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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ONE GLIMMER OF HOPE

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©
In the heart of the forest, what is it you see,
The death of the brush or the loss of each tree,
They die for a while, and rise up again,
Spring pushes each bud, giving life deep within,
Our days undefiled and sins now washed clean,
The pure life of Jesus, will help us convene,
The darkness of winter can leave deep remorse,
We wander away and relinquish our course,
The coldest of days will be warmed through the night,
Our Savior will comfort and holds each one tight,
He won’t let us go, if we trust in His Word,
Our souls are renewed and our steps undeterred.

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DITCH YOUR RESOLUTIONS

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It’s only January 17th and already there’s a holiday whereby you can ditch your New Year’s resolutions.  It’s been a while since I’ve shared one of those weird holidays with you.  There is one for every day of the year – did you know that?  It seems a little early to be giving up on New Year’s promises to change our lives for the future, but as you know, we live in a society of instant fixes and immediate results, so I guess it’s understandable.  If you don’t lose twenty pounds in seventeen days or the desire for another drink or cigarette is stronger than your will power, it seems to be the natural thing to just give up.

I have learned in my seventy seven years of living that making resolutions is like setting impossible goals for ourselves.  We think we can do it, but somehow it doesn’t take long for us to realize our human nature gets in the way.  Our own hope of being in control falters and we give up.  We often not only fail, but our ego is also bruised in the trying.

Is it futile to try and control our lives?  I don’t think God wants us to sit back and wait for Him to make things happen.  He tells us in His Word,

” But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  1 Timothy 5:8

God expects us to plan for the future – to care for those within our families.  Without planning and counsel from those who know, we will often fall flat on our faces.  When we trust in the will of God, we are assured of a future filled with success.  It may not be one filled with riches, but His plans are always for our good.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

So on this day when we can actually celebrate being willing to accept that we are not always as good as our word, lets turn to God instead.  His will for us never fails.  We can depend on it.  The hardest thing for us to accept is the fact that we are not in control, but God is.  With that in mind, it’s so much easier to depend on His intervention in our lives and trust that He will fulfill every one of His promises.

 

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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A CALL TO REST

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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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BACK IN THE FRAY

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Once more into the fray…
Into the last good fight I’ll ever know…
Live and die on this day…
Live and die on this day… 

The phrase, “Into the fray,” has meant to me – getting back into the game after a time of rest or waiting.  The above poem may have been derived from Shakespeare’s, “King Henry V.” in Henry’s speech to his troops before battle.  That speech was spoken to encourage his army to try once more to break the barriers before them.  A kind of never give up speech.

After a long bout with my kidney over November and December, I’m back in the proverbial saddle again.  I always seem to muddle through some health issue, an important event (Christmas in this case) or a life and death situation when I am not involved in a lot of work.  I believe God knows that I wouldn’t be able to stand up under any other conditions.  However with the end of the holidays I am back into the fray.

Only a week ago, we started rehearsals for “The Crucible,” by Arthur Miller.  It is a timely play depicting mass hysteria, mob rule, strict religious teachings, land grabbing, political power and many things that continue in our world today.  The play is being performed by students from grades 6-12.  I’m stage managing this show under a very knowledgeable director who gives min-history lessons along the way.  I’m learning a lot.  I think the actors are as well.

I also began teaching my weekly “Golden Starz Creative Aging Acting Class,” for students 55 and up.  We are combining acting technique with creative writing and my students are learning how to create their own interesting characters in the form of a monologue which they’ll perform before an audience at the end of the sessions.

My creative juices are percolating again.  It’s good to get back to doing the things we love to do.  Aging doesn’t have to restrict us.  We have the ability to keep on trying no matter how old we are.  One of my students is over 80 and still very involved in the community and loves to learn.  She’s currently learning to speak Russian from her seven year old granddaughter.  Another who has just recently retired is taking art classes from my husband.  She’s traveling everywhere she can before she isn’t physically able to do.  She’s also joining me on the board of directors at the theatre I’m involved in.  Some are there for the social part of it, but they’re all learning something about themselves and stepping outside of their comfort zones.

The fray doesn’t have to be a call to death.  Getting involved is more life giving than we thing it is.  When we pour ourselves outside of ourselves we are making a difference within our communities, our families, our social circles and our own lives.  Never give up.

