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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FREE FALLING

WATERCOLOR OF YELLOWSTONE FALLS BY PAUL BOECHER – POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

A plethora of color weaving in and out of the sun-drenched water,

Tumbling over rocks and dead branches in its path,

Energy exuberant, light amazing, threads of crimson, indigo, gold,

Dancing, churning, forcing, pushing through the mountain path,

A tapestry of technicolor, an astonishing dream cloak of many colors.

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THIS OLD HOUSE

WATERCOLOR ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

A house is just a dwelling place, a place to sleep and eat,

A set of rooms to roam about, to gather and to greet,

Each filled with lath and plaster, with paint and other things,

It soon becomes inhabited and that’s when life begins,

The walls could tell us stories of who these people were,

By things they said, the hugs and joys and words that would occur,

Of broken hearts, of emptiness, of loss and loneliness,

Of joyfulness and goals achieved, of peace and happiness,

It’s just a simple shelter made of brick or wood or stone,

But when a family lives there, it soon becomes a home.

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IT’S JUST A SENIOR MOMENT ….

The majority of my posts this week have dealt with aging. I’ve tried to interject some humor into the whole thing, but there isn’t really anything funny about growing old. Our bodies have passed the expiration date, our senses have taken leave of their senses – our faces resemble the lines on a crumpled-up road map – our brains seem to be on vacation. Did I say there was nothing funny about aging? All of the prior statements are really quite hilarious.

There are days when I wake up thinking of all things I might accomplish and get so tired just thinking about them, I decide to go back to sleep. I might wake up feeling like an empty vessel with nothing left to give. Do you ever have days like that? Thirty years ago, I was entering middle age. It’s been downhill ever since. \I’ve had the last several years to ponder what will happen next. Will I still serve a purpose? Will my body agree with that purpose? Will I be able to get out of bed? These are real questions I put to myself every day. It’s a dilemma we’ve all been facing from adolescence on. As hormones rage and life presents new ideas, adventures and looking forward, we’re just getting started on the aging journey. With the onset of the seventies, thoughts no longer dwell on the future, but more on the past. As we enter the golden years, all of those earlier hopes and dreams feel like unfinished business. Speaking of which, I’m 80 years old and don’t have a living will, a will for my demise, or the will to write either of them. I don’t have a prepaid funeral, but because my husband’s father was a funeral director, I do have a place to be buried. There are many things yet to do before God calls me home, but the one thing needful is the undeserved love of my LORD and Savior, Jesus.

So, is there anything good about growing old? Yes, there is! We’re getting one step closer to our heavenly home. We can still contribute to society with our opinions and wisdom. We can reach out to young people who are just beginning their journey and encourage them to press on. We can relax a lot. and sleep a lot. Those are the extra benefits that come with aging. There are many, many more. How do you feel about getting old? For me, it doesn’t matter what each day brings. God has this and He knows what’s best for all of us.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

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THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AND . . .

February is the shortest month of the year, so we tend to pack as much stuff into it as we can. Right off the bat, we have Groundhog Day on February 2nd – a day, which has for over a hundred years become the worshipping of a rodent. The poor thing has been disturbed from his winter slumber to see or not to see his shadow. The Super Bowl game continues to be played in February. We sit back and enjoy the gladiators tear each other apart on this day, like they once did in Rome. We gather for parties to celebrate this activity and become part of the event – especially when “our” team wins. Back in the 1960s, a group of British musicians, with bowl styled haircuts, arrived in New York to meet a crowd of swooning teenagers. In mid-February, we have Valentine’s Day, which provides the candy and flower industry with the bulk of their yearly profits. Do you see a pattern here? February is packed with idols.

March will come soon enough. We can probably expect another six weeks of winter, because we live in Minnesota. In fact, we can probably expect another 3 months of it. The Super Bowl will produce an outstanding contest and some funny commercials, but the day after, will be just like any other day for most of us. Some new rock icon will undoubtedly come on the scene and capture the hearts of unsuspecting teenagers, but they too will fall by the wayside in time. As far as Valentine’s Day is concerned, I believe that day should extend throughout the year.

We as a nation have changed some over the years, but it’s interesting how we have a tendency to turn to things of this world for enjoyment or comfort. We have no problem putting these events or people on a pedestal, but it seems so difficult for some to believe in the One true God. Maybe it seems too simple minded to some or they want something tangible. The Old Testament Israelites had a habit of doing that too. God wants us to enjoy our lives. He doesn’t want us to suffer. His love is shown in so many ways and still we rely on worldly things to give us pleasure. Instead, turn your worship to the One who created all things. He is the only One who gives life meaning and purpose. He is the One who never changes. He is in control.

