ONE BAD POLITICIAN

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When we look at our politicians today, what do we see?  We’re pounded with stories of indiscretion, sexual harassment, corruption, undignified behavior and evil occurring all over the place. We’ve the ‘benefit’ of receiving all this juicy gossip daily – even taking precedence over a terrorist attempt in NYC.  The news media has become nothing more than sensationalism and pulp fiction at its worse.

In Jesus time, there was corruption in government, but it wasn’t restricted to politics.  The common folks of that time had better things to do than read twitter accounts, listen to tainted, one sided reports.  They didn’t care what happened in that realm.  They were too busy eeking out a living and trying to get through another day without dying.

However, there were some really bad dudes running the country at the time of Jesus’ birth.  Herod was charismatic, ruthless, paranoid and maniacal. What a guy!Born an Edomite, he was a Jew like his subjects. In his lifetime he built Judaea into a thriving metropolis. One of his projects was Masada, a heavily protected fortress.

He was one of the movers and shakers of his day, but he had a dark side. He had 10 wives, one which he killed in a jealous rage. He had two of his sons murdered, because he feared they were plotting to kill him. The man had no real.  It had been vacuumed up like someone falling into quicksand.

The Jews had been promised by the government that they could worship outside of the Roman religions, but they had to pay for the privilege. Herod taxed them heavily and used the revenue for his massive construction plans. We all know what happened when he found out that another King was born to take his place. The murder of the innocents had to be one of the most horrific events of this time period.

Yet our Savior was born and spared by God, because He had a mission for the baby, Jesus.  It was the perfect point in history for Him to be born.  The census would lead His family to the city of Bethlehem (the city of King David) to fulfill another prophecy about the Messiah’s birthplace.

King, Jesus will come again and rule with power unseen by humankind.  He defeated our greatest enemy.  He conquered death and gave all who believe in Him, eternal life.  He is a just king – a loving king – One who took our place so we wouldn’t never again suffer the chains of sin or death.

As we look at our own political scene, sin is alive and well.  The devil still roams the earth and shoots his evil darts at us daily. He lives in Washington.  He works in the everyday world as well.  He entices, lures and tempts us constantly.

When we walk with Jesus, we can be assured that He has chosen a perfect place for us.  He is our perfect ruler and He has chosen us to be part of His eternal kingdom.

 

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GOD’S WORD SUSTAINS

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

When troubles surround me, and fear lies within,

When anxious thoughts linger and turn me to sin,

There’s one thing to count on, of that I am sure,

My God is there with me, His love will endure,

 

Your Word, Lord, is perfect. Its teachings are true,

By faith we accept it, not by what we do,

Your words can give strength to our weak minds each day,

Our path is made straight by the things that you say,

You reach out your hand and you touch me with love,

I long for the day when I see you above.

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OUR CHRISTMAS ANGEL

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45 years ago, I’d reached the end of my third pregnancy.  We were in the center of one of Wisconsin’s common snow storms.  I knew it wouldn’t be long before this little one would be born.  It took some time to wake my husband, who was in one of those deep sleeps – the kind that happens when you’ve been anticipating something and can’t sleep and when you do, you can’t wake up.  I shook him a few times – got our other two dressed in their snowsuits and tried again.  At last he realized I was in labor.

We hustled the children off to our neighbors and sped to the hospital.  We did not know the gender of our soon-to-be born child.  We were in one of those many stages of life, when money was short and uncertainty about the future ran rampant.  Of course, being a woman, I am also a worrier.  I think that attribute is part of being a mother too.  I guess someone in the family has to do it.

When I originally became pregnant, I was approaching my 30th birthday.  At that time, it was unusual for women to bear children beyond their twenties.  Our future was unsure.  We had two children already.  Adding another mouth to feed seemed impossible.  My husband, being the rock that he is, tried to convince me that everything would be fine and that God would always provide for us.  I continued to worry.

When the sweet, baby girl was born with a complete head of hair, all her fingers and toes and perfect in every way, I knew that everything would be fine.  The worries would continue and still do.  Being a mom is a lifetime experience which requires you to be concerned about your children until the day that you die.

