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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FATHERHOOD – WISHING YOU HAD DONE BETTER

Of course I don’t know what it’s like being a dad, but I’m quite sure that it’s a lot like being a mother. We have the same hopes and dreams for our kids, we want them to have a better life than we did, we want them to succeed, we want the best for them. Still, I think the common goal in parenting is knowing when and how to discipline.

“Just wait until your father gets home.”  How many times we’ve said that to our children, when I was just plain tired of dealing with the issue of discipline.  It was my way of copping out and also a way for the kids to believe their dad was some kind of monster who would administer justice even if he didn’t know what happened.  I think they refer to it as passing the buck.

When I was a child, spankings were not considered a form of child abuse, but I do agree that they shouldn’t be necessary after the first one.  Discipline should be administered as a means to teach the child and have him learn something in the process.

My husband recalls placing a book in the seat of his pants when he knew he was in for a spanking.  It worked for a while.  My dad never used his hand to discipline, but there were always the looks of disappointment, anger, frustration, followed by a painful tongue lashing.  Often that reprimand was more hurtful than the back of his hand.  Words can often strike harder than any physical pain. On the other hand, my son recalls comparing the handprint on his backside to that of his sister.

One of Webster’s definitions for discipline is – training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.  There’s nothing in there about the means whereby you obtain that result.  However, the Bible is very clear about it.

  • Proverbs 13:24   Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.  (remember the rod was used by shepherds, to guide as well as admonish their flock.
  • Proverbs 22:6    Train up a child in the way he should go;  even when he is old he will not depart from it.  Many of the Bible verses I was told to memorize often come in handy today.
  • Ephesians 6:1-4    Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.    Here we’re reminded that we are subject to the commandments of God.  Honoring our parents isn’t always easy, but it is a requirement that comes with promise for a good life.
  • Hebrews 12:9    Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?   We are constantly faced with choices that will bring good or bad results.  What we learn as children, will give us the tools to decipher the difference.

Whatever method you use, should be laced with love and forgiveness.  Once a child is reprimanded, he should know that you still love him in spite of his mistake and told that he’s forgiven.  Hugs are great reminders of your tender care.

Giving children rules – setting boundaries – teaching them right from wrong and how to treat others – teaching them to be responsible for their actions and apologize if necessary  – all of those are necessary components to discipline.  We are in fact guiding, teaching, preparing our children for the world outside.  They need every ounce of preparation and learning we can give them, because the world is an ugly place.  They will discover, all too soon, just how ugly it is.

Some parents use spankings.  Some resort to time-outs (which is a short internment which doesn’t often mean much to the kids.)  Some take things away from their kids like cell phones, video games, electronics.  Some require some kind of action from the child to show their penance.  I’m no expert on the subject, but as a former parent, I know that no form of punishment works unless there is an interweaving of patience, love and forgiveness.

Always using Jesus as our guide, we show mercy to everyone – especially those we love.  We should exude patience, but always have guidelines and rules.  When the storm is over, we should take them in our arms and remind them that they are loved.

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A FIELD OF TOASTED MARSHMALLOWS

ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A misty, early morning, among the bales of hay,

New life appears and spreads its wings to welcome in each day,

The atmosphere with crystal glow is dusting every bale,

With morning mist and precious dew, with love it does avail,

A tranquil breeze, a breath from God, exhales as it inspires ,

Awakening every living thing, each flower He attires,

With beauty far beyond our view, with colors never seen,

He gives new life to everything and gives it pure and clean,

A drowsy doe arises and sees the waiting feast,

That lingers in the misty morn, to soothe the savage beast,

A bounty there beyond her scope, to last her for the day,

There’s more than she can handle, but that won’t get in her way,

A misty, early morning, among the bales of hay,

Where living things will wander and in its bounty play.

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FATHER IN LAW

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MY FATHER IN LAW ON HIS GRADUATION FROM HIGH SCHOOL

I was blessed to have wonderful in-laws.  My father in law was an undertaker – a kind and caring man with compassion for everyone.  His job was not an easy one.  Add the fact that they made their home in the upstairs quarters of the big mansion which housed the funeral home.