LORD, I ask you to continue to be the hope of my life. You are the only awesome God – the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Let me always place my trust in you. Amen!

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DO YOU FEEL SAFE AT HOME?

Every year, as a senior citizen having a wellness check, you’re asked, “Do you feel safe at home?” I guess I never thought about it until I was asked. Up until then I felt pretty safe no matter where I was. Now, after being asked over and over again, I’m beginning to wonder. I’ve taken to being more cautious walking through a house full of roadblocks. I try to avoid falling by staying away from anything that would cause that – like stairs, slippery sidewalks, not eating expired food and things like that. I’ve also taken to watching out the window of my house at what I used to think as a safe neighborhood and wonder if I’m living in the middle of a drug cartel – a house of ill repute or one slowly becoming a refuge for homeless folks.

What happened to those days when we didn’t think about locking our doors? Why do we have to worry about being swindled online or through some scam phone call? Does getting old mean you naturally start worrying about things like that – or are we being brainwashed into thinking that aging is the first step into a nursing home or a mental institution? Aging used to be an accomplishment. The elderly used to hold a place of respect and honor. We were supposed to become sage adults with great wisdom. Now, if you can remember four words that were spoken to you at the beginning of your medical exam, you’re suddenly a genius. If not, look out. You’re on the road to memory loss. As far as feeling safe, most of the time, we seem to be invisible, so we shouldn’t fear anything.

This journey through life should not depend on our feeling safe, or needing hearing aids, new hips, knees or teeth. It should be a time of rest and retirement, but that I don’t think it usually works out that way. Instead we are constantly talking about medical issues, what pills we take or how many bowel movements we have. Like I said earlier this week, aging is overrated.

“I’m at an age when my back goes out more than I do.” Phyllis Diller

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OLD HORSES

Aging is my topic for the week and to tell you the truth, the whole thing is getting me depressed. An old adage says, “They shoot old horses, don’t they?” As I searched for an image for this post, all I could find were pictures of sickly old horses and that depressed me even more. Instead, I opted for the antique rocking horse. That doesn’t mean I consider myself an antique, but by all rights, all things over the age 50 are deemed as such.

In ancient times, people lived well into their 300’s.  God’s reason was for man to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. I am eternally grateful that the world has filled up and there is no need to be fruitful and multiply anymore. I can’t imagine myself changing diapers at age 245 or sending my kids off to college at 263. The average life expectancy for women in America is 81. That means I’ve got about 4 months left, but who’s counting? So where am I going with all this?  I think we need a lot of years to get our act together.  For some of us, it takes longer to figure that out than others.

Old age comes with its plusses and minuses.  As for the benefits – you can get a senior discount at most places you shop or eat.  People offer you a seat if you look tired or weakly enough.  They may even let you go ahead of them in line.  You may get faster service at the clinic than you do from a store clerk.  The world has had the pleasure of your company for a long time, so you are now labeled as “wise” rather than impetuous.

On the negative side – you leave the room on a quest and forget what it was by the time you get there.  You’re tagged as “hot,” but it’s not because of the way you look. You finally get your act together and realize your body is falling apart. You can still laugh at your circumstances, but your smile is full of empty spaces.  When you get down on your knees to pick something up, you better think of more than one thing to do while you’re down there. Take advantage of the little things in life, because now you aren’t sure which pill is for what. Your life consists of MRIs, Cat Scans, Biopsies, and constant trips to the bathroom, not to mention a datebook that’s filled with doctor appointments.

We all know we’re getting older. That leads us to only one truth – we’re going to die.  So, we need to spend each second of life, trusting that God is going to use us for His purpose.  We can also be confident that life doesn’t end for those who believe in God.  He has a whole new blueprint etched out for us on the other side of eternity. While we wait for that second chance, remember that old age is inevitable if we live long enough. Is that “wise” or what? Eleanor Roosevelt out it this way.

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.”

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GROWING OLD IS OVERRATED

“You know you’re old when someone compliments you on your alligator shoes, and you’re barefoot.”