Our Christmas angel arrived home a couple days later with part of her umbilical cord still attached.  Our son seemed very interested in that phenomenon.  We named our new daughter, Joy, Noel.  The following days were filled with visitors, lots of hugs and attention to this new little bundle.  It was nearing Christmas and we were leading up to another birthday celebration – Jesus’ birthday.

As we sang the many familiar carols, our son seemed puzzled. When we returned from church he said, “We were singing about my baby sister tonight, weren’t we?”  I thought it had something to do with her name and singing about joy, but he continued, “Remember the song, Oh, come all ye faithful?”

We sang the first verse together:

Oh, come, all ye faithful,
Triumphantly sing;
Come, see in the manger
Our Savior and King
To Bethlehem hasten
With joyful accord;
Oh, come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord!

“See, mom,” he said.  “It’s talking about going to Bethlehem with Joy, full of cord.”

That delightful memory, mingled with the many to come, seems to pop up every year as we sing, “Oh, come all Ye Faithful.”  Our daughter continues to be our Christmas angel.  She grew into a wonderful woman and also had a child born in December.  Our joy has been doubled through both of them.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TO MY BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS ANGEL, JOY!

 

 

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ADVENT FUNNIES

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BRIGHT MORNING STAR

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He was one of the most dazzling of God’s creation. He was called, Lucifer,  the son of the morning; the day star.  He was there at the beginning – he’s been around through history and still exists today.  He has charisma – he’s flashy and intriguing – he has knowledge, power, good looks, but he made one huge mistake – He thought he was better than God.  Because of his disobedience, he was thrown out of heaven and condemned to hell for eternity.  His one goal in life is to get back at God – to take God down at all costs. He also wants to bring us with Lucifer into the fiery furnace of eternal death.

I wonder what was going through his mind during that first Christmas.  He knew Jesus would come someday.  It was all part of God’s promise.  He may have been recalling the words, “He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  He was then sentenced to a life outside of heaven where he would roam aimlessly.

God didn’t make it easy for him, but the devil still had his groupies – the ones who followed him. They’d become so conditioned to the lies, the disobedience, the battle for souls, that it was a common goal amongst them.  However, they were doomed to the same fate; HELL!  So, because they had no hope, they wanted everyone to suffer along with them. Misery loves company, I guess.

So on that first Christmas, when God’s promise was being fulfilled, can you imagine how Satan and his minions felt.  It was like the good guy coming to wipe out the bad guys.  His first thought must’ve been to get out of town.  He was totally aware of God’s power.

We are a lot like him when it comes to facing up to God.  We often run away and hide from Him.  We don’t want to take responsibility for our actions so we blame someone else.  We think we know better.  It’s a daily battle, isn’t it?

At that simple manger, we see the innocence of the lamb that would someday die for the sins of the world – but we can also be assured that He gained the victory over the devil when He conquered death on Easter morning.  Death and hell have no dominion over us anymore. We need not fear death because we know that God has won the victory.  Because of that victory, we have eternal life through Jesus.  He died so we could live!

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OOMPA LOOMPAS

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I’ve been on a Willy Wonka adventure for the last couple months, which culminated in a marathon of seven performances by two separate casts this past weekend.  They will do the same next week.  Their resilience and buoyancy amazes me.  As I move set pieces, round up children, try to keep them quiet while still having a fun, I realize how out of condition I am.  However, being backstage, in the thick of it, is also exhilarating.

Each one of these young performers has put in hours of rehearsal, learning songs and dances, along with lines and being responsible for scene and costume changes.  Some of them are only six years old.  So what’s an old seventy five year old woman doing in the middle of all this?  What am I – some kind of masochist?

After a short retirement, of about eight months, I found myself floundering and eager to return to one of the things that makes me who I am.  I became involved with a new children’s theater, very close to home as a member of the board of directors.  Now I’m stage managing this delightful rendition of the Willy Wonka story.

I believe our Oompa Loompas are much cuter than those pictured above, but each of ours has their own personality and most of them have great leadership qualities – which can lead to chaos.  In spite of the apparent skirmish to be first, they are slowly learning the importance of teamwork.  There were too many chiefs at first.  By the time the show closes, they will all be friends and anxious to start another project.