He passed away at 56 years of age.  It was far too young for this man, but many years of hypertension and cigarette smoking took him before his time. He died as he lived – peacefully.  He never lived to see his grandchildren.  His wife suffered greatly at his loss and grew more and more paranoid and disturbed as time went on for her.

During his short life, he accepted the occupation of his father, and carried it forward into a time when the neighborhood had become run down.  It was the location in Milwaukee in which many race riots occurred in the sixties.  Still, he persisted keeping the business going and doing the best possible job he could.  He was determined, dedicated and had a genuine sympathy for the families that came to him for service.

He was active in his church. Took his children fishing and swimming.  Taught them how to be independent, with great people skills.   He also gave them a Christian upbringing, a quiet sense of humor and enjoyed a good laugh.

I never got to know him well in the short years I knew him, but his legacy was passed down to his children.  Both my husband and his sister have the ability to work through difficult times, stand tall in adversity and have an amazing work ethic because of the example their father set for them.

The greatest gift he gave his children, was his love for God.  Their home was only a block from the church, so there were no excuses for not attending.  He came from a German heritage, with strict upbringing, but his gentle spirit made him a great dad, because he had the best of both things.

I wish my children had known him, but they see him in their own father.  He continues to live in him and the lessons they’ve learned will be carried on to their children as well.

We tend to immortalize those who have passed before us, but I sincerely believe my father-in-law had a great influence on me, even though I didn’t know him for long.  I thank God everyday for producing the son that would eventually become my husband and for giving me a chance to see the beauty of the relationship that grew through them.

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SHOW ME THE WAY, LORD

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

My life is filled with twists and turns, with bumps along the path.
A crooked road that’s filled with holes – reminders of God’s wrath.
The way becomes corrupted with thorns and tangled webs.
My feet are often stifled, my hope and spirit ebbs.

It seems as though I’ll never reach the end of that dark road.
I feel I just can’t carry another heavy load,
But there beyond my mind’s dark fears, lies light to lead the way.
My Lord and Savior, Jesus is reaching out to say,

“Come follow me, my little lamb. I’ll lead you to your rest.
I’ll never let you fall again, no longer will I test.
Your journey has been difficult, but you’ve not been alone.
Come follow me, my servant, and let me take you home.”

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MY CUP RUNNETH OVER

I will be talking about dads this week, since their special day is right around the corner. What would we be without them? Well we wouldn’t BE without them. As I recently watched the movie, “I Can Only Imagine,” I could totally relate to the relationship between the father and son. I also had the opportunity to watch Mitch Teemley’s movie, “The Healing River.” Both of these films had a common thread – forgiveness. When we learn to forgive others for what they may or may not have done to shape us, we’re freeing ourselves from future hurt, shame and anger.

The first film deals with a young boy who is abused by his father, but overcomes by turning to his music. Eventually the heart of his music is revealed through words of forgiveness. It was about the son’s forgiveness of the dad who had hurt physically and emotionally. Mitch Teemley’s flick also deals with relationships and forgiveness. A young man’s life is snuffed out by another young man who has made some poor choices, based on his relationship with his father. In both cases, the boys eventually were able to forgive their dads and became free to change their lives and move on to the freedom that God gives us through His forgiveness.

I’d venture to say that almost every young person has had a run in with their dad at one point or another. I recall many. My dad was not one for physical punishment, but his words or lack of them could often inflict more pain than any spanking. Like all of us, he had many problems to overcome as a child. His own father deserted the family when dad was just a young boy. He became responsible for his three siblings from then on. That explains a lot. Most of us have a dark side. My dad did too. He had a strange way of expressing his love. We never really knew how he would react from one minute to the next. He drank excessively. He worked hard to give us a Christian education. He cheated on his wife. He went to church every Sunday and had the most beautiful tenor voice I’ve ever heard. Instead of words of encouragement, he often spoke criticism. For all my years living under his roof, I never really knew him.