Phyllis Diller

My weekly planner looks like I’ve become very popular lately. There’s an appointment for almost every day of the week, and my doc assures me that all my numbers are normal. Well, “normal” takes on a whole new meaning when you get on the “Specialist” train. It starts with one thing, which leads to another and eventually, like a much-desired dance card, your planner is full. I’ve seen the orthopedic surgeon, who administered a cortisone shot. Today, I get my Dexa scan, which for an 80-year-old woman, looks pretty good. Eye exam is scheduled for the next week and Urologist for a follow-up after that. Isn’t it funny how when you call the urologist’s office, they always tell you to hold?

Aging is a state of mind – I keep telling myself. Anyone without a sense of humor shouldn’t even consider it. My husband and I have been together since we were thirteen years old. We managed to stay married for almost 59 years and if it weren’t for our ability to laugh, we would’ve given uo a long time ago. We decided to grow old together, which we soon discovered, we have no control over. In fact, there’s not much we have control over anymore, including our bladders.

I keep storing up more material for our senior radio show. Growing old is funny just by itself. I don’t need to add much to the situations, like closed captioning, misinterpretation of unheard words spoken by my husband, and silly questions that have nothing to do with anything. Memory is failing, and the moments we do remember happened two generations ago. Therefore, they have no relevance in today’s world. So, I continue to laugh. People may think I have a screw loose and they could be right. Although, according to my medical team, I’m going to live for a long time. Watch out world.

PSALM 37:25 ESV – “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.”

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MY HIDING PLACE

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Deep within the tallest pines, with dark night’s haze enshrouded,

A hidden place encased in webs of silver threads beclouded,

A quiet sanctuary, a place to run and hide,

A place to lick the wounds of hurt and safely stay inside,

Away from life’s diversions, a cave to call your own,

Where you can hide your troubles and bury them alone,

A place like that does not exist when you believe in God,

For He will never leave you, no matter where you trod,

He’s by your side through all your pain, through joy and suffering too,

He knows you need His presence to help you see it through,

You simply can’t escape Him, He’s in the air you breathe,

Give in to His protection, His blessings He’ll bequeath.

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WARMTH IN WINTER

ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

Shortened days – lack of sunlight,
Fields are white and streets now glazed,
In the icy silence of a stolen breath,
Through wild anticipation of lost moments soon remembered,
Anxiously we wait for one who promised He would come.

In a manger – in a stable – gently laid upon the hay,
His return will be in glory, as a king he will arrive,
Through his power and his wisdom, he will judge and cast away,
All the evil and deception of the one whose only drive,
Is to make an interruption in the path we’ve chosen.

Light in darkness – sweet redemption – all my sins He melts away,
He brings life from deep depression – cradling in His arms each day.
In darkest hours I make confession of my guilt – I bare it all,
He forgives and grants me healing – He is there to take the fall,
I know He will always catch His dear children.

Frozen landscapes soon are hidden. Only pastures green remain,
He will lead me by still waters ’til He comes to earth again,
No fear of death will e’er surround me. I know it cannot sting me now,
I’ve given him my one possession – to Him my life I do endow,
Take me, oh Lord and use me to thaw hearts to find your gentle warmth.

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FIRST RESPONSE OR LAST RESORT?

Worry seems to be part of our human nature. It’s interesting to me that animals don’t seem to carry that trait, and what a blessing for them. I mean, they have to find a warm place to sleep when it gets cold. They need to find food when they’re hungry. If the climate changes, they adapt to a new way of life. Still, not one of them has to worry about those things. They just do what needs to be done. As part of the human race, I tend to be a worrier. As a mother, that makes me twice the worrier. As a woman, I feel an extra measure of worry is built into our DNA. However, Jesus told His followers not to worry about anything. Come to Him and lay your burdens on His shoulders.

Sounds easy – right? It should be easy as pie to turn our worries over to someone else, but it doesn’t naturally work that way. Instead, we try to find a solution on our own. Maybe that comes from having a free will and a mind of our own, but we have a resource that gives us permission to let it go. Surrender is never easy, however. Our pride gets in the way. Our determination and wherewithal tell us that we should be able to handle whatever life throws at us, without help from anyone else.

When the Creator of all things invites us to turn things over to Him, He gives us a blessing beyond our wildest imagination. No, that doesn’t mean He’s a genie in a bottle, ready to endow us with whatever we wish, but what He gives is far greater than anything we want. Since He is the One who made each and every creature (including us) it’s a pretty good sign that He will deliver.

