense from a human standpoint. Yet Jesus in His divine patience knew that eventually His followers would get the message. We humans are like that. Sometimes it takes a while to sink in.

It didn’t matter who got to the tomb first. It wasn’t a competition anyway. Jesus didn’t show favoritism to anyone. When He conquered death, He did so for every single human life that was, is and will be. He didn’t differentiate between races, background, past sins. He died for all people. He took the weight of our iniquities and carried them to the cross. Then buried them in a sealed tomb and on the third day, rose in victory over the devil.

Now it’s our mission to put on our own racing shoes and shout the good news to everyone. We could sit back and wallow in the aferflow of family gatherings, beautiful weather, chocolate bunnies and egg bake, but this news saved the world from eternal death. Shout it on the mountains. Go to every hill and dale. Let everyone know that we no longer need to fear death. Our sins have been forgiven – once and for all.

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THE MESSIAH IS HERE – THE BEGINNING

ALL MANKIND

When I began writing this series, I was on a personal search for what it must’ve been like to witness Jesus as He preached, healed, a professed love and peace, lived and died as a man but was also God. I tried to put myself in the shoes of some of those who walked along with Him, sat beside Him, poured out their hearts to Him. The result is merely fictional, but it got me to thinking that the true story of Jesus is written as a witness to what happened and there is really no need to fabricate anything else. The story is pure, honest, clean and truth.

As the sun rose on that first Resurrection Sunday, hearts were filled with joy at the Savior’s return from death. He was not just a man. He is God in the flesh. He conquered death and because of that, all mankind is assured eternal life. The grip of sin has been unshackled. We no longer live as slaves to it. Jesus paid the price. We gain the victory. That’s the best love story ever. Dust off your Bible and ransack it. Search the scriptures. All you’ll ever need for life on earth and a future in heaven is God’s eye witness account.

CHRIST IS RISEN – HE’S RISEN INDEED

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