When I became a parent myself, God began to reveal in me the ability to forgive him for the way he related to us. I can now say that I truly understand what he was going through. Parenting is never easy, even when you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth and all your needs are provided for. There will be tough bridges to cross – decisions to be made – every day life experiences that get in the way of moving along smoothly.

For a long time I had difficulty understanding who God, the Father is. I compared my own dad with Him. I didn’t honor my father, so I couldn’t get into a close relationship with my heavenly Dad. When I had children of my own, I began to understand. I was so fortunate to have married a man steeped in the love of God, that it eventually rubbed off on me, but it took me a long time. Even though I’d been trained in God’s Word for most of my life, the idea of a Father who was willing to give up everything for me, because of His love was almost foreign to me.

Once we see what God, the Father did for us, the door to eternity opens and it makes it so much easier for us to forgive others. Even when our hearts have been hardened, God doesn’t give up on us. He loves us in spite of ourselves. As we approach Father’s Day, let’s place the honor where it truly belongs. God first loved us. He gave His Son to die for us. He rose Jesus from the pangs of the grave, to show us where we will be after our death.

Dear, Father, God,

You’ve shown us what fatherly love is all about. Your love comes with no strings. Continue to lead us through our journey by reminding us that we can always count on you. Help us remember that you created fathers to be the spiritual leaders of the family and even when they misuse that power, you forgive them. Help us learn the kind of unconditional love for one another. Bring us back to the knowledge that you are the head of each family and teach us to learn to forgive. Amen!

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ATTITUDE

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
― 
Cha
rles Swindoll

Is it a sign of our times?  Have we become a stubborn people?  Has the voice of those we employ as our political representatives, given in to the dogged determination of their own thinking, rather than doing the work of we the people?

Throughout the history of man, attitude can be a great motivator or an even greater detriment.  When we’re stubborn, we’re often immovable as well.  Nothing anyone says or does will change our mind.  We believe we’re right and no words, deeds or other solutions are going to influence us.

In God’s Word we hear about the stubbornness of God’s people, Israel, as they hardened their hearts against their Creator. We see it as they fled from Egypt and found more and more to complain about.

Psalm 81:11-12 ““But my people did not listen to my voice.   Israel would not submit to me.  So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own counsels.”

Attitude is one of those attributes that conjures ideas of negativity to most of us, but it can be a great tool as well.  When we’re stubborn for the right reasons, we are taking a stand and fighting for our beliefs.  It takes a certain amount of tenacity to be stubborn.  The word itself is connected to be persistent, adamant and determined.  It’s also associated with being headstrong, unreasonable and pigheaded.

It seems to me that God wants us to follow Him in all our ways.  When we’re considering things that will effect millions of others, we should consider carefully and look to God for answers that would serve Him well.  We need to be steadfast in His teachings and strong willed when it comes to doing His work.

Unfortunately our people have lost some of that original stubborn as a mule mentality.  We’ve become stiff-necked, resistant and often unreasonable.  Being stubborn has positive connotations too.  Maybe it’s time to look at that side of it.

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MY QUIVER IS FULL

There are no words to describe how I feel about my family. They are my greatest treasure.

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VERY SPECIAL DAY

Today is June 12th. The sky is cloudless, the air is fresh and clean. All the plans leading up to this day are in place and it’s going to be a blast. Today is our second grandson’s birthday. He has grown into a self sufficient young man with a lot of hopes and dreams for the future. We are proud of his accomplishments so far and look forward to seeing those goals met. Our only granddaughter, Kaeli, will be celebrating her graduation from high school with friends and family after months of preparation for this day by her loving parents. Our family will all be together again today, minus the two grandsons. Their parents arrived yesterday and will be here until Monday. What a joy to spend some long awaited time with them.

As I think back to when these two were youngsters, so many memories are stirred. I recall their times together on stage – their individual personality traits manifesting themselves – their relationships growing and their love for each other building. These two will make a difference in the world ahead of them. They both possess the love of God and have faith that He will influence their journey.