The beauty of theater is that it’s the perfect outlet for expression.  You can put on a “mask” for a while, become someone else, build your confidence, increase communication skills and learn how to work on a team to solve problems.  In this world full of instant information and little personal interaction, it also gives them the opportunity to interact with others and make lifelong friends .

I’d really missed that for those eight months of retirement. I guess God gave me those months to regroup – to rethink – to come up with a plan that would fit my current age and passion for doing what I love.  It’s funny how He places opportunities within our reach – how he leads us in the right direction – gives us the free will to make the right choices.

I’ve been singing the Oompa Loompa songs and those critters have made a few appearances in my dreams.  I’ll probably continue to sing these songs for another month, but like those kids – I’ll soon be ready for another project.

Thank you, Lord, for leading me to this new adventure at this point in my life.  You always know where to put me and how to use me.  Im so grateful to have this opportunity. Continue to bless the children as they go on to finish another hard weekend.   Keep them safe and healthy so they can enjoy their moments of bringing joy to others.  Amen!

 

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RESTORED, RENEWED, REDEEMED

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ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

This old houseboat was once full of life, but now it sits moored to the river’s edge.  It’s in need of paint, some refurbishing, but the bones remain and it can be saved.  Much like us.  We become tarnished and worn by the sins of each day, but God knows just how to restore us.

I once in poverty did lay, my heart was full of need,

You came and took my sins away and now I’m rich indeed,

You gave your richest treasure – your one and only Son.

You are my greatest pleasure. With you I now am one.

 

You came to earth on Christmas Eve, a tiny, little child,

A manger would become your bed, a cradle undefiled,

Your tiny hands reached up to God, Your Father had a plan,

To save the world from all their sins, when you’d become a man.

 

You didn’t have to do a thing, the blame was ours to bear,

But still you took on human form, Your love for us to share,

You left your royal throne above, became a lowly child,

The perfect, sinless Son of God, we now are reconciled.

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ADVENT FUNNIES

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YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS!

A rerun from 12/10/14 about yet another Christmas Pageant.

I’m one of those old dogs who is constantly learning.  I’ve spent much of my time on earth learning to be patient, but I never seem to get it.

I had another lesson yesterday as my  group of 12 children, all third grade and younger worked on a shortened version of the Christmas story.  Before  rehearsing we talked a little about our  need for a Savior – we talked about sin – they jiggled and fidgeted into their fluffy sheep costumes – they giggled at how they looked- we talked again about how long everyone had waited for Jesus and how they almost gave up – they played with their head coverings and twisted uncomfortably – we talked about patience and how hard it is to wait for Christmas.  One shepherd complained he didn’t have the right costume while another completely dismantled his costume and by the time our talk was over he no longer was wearing it.

My old mind was trying to keep it together, but I was wondering to myself why they don’t close down school for the month of December.  Kids’ minds certainly aren’t focused on learning.

Then it hit me.  My impatience wasn’t allowing me to enjoy the beauty in this.  We all need a Savior no matter what age we are – we have all sinned and don’t deserve to be forgiven, but we have a gracious God who loves us anyway – we are all impatient for Christmas in more ways than one.

So as the angels spoke about getting ready for the Savior with their halos tilted off to one side – and the sheep talked about how much better David’s singing was then their current caretakers – and the shepherds stirred all over the stage instead of pretending to sleep – I had to stop for just a moment and think about how imperfect we all are and how much we really do need Jesus.

Lord, please give me patience – right now!!

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PREPARED?

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Skies of grey, tempered by peeks at the sun,

Intermittently drifting in and out,

We know it’s coming,

We’ve been prepared,

Winter, like aging is the final season,

We know it’s coming,

We’ve prepared,

We’ve confessed and repented,

Death is just a breath away,

Still, if we are grounded,

If we have faith,

If we live with God as our partner,

Death no longer holds its icy grip,

The cost,

Christ’s blood,

Perfect sacrifice,

Atonement,

Surrender to His love.

 

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