Waiting until all else fails to pray, is not the answer. Going to God immediately with your concerns, your troubles, your decisions, whatever – will open doors you may never have dreamed of. Prayer can also be answered in dramatic ways with instant results. Most of the time, that doesn’t happen. We don’t have the wisdom or foresight to look into the future. God does. In fact, He has already planned the course for our lives. There may be prayers that go unanswered, because God knew they were not the right thing for you. There are prayers that come back with a giant “NO!” or a “MAYBE LATER.” Just remember that God loves you and wants only what’s best for you. He has complete control over the course of our lives and when the answer is, “YES!” you will have the comfort and peace of knowing it.

We don’t possess the ability to hear God’s voice or to know exactly what He wants for us, but the peace that comes with His plans are always for our benefit. He encourages us to pray. He speaks to us daily through His Holy Word. We can see evidence of His existence in the majesty of creation. He loves us more than we know. He is always with us. He laid down His life for all. Don’t wait until nothing else works. PRAY NOW!

 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” 1 John 5:14 ESV

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NOW I LAY ME, DOWN TO SLEEP . . .

When I was a child, I was taught to pray – Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord, my soul to take. Amen!  After this simple prayer I would ask God’s blessings on all my family members, the pets, grandmas, grandpas and aunts and uncles.  I might also include someone that I had a problem with that day. Things have changed since those innocent days of youth.

Now my prayer list is getting so long, I often fall asleep before I’ve completed all the of them. The older you get, the more folks you need to pray for. There are those with serious illnesses, those who need God in their life to make it complete, those who have strayed from Him, those who feel life isn’t worth living anymore. There are the aged, the young adults starting their families, the teens who face unheard of stress and temptation and the children who are depending on good examples in their lives. God invites us to talk to Him and it is good to go to Him with our troubles, but we should also go to Him when things are going well and give Him the thanks He deserves.

Dear, Lord, it’s a privilege to come to you in prayer.  Your Son made that possible, by shedding His blood for me, a sinner.  Thank you for giving us an open line to you at any time of the day or night. Even my inadequate words are interpreted, through your Holy Spirit, in the right way. You control every inch of my existence.  Amen!

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SOLITUDE

ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©


In solitude we sometimes find ourselves – we need some time alone,

A quiet place where life stands still – an instant safety zone,

Where waters blue surround us, where peace is everywhere,

Where you can hear the voice of God, in quiet, thoughtful prayer,

He may not give us answers that we would like to hear,

But in the sweet serenity, He holds us ever near,

The beauty of those moments, renew – refresh – restore,

So we can handle all the things the world may have in store,

Within that peaceful time with God, our eyes will never close,

New life is ours when we believe our every need He knows,

He has designed what’s best for us, He knows our every need

He proved it when He gave to us, His Son to intercede,

Though we may need to sort things out, we never walk alone,

God has a plan for all of us to reach His heavenly throne.

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THE PERFECT PRAYER

Prayer was important to Jesus. He would often escape to a quiet place to talk with His Father.  His time was limited, because of the big following He was gaining, but that didn’t stop Him.  The disciples saw their rabbi going off to pray and, wanting to follow His example, they asked Him for a “how to lesson.

“How should we pray,” is really a prayer in itself.  How many times have we gone into prayer with just that question?  We can’t find the words. We stumble over the ones we say.  We feel unworthy or selfish.  That is when we should rely on God’s intervention to give us the right words.  The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will intercede on our behalf with groans too deep for us to understand or say.

Jesus gives us a perfect example of how to pray.  This is one of those prayers we learned as children and used throughout our lives.  Often, because we know it by rote, we just recite the words without really thinking about them. This prayer is rich in praise, petitions and thanksgiving.  In the opening sentence He shows that we have the same family rights that He did to go directly to His Father in prayer. “Our Father.” He reveals His respect for His Fater and His name and kingdom. He speaks of God’s will eing fulfilled on earth as it is in heaven. Then He confidently presents His petitions. “Give us this day, our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive others. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. The prayer ends with thanksgiving, as all prayer should.

As Jesus was casting out demons, a member of the crowd questioned the fact that only the chief of demons could do such a thing, a well remembered phrase was uttered by our Savior.  He said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.”  This idea has been penned by many through the ages, including Abraham Lincoln’s, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

How true is that today?  We see it in our own political scene as division. It’s apparent in families and in churches also. It is occurring all across the country.  Family members fighting over insignificant issues; friendships and relationships falling apart because of false witness; and courts, leadership and law enforcement losing our respect. Churches even struggle over things that have nothing to do with the salvation of the flock, and often lead to hard feelings and anger.