Our children and grandchildren are our greatest heritage. We can leave monitary things behind when we die, but nothing will replace the lives, the closeness, the family bond that has resulted from our joining together some 57 years ago. When we married, we had no idea what would come from that union, but looking back, we can be assured that God has been with all of us throughout our lives and will continue beyond our existence.

Happy birthday, Josh. May you continue to travel through life with the Lord at your side and behind your back. He has great plans for you. Congratulations, Kaeli, for reaching this next step on the ladder to your future. We know that you have made wise decisions in your short life and will continue to prosper throughout your days. May God continue to bless the work He has already done in you.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” Psalm 127:3-4 ESV

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CLOUDS

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Like a giant vacuum, sucking vapor from the earth,
Descending down from heaven, like angels in their mirth,
Billowing up so very high, the sky can barely hold them,
Sprays of multi-colors rise, kisses and enfolds them,
Cotton candy on a stick, with gossamer wings that fly,
Mottled pink and mauve connect, confection for the eye,
Striated up above the world in a myriad of shades,
They act just like a fortress, of powerful palisades.
When night time comes they disappear from our imperfect vision,
But when the sun returns again, they come back with precision,
God’s own strong hand has placed them there so we would find some peace,
He also opens up the sky and shares in their release.

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THE FABULOUS FIVE

Dateline June, 11 1776

On this day in history, the Continental Congress appointed a committee of five to write the Declaration of Independence from their mother country, England. The men chosen for this committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjament Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York. Adams and Jefferson would one day become presidents of the United States. We all know that Franklin became a world ambassador and played with kites occasionally. Very little is known about the other two men, so curiousity got hold of this Kat to delve into the history.

Roger Sherman would go on to be a U.S. senator. He started his career as a lawyer, went on to become a judge and was the only signer of the Declaration of Independence to go on to sign all four of the great state papers of the United States, including the Declaration,  the Continental Association, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. He was 55 years old when the Declaration was drawn up and lived to be 72.

Robert R. Livingston – 1746-1813 became the Chancellor of New York in 1777 at the age of 31. He became a lawyer and joined a prominent law office and later became quite eminent in his profession. He administered the Oath of Office to George Washington when he became the first president of the United States in 1789. He later became the ambassador to France and negotioated the Louisiana Purchase.

It took a while for the Declaration to be completed before being presented to the Congress. Thomas Jefferson, because of his way with words, was assigned to write the first draft. This document has served our country along with the Constitution for many years. It’s hard to imagine a document maintaining itself for over two hundred years.

So today take a look at the Declaration and imagine, if you will, five men determining the way of the American people. The rough draft would undergo changes, with regard to slavery. It would seem that the slave trade would be untouched for another hundred years. I believe that God was in control during the writing of these ancient documents. His brand is written within the words. Unfortunately our country has nearly forgotten about the American dream and hopes of a government that would work for the people and be governed by the people still needs to be revisited. It might be a good idea to put God back into the equation.

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CALM BEFORE THE STORM

ART & POETRY by PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

As I sit at my window this morning, a cold front is slowly moving across the sky. The humidity and dew point have finally taken a dive. Soon refreshing rain will come to replenish the earth and give new vigor to the plants. Thank you, Lord, God, for always giving us relief. In Jesus name I pray. Amen!


Life and all its rigor, anxiety and friction,

Comes to a screeching halt when you find that tranquil place,

A sanctuary that gives you complete peace.  

It can be held in words written on a page,

The sounds of nature,

Or the music of a classical masterpiece.

It can be a memory of a place once traveled –

A site untouched by human hands which has endured the test of time –

A place where only you and God exist together in perfect harmony.

But storms will come, clouds will gather, perilous skies will open,

Shooting its ammunition upon our heads and into our lives,

We become tattered, broken and worn,

But God’s sanctuary remains the same,

Constant,

Consistent,

Compassionate,

Filled with love everlasting.

If we simply let it rain.