King Henry:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger. . . .
Henry The Fifth Act 3, scene 1, 1–6

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RETIRED TIRED

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I’m beyond the age of retirement.  I tried it once, but the lure of theatre drew me out of it.  I am one of those elderly women who drives a car from 2002, with a little over 100,000 miles on it.  It has a stick shift, so it takes a while for me to get up to speed. I’m the one who usually has a parade of cars behind her on the road, because I almost always drive the speed limit.  I drive in the right lane so people can pass me if they like, but they seem to prefer riding on my back bumper.

My brain is still functioning although some of my senses are lacking. I’m hard of hearing so have resorted to closed captioning when I watch TV, which is far more entertaining than hearing the actual words.  My taste buds are almost non existent.  My eyesight isn’t too bad, but I need specks to read.  My sense of smell is failing which is good in some cases, but no so much in others.  As for the sense of touch, I can still feel a needle pricking my finger or the softness of a baby’s skin.

My sense of nonsense is quite alive and well. I enjoy being the comedian in a group – telling funny stories – having a pie thrown in my face.  Simple things like that make me smile.

I’ve discovered the key to living a long life is to be active while you’re living.  That doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym every day, but it does mean getting out of your chair, out of your house and into the world of the living.  The more we sit around, the more likely we’ll fall into a coma.  I am an involved senior.  I still have opportunities to teach, to volunteer, to speak, to mentor and to share a lifetime of experiences with others.

There are times though when I feel like I’m on a merry go round, because my life is almost too full.  I have moments when I long to sleep until noon.  I would love to spend the day writing, reading or doing crossroad puzzles, but as long as I have the ability to move, I probably will never retire – even though there are times when I feel really tired of retirement.

I think God gives us these latter days to do some of the things we never had the chance to do when we were making a living.  We have a wealth of information and wisdom tucked away in our brains, which can be shared with others and perhaps even bring some joy to them.  Maybe I’ll retire – tomorrow.

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KEEP THE HOME FIRES BURNING

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My husband and I are still part of the work force, although we officially retired over ten years ago.  Now we have the luxury of living on the entitlements so graciously given us by our government.  I’m not being sarcastic here.  We would be long gone had it not been for Social Security. We retired with no long range plan, no 401K, no pension. Life circumstances got in the way, but we do have the strength to press on for the eternal prize

I wondered what we would do when we retired. What would we talk about? Our family was out of the nest.  Did we have anything in common? The time we’d spent together alone took a back seat to family matters.  The whole idea of retirement scared me for a while.

I don’t know why I was so concerned.  However, there are a few things you can plan on before you get to that point, so the transition won’t be difficult. Start by thinking back to what first drew you together.  In my case, I’ve known my husband for most of my life.  We were friends in high school and became “steadys” in our senior year.  It was four years later when we got married..  We never lived together prior to marriage because we didn’t.  Today, that would be considered unenlightened, but I digress.

So what drew you together?  Was it a love of the arts – sports – eating out – going to the movies – a sound religious faith – hobbies?  Maybe you simply had a lot to talk about.  You might have been drawn in by physical attraction or more on an intellectual level.  As you grow together in a marriage all of those things take a back seat to having babies, supporting a family, building a business and caring for each other by instilling some good values in that family.

Your interests change with time.  Sometimes those hobbies you once loved are now physically impossible so you have to adjust, just like we adapt to other things as we grow older.  We suffer through illness, financial difficulties, problems with our children and tons of other problems through a marriage, but those things shouldn’t break us – only make us stronger.

My husband and I have learned to spend time together talking, usually first thing in the morning.  We share our aches and pains.  We talk about our plans for the day, discuss issues that are bothering us, the state of the world and other things which we have no control over.  That one hour sets the tone for the rest of the day.

We’ve also managed to make time to do something special together.  This doesn’t have to involve spending a fortune or maxing out the credit cards.  We’ll often get in the car and take a drive in the country for an hour, or maybe extend it to a day road trip. When we have a little extra money, we go on a real date.  Last Friday, for example, we went to see the movie, “1917,” nibbled on popcorn and then went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

Our every day routine sets us both in different directions.  Paul goes upstairs and works on a painting or art class curriculum and I stay downstairs and write my blog.  We meet at noon for lunch, where we again spend time talking.  In the afternoon, we often take a short siesta and then deal with everyday tasks.