The real basics of prayer is wrapped up in our relationship with God, our relationship to each other and how we should forgive. It also leads us to follow the laws of God, written in the Bible, even though Christ has come to fulfill all of them. If you are new to prayer, remember this. God already knows what’s in our hearts. He knows what we need and what is best for us. He is in control of the whole course of our lives.

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TALKING TO GOD

I had a cortisone shot yesterday. I’ve been nursing a bad knee and hip since I was released from the hospital in November 2022. I was only allowed a shot in the knee, because I have to make a separate appointment for other body parts. Well, I was amused by that, thinking you have to have a separate appointment for each body part? I’d be returning every other week! Anyway, I was happily surprised to have almost instant results. I was able to sleep almost through the night for the first time in a long time. I woke up at about 4 AM and my mind was swimming. Dreams often make way for creative expression, so I usually pay attention.

I was dreaming about my marriage and all the turmoil we’ve been through the last recent years. I reverted to my memory bank to discover we have had a very interesting marriage, but when we go through trials, we often change the way we become as human beings. Paul and I have known each other since we were 13 years old. That’s 63 years, if my old Math serves me. For each step of our relationship, we’ve managed to find humor in almost every situation. Now, the situations aren’t as funny anymore. I used to think it would be so romantic to grow old together. I didn’t realize these new struggles could lack anything humorous, but I realize that the minute I let that happen, my joy gets sucked out of me. I decided to talk to God about that very thing. So, I spent the next couple hours praying about it. The prayer reminded me that I can talk to God anytime. Jesus made that possible with the price he paid for our salvation. I can open my heart to Him, because He knows what I’m going through. He has the blueprint of my life right in front of Him. He created the plan and supplements or takes away as He sees fit. In other words, He’s in control.

Those thoughts kept me awake for a couple hours. Like I said, we’ve always seemed to find humor even in the difficult times. When you’ve endured a three-year pandemic along with a yearlong struggle with health issues for both of us, I realized that this is our new normal — so we have to make the best of it. Our struggles are no worse than anyone else’s so we should be grateful for them. I went back to sleep feeling somewhat relieved – maybe it was the shot, but I think it was that conversation I had with my Creator. He knows what we need to put the frolicking back into our lives. He really sets the record straight and helps us find our joy again. When you need an attitude adjustment, turn to the One who is a master at it.

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

Martin Luther

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PRAYER CLOSET

My maternal grandmother was a child in the late 1800s. She had a pioneer spirit. much like the matriarch, in the series {“1923”) Cara Dutton (played by Helen Mirren.) My grandma even had snow white hair which she braided into a bun. She was feisty, hardworking, patient, loving and a child of God. This amazing woman endured the loss of five of her children (at young ages) along with the bedridden life of her husband and finally his death. She was tough as nails when it came to getting her chores done. I remember one instance where she cut her toe on the lawn mower and instead of going inside to tend to it, she stuck her foot in a container of turpentine for relief. She milked cows, raised a vegetable garden, loved planting and tending flowers. She made the best homemade bread ever and would get up very early to do so. She was kind of like the Proverbs 31 woman we read about.

This special lady died at the age of 78. By that time, she had cut that long hair, sold much of the farmland and settled quietly into old age. She died peacefully even though her life was not one to write home about. Even in her darkest hours, she never failed to turn to God for help and answers to her prayers. Before they had indoor plumbing, she would sit in the outhouse and pray. Later on, she’d go to the woods to talk with God. Her prayer closet moved around a lot, but she always found the time and place to communicate with her heavenly Father.

How often do you pray? I had to ask myself that question and to be honest, I’ve never timed myself, the truth is God doesn’t have an appointed time to receive our prayer. He’s available 24/7 and we can talk freely to Him. Jesus made that possible for us. The line of communication has been opened and we have a direct link to Him. A prayer closet is a good idea, if you want to be alone in your prayer time, but you can achieve the same affect by closing your eyes, bowing your head and talking to Him. Keeping a prayer journal might be helpful as well. No matter where you pray, God hears you. He loves you so much, He makes time for your conversation. That makes it even easier for us to approach him.

“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.” –

Corrie Ten Boom

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ENCHANTING LIGHT

ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER ©

A light streams through resistant clouds.  It brings a glimpse of heaven.