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DAY BY DAY

Yesterday I visited my doctor for a yearly physical – which has extended into more like a year and a half. With the pandemic, my usual six month checkups had taken a back seat. During that time, all kinds of thoughts develop in your mind. You imagine having COVID19 at least once a day. Every little symptom – from the smallest ache and pain to the one that shakes you up a bit – it becomes apparent that we are all mere mortals.

During my time in isolation, I’ve managed to stay busy mentally, but the time was spent mainly sitting down at my computer. When one sits for hours a day, she can expect most of her weight to shift to her bottom, which it did. I was convinced that I’d gained at least 30 pounds. I was pleasantly surprised to find I didn’t. I even gained an inch in height, which means I don;t have to have a bone density test. All my vitals were in the normal range and my asthma/aka COPD is well under control even without the use of a daily inhaler. In all good news. Looks like I’m good for another 10,000 miles. I also discovered that you can say “no” to a colonoscopy, a mammogram, a bone density test or any of those other nasty, intrusive tests that we all dread having.

However, we never know the hour or day of our final time on earth. Any one of us could be in harms way or distress at a moment’s notice. The point is, are we ready? I’ve had a couple of near death experiences in my life, so can attest to the fact that we never know when our time will come. That means we must make the most of every moment we’re still here. We can do that by sharing God’s amazing grace with other – through our writing, our art, our voice, our zeal, our passion for the wonderful message God has freely given us.

In the meantime, it’s always good to get a clean bill of health.

Life on this planet is but a whisper in the scheme of things.
We are born, we grow, we learn, we work, we die.
What has happened to all those days in between?

They have become food for dreams, memories to ponder,
Hopes to continue striving for. They get foggier as we age.
The windshield of our existence needs to be defrosted.

We have but a few years to leave our mark – to create a legacy –
To share with others – to love and be loved.
If only there were more of them. There’s so little time and so much to do.

I feel a nagging desire to complete every goal I set out before it’s too late.
I have words to share, friends and strangers who need encouragement.
I pray that God will find a way for me to do all that I need to get done.

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THREE TREES

ART & POETRY B PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Three trees stood firmly planted upon a mountain high,

They served as guarding sentries and reached up to the sky,

When time was ripe and days drew near, God needed every one,

The one that stood between the two, would hold His own dear Son.

Each one would serve a purpose, to fulfill the prophesy.

The promise of redemption would hang upon a tree,

Two were common criminals, but Jesus bore no guilt,

He hung for six short hours, ’til all His blood was spilt,

One of the guilty criminals, knew this was God’s own Son,

The other mocked and laughed at Him, the judgment had begun,

The paschal lamb was sacrificed upon that middle tree,

He died so that new life would come, He died for you and me.

The trees have long been tossed aside, their purpose has been served,

The sinless Son took on our sin, a gift we don’t deserve,

He came to seek and save the lost, it was the only way,

For us to enter heaven’s gate, our sins were swept away.

But that was not the end of it, He rose again to life,

He conquered death, gave us that gift, defeated Satan’s strife,

So we someday can see His face, and know His loving touch,

And walk beside this Holy One, who gave us all so much.

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THE END GAME

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

Remnants of a frozen past, dangling branches kissed at last,

Dreams of respite from the cold, thoughts of ever growing old,

Sapped of life and wanting more, grasping for that final door,

Then when all seems lost and done, Heaven opens with the sun,

Warmer days and star filled nights, lift you to new glorious heights,

Earth gives way to life anew, fresh, green buds are breaking through,

Smells of earth and wind and rain, dance within your tired brain.

Washing clean the pangs of death, giving you new life – new breath,

Then comes summer blazing hot, scorching, searing afterthought,

Lazy days of contemplation, dawdling in God’s sweet creation,

Thoughts of  everlasting peace, mingled with a temperate breeze,

Then the earth begins to dry, things give up and start to die,

Even then the beauty springs, colors burst and heaven sings,

The final act, the seasons done, nothing is new under the sun,

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IS YOUR AGE GETTING IN THE WAY OF LIVING?