Our time goes quickly.  It seems the older we get, the shorter time becomes.  There’s even a sense of urgency about growing old – like we have to get everything done before we go to heaven.  Life really is short, but when you have someone to spend it with you have a treasure beyond measure. When God is at the head of that union, you can’t lose.

 

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WINTER WATCH

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

The majestic eagle casts his perfect vision on the field below,

Always looking for his next meal or provision for his waiting mate,

Who herself is on guard for the protection of her unborn.

A light dusting of glistening fairy dust falls gently from the sky,

Conserving the environment for the resplendent birds.

God’s breath covers the nest, camouflaging it from enemies.

It falls ever so softly – not disturbing, only covering slightly –

Creating safety,

Cuddling softly,

Chilling somewhat,

Yet draping a blanket of compassion and love over God’s creation.

New snow washes away the dark ugliness that comes with winter.

Just as the perfect life of Jesus creates a veil of immunity over our darkness.

We are cleansed from all our sin through His life.

 

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SATURDAY PRAYER

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Dear, Heavenly, Father,

As the week winds down, I come to you with a mind filled with anxious thoughts.  I know that you’ve told me not to be anxious about anything – that you’re in control and with me every step of the way –  that worry can do nothing as far as changing the way things turn out.  Your plan for our lives has already been written.

Still I read the headlines of things happening globally and it troubles me.  Are these signs of the end of times?  You have told us to be ready – to prepare for your second coming, yet I hold onto fear like a security blanket.

I hear of all the local disaster within my own community. There are numerous murders, assaults, domestic violence, sex trafficking and so much evil that it makes me think it can’t get much worse.

I see friends suffering with health issues, financial difficulties, marital problems and so much more and all I can do is sympathize with their pain.  I try to encourage with words from your Holy Word, but it seems so inconsequential at times.

As I approach your Sabbath day, help me to continue to put my trust in you.  You have never failed me in my life, no matter how difficult things have been.  Your love, your consistence, your faithfulness never changes.   I can count on your steady hand to guide me.  I know you will provide a way for your final plan to be accomplished.  Help me to accept your will and give me the strength to face the coming week with confidence. Amen!

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WE HAVE A TOTEM IN OUR BACKYARD

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

Many folks have special sculptures that enhance the garden space.

They choose cherubs small and angels tall to decorate the place,

In my backyard it’s not that way.  Art adorns with sculpted wood,

The treasures that are planted there, make our yard look extra good.

My husband, Paul, the artist, is not limited to doing paintings.  He is also a master sculptor.  When he was in art school he studied art history and particularly the art of America’s Northwest Coast Indians.  As you can see by this totem, the familiar story pole is filled with images of animals, fish, birds and other creatures of nature. It is intended to tell a story about the tribe, rather than as an idol to worship.  This was their expression of life through art.  I love this art form, not only for its background, but intricate beauty and choice of colors. I do have a little trouble explaining the existence of a totem in my backyard however – especially to my church friends.

 

 

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THE “JOYS” OF AGING

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As another year and decade passes, each one of us is getting older. There is no escape from this malady, except for death and for many that’s the end of everything.  I hope I never lose my zest for living, but I certainly wouldn’t want to give up my hope of life after death either.

When you get old things begin to change – slowly at first, but once you’ve reached retirement age it’s like putting pedal to the metal.  Time moves much faster for example.  Days swiftly turn into nights and your daily fare may consist of crossword puzzles and watching Bonanza reruns.

With modern medicine we’re living longer lives.  Hips, knees, kidneys and even hearts can be replaced. Plastic surgery has expanded to all areas of the body.  You can replace your smile with dental implants.  You can endow yourself with perfect upper and lower body enhancements.  Your body can actually be sculpted into precisely what you want it to be for a price.  You can make bald heads hairy again.  It makes me wonder what our decaying bodies might look long after we’re placed in the ground.  Picture a skeleton with implants running wild.

For some, reaching retirement means time for yourself – a chance to check off things from your bucket list – get involved in something you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time for.  You may choose to step outside the box and experience free falling from an airplane or zip lining across the Grand Canyon – neither of which I’d do because of my fear of heights.

We try to keep up with the latest technology, but need a five year old to explain it to us and most five year olds are too busy texting their friends.  So we stumble through the emojis, the tweets and chat rooms knowing nothing about what we’re doing.  Fortunately most of us are smart enough not to get caught up in the scams out there, but if we do, we never hear the end of it.