As once in darkness bathed in shrouds, it’s filled with hope once given.

The light came forth in darkness, so many years ago.

And shone upon the Son of God, in humble manger low.

He could have come in glory, with angels at His side,

Humility He chose instead, when with us He’d abide.

Oh, sweet and loving Jesus.  You came to give us life.

You promised to be with us through all our earthly strife.

You walked alone to Calvary and hung upon a tree –

You suffered pain and shed your blood.  You did it all for me.

How can I thank you, Jesus, for bringing me Your light?

Use me and let me praise you, through all Your Holy Might!

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TO SLEEP PERCHANCE TO DREAM

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER© 

When we search for distant places,

When we walk uncharted lands,

Our hearts are filled with wonder,

Our minds hold no demands.

A trail that leads to winter,

A path beside the sea,

A walkway through a forest,

Whatever it may be.

Our dreams can take us somewhere,

We’ve never been before,

In our imaginations,

We can open any door.

We wander through a fantasy,

A magic wonderland,

Though sometimes fears surround us,

It’s hard to understand.

Then we awake from slumber,

Our dreams come to an end,

But our imagination,

Can still be our best friend.

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PARENTING WITH THE THREE “R”S

I’m an old woman and still remember hearing the philosophy that the three “R”s were all we needed to learn in order to succeed as students. I think the person who came up with that concept needed some education on spelling. Reading is the only one that makes sense. Writing begins with a
“W” and the actual art of writing has changed dramatically over my lifetime. Cursive wriing is an archaic term today. It’s an obsolete language which seems to have been gobbled up by the Internet. Kids simply can’t interpret anything written in cursive. Of course, I can’t decipher my own handwriting anymore. Arithmetic is not really a subject, nor does it begin with “R.” Now it’s called New Math and us old fogies haven’t got a clue what it means. A lot of today’s students don’t get it either.

I would, therefore, like to offer my own 3 “Rs” to those of you who are beginning the parenting phase. There are probably more to consider, but today I’d like to propose these three:

RESPECT – RESPONSIBILITY – RESILIENCE

RESPECT: This bit of learning should begin at the very beginning. When a child is taught to respect those in authority, their parents, their teachers, their religious leaders, friends and employers, they will have a much easier go in this life. As they grow into their teens, a reverence and respect for law enforcement is also a necessary tool whereby they can navigate through tough situations. When I was a young girl, I pocketed something that caught my eye in a secondhand store. I didn’t pay for the object. I don’t even remember what it was. My father discovered that I had stolen it and marched me back to the store to return it At the time I was humiliated, (mostly because I was caught) but I ate a huge piece of humble pie that day and the thought of not becoming a thief was now emblazoned into my brain. When we teach our children to respect others, the Golden Rule should apply. Treat others as you wish to be treated.

RESPONSIBILITY: This attribute is a result of showing respect to others. When we stand up for our children, even when they’re wrong, we’re sending a wrong message. When we do wrong, we must be willing to take the consequences for our actions. So many young parents believe they are to establish a friendship with their children. I’m not saying you shouldn’t care about your kids or come to their rescue, but they do need to realize that there will be residual effects to bad behavior. The children of today have it so much harder than we did as children. They are under tremendous pressure to succeed. They often are overspent with after school activities that rob them family time and relationships with others. It’s OK if they don’t excel in something, but the awarding of participation certificates isn’t the way to do that. We need to help our children find what interests them and then help them realize their potential. They also need to know it’s OK not to win at everything. Failure often leads to future success.

RESILIENCE: We’re beginning to live in a world of hermits. Electronics have given us a plethora of instant knowledge, while offering a platform for all kinds of destructive platforms that are easily accessible to our children. The fact that we went through a very long pandemic and faced isolation has increased the use of those tools. Many are doing jobs from the comfort of their homes and actual face to face communication has broken down. The old adage, “Sticks and stones can break my ones,” is simply no longer true. It’s too bad we need to teach our children how to rebound from bullying, name calling, lies and slander going into cyber-space. We all feel vulnerable with social media today and with good reason. Giving our kids the tools to withstand these harmful jabs and often depressing words is vital. Limiting screen time is tough, but necessary. Teaching them that they are loved is more than important. Get them involved in activities where they will learn to solve problems, work with others to accomplish their goals and sharpen up their communication skills. The statistics on depression, anxiety and suicide in our time have surged dramatically. Everyone needs to know that they are loved by God. We all need to be loved.