It seems that every day is a reminder of God’s grace in my life – especially when I get close to another birthday. Wrinkles and laugh lines have been apparent for a long time now, so they don’t really bother me any more. I’ve learned to laugh at my infirmities – like hearing loss, sagging body parts, failing eyesight and all the other things that go along with almost eight decades of living. As Paul and I read our daily devotion from David Kitz’s second volume of “Psalms 365,” this morning, it happened to be on the subject of aging.

Paul could totally relate to the physical aspects of aging. Years of abuse to his knees as he climbed mountains, trekked over hiking trails, played tennis, served as a Pioneer leader, worked on a farm, and did difficult tasks through out his 79 years has taken a toll on those knobby knees of his. I, on the other hand, have the knees of a 17 year old (so says the orthopedic doctor I saw a couple years ago.) I wonder why they hurt so much. Both of us get discouraged when we can’t do what we physically did only five years ago. When you’ve led a fruitful life with twists and turns throughout, it’s hard to slow down, so there are times when we have to accept the fact that we are growing old. The beautiful truth is that we’re doing it together.

We aren’t dead yet! There are days when we feel like it, but we press on for as long as God wants us to walk the earth. The legacy we leave will be reflected in our children, our grandchildren, future generations, those we’ve taught over the years and those we’ve learned from.

It is frustrating to see yourself becoming your aging mother. It’s hard realizing that your offspring are now taking over the parenting role and you have become their children. Giving up our independence is tough for any age, but we don’t have to throw in the towel yet. The golden years may be tarnished a bit, but it’s amazing what a little TarnX will do. The remedy is simple and it doesn’t require daily polishing, like the fine silver does. We learn to take one day at a time. Day by day, our path has already been planned for us. Fight as we will, we still want to be in charge, but maybe these aging days are meant for us to continue what we’ve been good at all our lives. We may not do so with the same gusto, but we will be doing what we love.

The aging process is not for the faint of heart, but we can take heart. Our journey is not yet over. God still has a purpose for our living. Some days I wish He’d spell it out clearly for us. but then where would the excitement be? Each day gifted to us is another opp;ortunity for us to share God’s love with others. Each day is another time of grace for us to grow closer to Him.

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CUTTING THROUGH MOUNTAINS

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Carved from depths of hardened granite, pushing forth with force unknown,

Placed upon this glorious planet, by the Hand of God alone,

Through His skill and engineering, His design fits every need,

With a simple word adhering, placing land where lakes recede,

Uncorrupted intersections – undefiled throughout the years,

Crevices and great projections set tightly in a veil of tears,

Tears descending from the Father as He watches His dear Son.

Give His life for every other, so that new life can be won.

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MORNING LIGHT

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER© ART & B

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Shades of purple, mauve and fuschia, kiss the tender, newborn growth,

Light creates most glorious patterns in the river to betroath,

Skipping, dancing, with a passion, never seen in man’s own eyes,

Mirrored shades of pink and azure, falling from the morning skies,

In the quiet, peaceful morning, God awakens life once more,

Breathing fresh, new inspiration, on the meadow’s spacious floor,

All His creatures He provides for, giving them both food and rest,

Keeping them from harm and danger, when they’re put through daily tests,

If He cares for these the lowly, how much more He cares for all,

He is there for His creation, whether great or even small,

In the stillness of the morning, ’til the darkness of the night,

He will guide our every footstep, keeping us within His sight.

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GRADUATION DAY – NOW WHAT?

It’s finally come – your high school graduation,

So now what are you going to do?

You look quite amazing – beyond expectation,

Just think of what you have been through.

You’ve gained so much knowledge in twelve years of schooling,

The paper you hold is the proof,

Your future awaits as your life is refueling,

You are bound to raise up the roof.

Your strong perseverance and faith in your Savior,

Will guide you through times of distress,

He’ll be there each day to protect your behavior,

Leading you away from the mess.

As you open the door to this undertaking,

Remember where from you have come,

A new door is opening, a new life you’re making,

Now tighten it up like a drum.