Staying alive is more than taking fifteen pills a day.  If you really want to enjoy your golden years, get out and do something – even if it means simply having coffee with a group of friends.  You might join a health club and meet new friends, but be careful.  Health clubs are full of bacteria and germs, not to mention those who are there to hit on you.  You might take a class in something you’ve always wanted to try.  Someone once said, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but you’d be surprised at all the wisdom packed into an 85 year old mind. They might teach you a trick or two.

What I’m trying to say here is that we all go through the aging process, whether we’re ten years old or 80.  It’s the natural order of things.  We’ll also die some day.  Make the most of the time you walk on this planet, but don’t forget that something even better lies ahead.

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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NEW LIFE FROM OLD

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ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

A seed drops,
It burrows and nestles into rich soil,
It springs forth with new life,
Fragile branches at first,
Growing strong with each passing day,
Expanding, stretching, embracing the sky,
Reaching for the face of its Creator,
It bends and twists in the storms of life,
It blossoms and thrives in good times,
It grows stronger in bad times,
It withers, it shrivels, it dies,
But it doesn’t end there,
The circle of life continues,
Watch, observe, delight in God’s hand in it.

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HAVE THE BIRTH PANGS BEGUN?

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When expecting my first child, I had no clue what was about to happen.  My body had increased by almost 60 pounds and I thought I was about to give birth to the largest child ever to be born. I’d forgotten what my feet looked like and when I did get a glimpse of them, they too had expanded to about three times their normal size.

I went about my normal daily activities without fear.  I was only 22 when these changes were happening.  I continued about living as usual, including my daily walk.  On the day of labor, I was on my way home from the nearby grocery store when my water broke.  I hurried home and called my husband to tell him that maybe a child would be born that day.  Even when he arrived home I wasn’t experiencing any pain.  By the time we reached the hospital and I was prepared for delivery, the contractions started.  My firstborn took only three hours to make her appearance.  The pains didn’t become intense until the very end.

Whenever I read the Bible verses in Matthew 24, I’m reminded of those first birth pangs.  There will be pain before the world as we know it ends.  There will be wars and rumors of war. There will be the noise of violence in every corner of our world. Dissatisfied and enraged voices scream for change. People are divided in their opinions, their beliefs and their politics.  Headlines proclaim stories of murders in the streets, in the safety our homes and within our churches and schools. The fierce winds of destructive hurricanes, fires and floods, have destroyed people’s property and lives. It seems this must be the beginning of the end as promised in God’s Word.

When it comes to the state of affairs in the world – this isn’t something new. The world has always experienced violence, hatred, division, intolerance, unnecessary and necessary wars. Today, however, we have access to information regarding all this in an instant. Some respond before getting all the facts while others take a wait and see attitude.

God tells us not to be surprised by these events. It’s like the birthing process. Once we have endured these pangs, new life begins. It may not be on this planet, but we have been promised eternity in heaven when we turn our lives over to the Lord.

Do not be alarmed. Do not let your heart be troubled. All of this must happen before the end result occurs. We have no idea when that will occur, but we know, by God’s communication with us, that the end is coming. With the end of birth pains, comes new life. Let’s turn it over to Him and know that He’s got this!

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MY FIRST RUNAWAY

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The first time I decided to run away from home was shortly after my only sister was born. You see, I was the firstborn grandchild on both sides of my family, my parents’ firstborn, and the most spoiled child you have ever seen. For almost five years, I ruled the roost and suddenly the roost had been invaded by a child with naturally curly hair and lungs that wouldn’t quit. Her crying was the last straw.

I couldn’t take it anymore, so I packed up my little suitcase with necessities like my umbrella, a box of Kleenex and a quarter. I tied the cord on my chenille bathrobe, donned my slippers and announced to mom and dad that it was nice knowing them and walked out the door. We lived on the top floor of a four story apartment building. I don’t think I got down one flight of stairs before I realized they didn’t even act surprised or say a word. It wasn’t long before I walked back through that door and forgot about running away for a while.

It seemed to be natural behavior for me. I tried it a few times after that to no avail. At one point, my dad offered to help me pack. I guess they were getting used to it by that time. Whenever things weren’t going my way, I thought the best thing to do was escape from the thing that was bugging me. I’d hide in a closet when I didn’t want to confront – especially if I knew I was the cause of the problem.