As I said at the beginning, there are many “R”s out there that deserve attention. RELIGION is one that comes to mind. This is something we can nurture along the way. Get in the habit of worshipping with your children – at home, in church – in youth groups that provide application through God’s Word. With the pandemic, came on-line worship. There are tons of great devotions online as well. This is something you should be doing together with them.

“Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 ESV

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THESE KIDS TODAY

I’m certain I would never have been hailed as Mother of the Year during my tenure of raising three youngsters.  I made a ton of mistakes – mistakes I wish I could undo, but instead I just hide them away in the recesses of my aging mind – and pray that God has forgiven them along with my other sins. Kids today are different than when I was raising a family.  Kids today are different than when my great grandparents were doing their parenting thing.  I could go on and on about how good my way was, but I think every generation is filled with the same problems, fears, anxieties and trials by error.

Each day as a parent is a new adventure.  You will face problems with discipline – scrapes and bruises, frequent trips to the ER, helping with homework that’s foreign to you, constant picking up after, nagging, feeling like a drill sergeant, making sure they eat properly, are clothed and have a roof over their heads.  Not an easy job description, but every year – more children come into the world and the process goes on.

My generation has seen the first television set, the first astronaut on the moon, advances in technology – science and medicine.  We’ve come from a place where washing hands was only necessary before eating a meal.  We entertained ourselves by playing outside all day – even on the cold days of winter.  Almost everything was recycled – disposable diapers, water bottles, plastic containers for fast food were non-existent.  We took the bus to sporting and after school events – in fact my family didn’t own a car until I was old enough to get a license.

The generation of today will experience much of the same – growth in technology, an abundance of new jobs being created because of it – fear of being bullied, having their school under siege, and changing views on morality. They will absorb more information than the mind can possibly handle.  They will be exposed to more of the ugliness of the world through the media and instant news.  They will need their parents guidance and reassurance as much as we did. Us old fogies will grumble and complain and the moms and dads of today will do so too when their kids have children.  It’s in the nature of man.  I had to learn how to be a mom.  Even with good role models, it’s a learn as you go process.

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PARENTING ISNT FOR WIMPS

As our children grow from infants to toddlers, you will see a lot of your own habits and idiosyncrasies come to life in them. This is a time to really be a good role model for them. They’re like little copycats and will often mimic what you say and do. They’re forming their own personalities based on what they see and hear from you. That’s a heavy load to carry right there. As a parent, you have more than a physical obligation to these little ones. How they turn out is dependent on their early years of experience and exploration. I’m not trying to lay guilt on you before you even go through this, but it is a fact you should be aware of.

Having raised three children and watching them turn into responsible adults is really an accomplishment, but not one I can take credit for. Each generation has its own set of problems to deal with. Whether it’s a turn in sexual behavior or drug abuse; a shift in the course of politics; a surge in unethical behavior; greed, violence, bullying – we as parents have a tough row to hoe.  When you partner with your Creator in the process, it makes the job less difficult. Here are ten suggestions to help you in this difficult, trying, sometimes frustrating and anxious walk, which I hope will give you some insight into this wonderfully exciting adventure:

  1. From little on, let them know about God’s love for them. Build a strong spiritual base. This is the foundation that will see them through anything.
  2.  Shape their moral values by setting a good example.
  3.  Encourage and support them, but don’t build them up to the point of no return.
  4.  Let them know that you have expectations of them – set down the rules as soon as they are old enough to understand and then follow through with them
  5. Trust is something that takes time to build. With our children, it should begin on day one. They are totally reliant on us. We need to return that trust to them as they grow older. By doing so, we are also trusting that what we have taught them has actually sunk in.
  6.  Let them know that when we are angry with something they have done, it doesn’t change the love we have for them.
  7.  Be vigilant about their physical well being. Watch for signs that things aren’t right and talk to your children about them. Always keep the lines of communication open.
  8.  You are not your child’s buddy, you are his parent. Too often we give more material things to our children than we need to. They need our love, understanding, guidance and security – not our stuff.
  9.  There are others out there that are experiencing the same things you are. It doesn’t make the job easier, but it helps to know that you aren’t alone.
  10.  Trust in God’s direction for your child. Pray for them. Teach them God’s teachings through the daily study and encouragement of His Word. With God at your side all things are possible – even parenting.

“Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright,” Proverbs 20:11 ESV

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