Your future is filled with unknown expectations,

But your steps will fashion your way,

Trust God will be with you in all celebrations,

Start with this graduation day.

LOVE YOU FOREVER AND ALWAYS.,

GRANDPA PAUL & GRANDMA KATHY

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FROM BIRTH TO DEATH

There are few movies that my husband agree on watching together – westerns and old war movies. Last night we watched “Broken Trail,” with Robert Duvall. The above quote seemed to be his favorite funeral eulogy as he led a herd of 500 wild horses to market. He was accompanied by a nephew and another fellow and they met up with several folks along the way – some had to be buried, while others were living under slavery. The movie started with the sex slavery in China in the late 1800s – with girls being sold into prostitution for the men of the old west. I was about ready to change it to something else, but I do like Robert Duvall and he usually has a good message within his movies. So we continued to watch. It turned out to be a beautiful saga, with magnficent scenery and interesting twists and turns.

King Solomon and many other notables, have spoken about our travel through life as being a time for everything in this world – a time to be born – a time to die.  What about all the years in between?

How about the time you experience your first kiss, or get dumped by the one who kissed you?  How about going through childbirth and realizing that the pain was nothing compared to what happens next?  What about the days you felt alone and had no one to talk to? How about the dumb decisions you made that led you away from the truth?  We all go through different seasons, in different ways, with many different solutions or results.  Which season are you currently in?

When you’re a toddler, your mind is that of an explorer – one who wants to know about everything – where it comes from, what it tastes like, what you can do with it, how you can benefit from it.  Especially how it can benefit you.

As a teen you continue to learn, but now you know everything – or at least you think you do.  You challenge every adult in your path, you spread your wings, you try to be independent, but you realize you still need a roof over your head.  Again, how will it benefit you personally.

When you reach young adulthood, we’re in transition from knowing it all to realizing we don’t know nearly enough and that 4 year college degree won’t cut it so you continue the never ending pursuit of knowledge.  You may find the love of your life at this time and continue to wonder how life is going to benefit you, so you get married and have a family.

At this point in the seasons of life, you realize (or should) that it no longer is about you.  You are now the one who is supposed to be responsible for other lives.  Some succeed while others fail miserably, but life goes on.

In middle age, the youngsters are now in their teens and don’t need you anymore, because they know everything, so you begin to refocus on yourself.  This is the time of the mid-life crisis, career changes, divorce, re-identifying yourself.  Once more it’s all about you.

As you near retirement, you look forward to days in the sun, travel to exotic places, being waited on and cared for more than any time in your life.  Guess what?  It isn’t all about you then either.  Now your time is spent sitting in waiting rooms, visiting specialists,having every possible test done to determine how to make you last longer.  You may work out at the gym twice as hard with half the results.  Your digestive system can’t tolerate Big Macs anymore.  Your days grow shorter and you spend more time in sleep. Isn’t it funny how we start out sleeping more than we’re awake and wind up in the same condition?

Finally that last season arrives.  It’s one no one wants to face.  It’s that final step that takes you into the unknown, but if you’ve grown to know your Savior over those earlier seasons, you know something better awaits you on the other side.

Every season has its pluses and minuses, but I think God intends for us to experience each one with gusto.  For example, in my current season, I now have more time to spend with those nearing death – to comfort and support them.  I can do some meaningless chore for them which they can no longer do.  I can spend quality time with my grandchildren and adult children.  I can pursue some of the interests I never had time for before.  I can continue to live until God calls me home.

So is life really meaningless?  I don’t think so.  I think it’s a time devoted to getting us ready for that last season – Heaven!

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THE SUN BREAKS THROUGH

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

The sun breaks through the morning sky,

Tufts of gilded  white, nestles into a silver lining,

Filling the expanse,

With brilliant shades of gold,

The sun peeks over the horizon,

The heavens explode,

Pouring waves of motion,

Designed to hold the plan for our day,

Swirling,

Weaving,

Kissing the world with promise,

God is so Good!

“He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
    and turns deep darkness into the morning
    and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
    and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
the Lord is his name.” Am
os 5:8

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