I wonder how often God has to deal with us in this way. He has His finger on the pulse of every one in His creation. He knows where we are, who we’re with, what we’re up to and how to bring us back home. No matter how hard we try to run away, we can’t escape from God.

most of us like to think that we’re in control. We don’t need anyone’s help – especially someone we can’t see. Our human nature and society tells us we can do things on our own and we alone are responsible for ourselves.

It can be kind of daunting to imagine that someone is watching our every move – following our footsteps – setting the path and direction for our lives – observing our mistakes and unfaithfulness. On the other hand, He is guiding us with His right hand – protecting us from falling into danger – lifting us out of depression and anxiety – holding us through the dark days of temptation – loving us unconditionally.

We can’t run away from God and why would we want to?

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YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

When life gets tough we sometimes feel we have to run away.
We look at things much differently with every passing day.
It seems too complicated to stay and go the course.
We submit to selfish thinking, we give up to remorse.

This force can pull us far away. It steals away our hope,
It leads into a web of fear where we can’t even cope.
It pulls us in – devours us – and spits us out again –
It doesn’t care about us if souls it might obtain.

To fight these awful feelings which leave us all alone,
We have to change these hearts of ours, that now have turned to stone.
“Come follow me,” our Savior says, “come walk with me today.”
“I’ll take your hand and lead you and help you find your way.”

You can’t escape the woes of life ’til death is at your door,
But when you trust in Jesus, He’ll give you so much more.
Stop running from the Prince of Peace, instead run to His arms.
He’s waiting just to help you and rid you of life’s harms.

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MY WRITING JOURNEY

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Here it is, January 7th, 2020 – a year I never thought I’d reach, but God had other thoughts.  I’ve never seemed to have a problem with writer’s block, but I am an author with “publishing block.”  I’ve published one book in my life.  It was a self-published book which was mainly intended as a legacy for my family to read some day.  The story was and autobiography, mixed with humor and a whole lot of faith.  When I got deep into some of the darker parts if my life, I put the work away.  It sat for a number of years.

You see, I have this fear of rejection, which shouldn’t be part of the equation when you self-publish.  The problem is I also have a fear of investing my meager dollars into something as unreliable as publishing my own work.

So much for my excuses.  The truth is I have written a novel. I sweat over this story for a number of years, using all my gifts of developing interesting, conflicted, unusual characters –  skill I attained over years of acting and writing plays.  I believe characters are everything on both sides of the performing stage.  I assumed this would be true in the writing of a book of fiction.  I had no trouble defining my characters and their unique situations, but I fell short in the telling of the story.  I created more characters than necessary.  I fell into a trap of too many side stories which really didn’t pertain to the actual flow of the main theme.  I had no idea that such a work would be so all-consuming.

My husband, the artist, assures me that everything is a work in progress. Sometimes we need to tweak or alter our thinking to make the most of it. Sometimes that never happens and we are left to abandoning it for a while.  When we come back to it in a few years, our eyes will be fresh and have found the answers we struggled over for so long.

The mentality of finding instant success in our art is really quite a pie in the sky attitude.  Yet when we believe in something, we shouldn’t hesitate because of fear of rejection or the loss of a few bucks.

One of my New Year hopes is to finally submit this work to a publisher.  For this, I need a good swift kick in the pants or it’s back to the drawing board.  In either case, I will never give up.

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WORDS OF TRUTH

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Our world has been around for between 5 and 6 thousand years.  Of course, there are many who would disagree with that statement, but most of them don’t believe in God nor in His creation timeline.  Unfortunately, in our history we continue to make many of the same mistakes.  We follow old patterns until we realize there are better ways of doing things.  We become easy victims to innovation, invention and anything that will make our lives easier, but fail to realize that many of those transformations to our world may cause more trouble than they’re worth.

In a world that is supposed to be evolving, we see just the opposite.  We’ve grown dependent on our electronic devices.  We can shop from the comfort of our own homes.  We have access to everything in the world, just with the click of a finger or a voice control box named Alexa.  We, in fact, can control our lives without doing much physical work at all.  In our attempt to create ease of doing things, we’ve turned into a nation lacking get up and go and gumption.  We sit back in our recliners watching wars unfold, people’s character being judged, lives changed by numbing opioids, tolerance and acceptance of every kind of behavior.  We expose ourselves to predatory actions, sex trafficking, kidnapping of young unsuspecting children for that purpose.  It would seem that nothing shocks us anymore.

In the meantime our bodies are lacking physical exercise.  We lose our ability to communicate face to face with others.  We rely only on ourselves and seldom give any thought to God – the only true innovator around.

So what if our infrastructure was invaded?  What if this world of twitter dee and twitter dumb were to collapse and we had to do things the old fashioned way again?  What if we had no other resource for living other than reaching out to others?  What if we turned back to the One who created our planet and every other heavenly body in the universe?

I still believe in the future of our country.  I have confidence that the youth of today will pick up the pieces left behind and try to make something from them.  Our hope lies with them, so we must give them the tools they need to steady the ship.

God is still at the mast.  He’s even given us the perfect handbook showing His plan for us through the Bible.  It is His voice, inspired into the pens of average human beings by the Holy Spirit.  Maybe it’s time to dust off the Bible, or if you’re so inclined, get an app for that.  God’s Word is not only our great heritage, but it tells us how much God loves each and everyone of us.  It shows us how to live, to be kind, compassionate and caring for one another.  It gives us structure which will last forever, even when the internet fails.

OPEN THE BOOK & READ IT!

 

 

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REDEMPTIVE WATERS

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL &KATHY BOECHER©
You speak, Lord and the mountains listen,
You open your hand and the power of rushing water jets from their walls,
The cliffs bow down to you,
How majestic is your name in all the world,
Within your fingers you carve the granite into flowage for water,
With one word, you contain those rushing rivers into glasslike lakes,
Your voice holds majesty and steadfastness and all the angels praise your holy name,
With your breath, we are inspired,
Your eyes survey your creation,
What once was good is now spoiled,
But still you maintain control over it,
Not a word or action goes unnoticed,
Not a prayer goes unheard,
Your ever presence comforts and protects us,
The mountains lay low at the sound of your voice,
You command water to spring from barren land,
And it heeds,
You say the word and your will is done,
In spite of us,
Where can we hide from you?
Why would we try?
Let me run to you instead of away,
Lead my steps straight to your waiting arms,
Let me rest in your unfailing love.

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WHAT AN EPIPHANY

Epiphany

We’re not told how many men came. Undoubtedly there were more than three. Being royalty and educated men they must’ve had a caravan of servants.  There were possibly other men of science who were interested in the super nova written about in the ancient scrolls.  This star would lead them to Jerusalem and King Herod.

Herod became interested in this impending threat to his own throne.  He tricked the men into telling him where the child was born so that he could eliminate every male child under the age of two.

They came from the east and traveled over deserts and mountain ranges. It was probably two years before they arrived. By this time the Son of God and His parents were now living in a house.  They must have been surprised to be greeted by these men of wealth, knowledge and power.

We know they carried treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  These gifts were most fitting for the king they hoped to find.  The gold was representative of his royalty.  The frankincense indicated that this king was also God, who should be worshipped as such.  Myrrh was an expensive ointment used in the preparation of a body for burial.  This final gift would be used when the newborn king was readied for His own interment.

Previously we saw how this child, born in poverty, came to the world for the shepherds, the common people and the poor. Now it’s revealed that He was born for all people. Jesus doesn’t exist for only one class of people. He was born to save the entire world.

God isn’t selective in His forgiveness. It’s available to everyone. His requirements for obeying His law are great – too great for us to handle. We all need a redeemer and Jesus was sent for that very purpose. The poor shepherds in the field knew that as well as the wealthy men who brought their precious gifts to Him.  Both groups had incredible news to share with others.  After seeing this child, they knew that the Messiah had come to the world to save it.  They couldn’t contain their joy so they rapidly spread the news.

Our epiphany should be like that.  We have been gifted with the promise of forgiveness of sins and eternal life.  That news is way too important to keep to ourselves, especially in a world filled with constant chaos.

Dear, Holy, Father, God, your Christmas gift to the world is the most precious gift we could receive.  You sent your own Son, born from the bloodline of King David, to fulfill your covenant with mankind.  You alone could provide the perfect atonement for our sins. Thank you for this amazing gift and lead us to share the news that life everlasting awaits those who ask for it.  Keep us in that faith even when the world looks hopeless and our divisions widen.  Bring us together through the knowledge that Jesus is King of Kings and He reigns over all the world.  Amen!

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