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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DON’T WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW . . .

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Each day is a blessing.  We’ve made it through another night.  Our hearts are beating and breath fills our lungs.  We’re not dead yet.

There are times when I wish that my life would end.  I’m the age where many friends are going to heaven – where their suffering has come to an end – where there are no more tears, sadness, fear or feelings of loss or persecution.  Peace – beautiful freedom from the cares of the world.

Death can be an end to our troubles.  It can usher in a freedom from all the chaos and ugliness of the world.  It can also be used as an escape which God doesn’t intend for His people.  When we give up and give in to the perils of living and choose death, we’re violating His commandment not to kill.

I’m hearing so much lately about various lives mattering.  I’m also hearing that many take offense at the phrase, “all lives matter.”  Can someone tell me why that is offensive.  Life in the womb matters.  Life of those with special needs matters  Lives of those who cannot care for themselves matter.  Lives of the poor matter.  Lives of the elderly matter.  Lives of all races matter.  Life matters or God would not have created it.  He created man in His image, with various strengths and talents.  Race makes no difference to Him.  He doesn’t care if we’re too young or too old.  He looks beyond our disabilities and loves each of us the same.  We’re His creation and also His children.

We’re in an inexplainable time right now.  We’re facing tragedy, health concerns, violence and unrest, political upheaval, turning from God, self-dependence and many more situations which tug at our minds and hearts every day. There is reason to be depressed, unhappy, fearful.  There is also need for us to turn to our Creator and ask for His help while we travel this world.  He will hear our prayers if we simply go to Him.

We’ve been separated from God for a very long time.  That has caused us to flounder in our journey.  It’s totally unnecessary.  God has taken care of all our needs today and He will again tomorrow.  We need not worry, because He’s always there for all of us, because we all matter to Him.

 

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LAZY HAZY DAYS

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ART & INSPIRATION FROM PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Can you imagine sitting on the stump of a downed tree at the edge of the river?  Your makeshift fishing line dangles lifelessly.  You dip  your toes into the refreshing water.  The sun is hot and this is a perfect day to go down by the riverside for some welcome relief.

A paddle boat from another time floats by – chugging along as the paddle wheel powers the engine – it’s blades slicing through the water. Reminder of a quieter more peaceful time – a time which stood still for a while, as you let all your cares float away with it.

The dog days of summer are drawing near again.  Today we gain relief from our air conditioned homes.  We may cook and dine outside to make the most of this pleasurable weather.  Some choose to stay inside for the entire hot season.  Oh what they’re missing.

In the beauty of God’s creation, our souls become refreshed – our bodies renewed – our minds cleared.  We can unwind, kick out the demons, renew and restore our hearts. I guess that’s why God created the seasons.  Each has its own form of restoration.

Dear Creator of Heaven and Earth, you’ve provided a place for us to live and enjoy our living.  The core of your creation calls out to us – Come unto me and I will give you rest.  The Spirit sweeps through nature like the invisible wind.  Breathe your spirit on us today and help us to appreciate all your blessings.  Amen!

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RENEWED

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ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

The seasons of life are just seven, yet sometimes they last even more,

Our destination is heaven, but think of what’s gone before,

Each chapter is full, each page covered too,

The people that fill it are many or few,

There’s laughter and sadness, and tears fill our eyes,

Our goals are oft met, but the time often flies,

What we have accomplished upon this sad earth,

Will not be remembered or have any worth,

What matters is this and not a bit more,

That God was there with us, and is evermore.

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WHERE IS GOD?

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There is so much to be thankful for in a world that seems to have run amok. We wonder where God is in all this, but can’t seem to put our finger on Him.  We know His promises are always kept.  He doesn’t lie and He loves us unconditionally.  Still we can’t wrap our minds around what’s going on in our world.  Where is God?

For months we’ve been shut out of the world by a disease.  Yet when civil unrest overtakes a city, masks come off, social distancing is ignored and it seems there is no God.  Where did He go?

We see loved ones dying, illness causing suffering, financial disaster causing a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. How will we pay our bills?  How can we muddle through when we have no way to provide for ourselves?  Where is God?

We see man’s inhumanity to his brothers as violence erupts in our city streets.  Classrooms, once filled with students eager to learn, had lost a sense of discipline because of restrictions put upon educators. In the name of humane behavior, children lost respect for those in authority.  They lost their trust of their elders and somehow they became the enemy.  Where is God?

Small steps to the disintegration of a society have been taking place in our nation for a long time.  Our political leaders spend money foolishly, investigate to the hilt with no results and push laws through that pull us further away from our Constitution.  Buildings are burned, memorials  are desecrated, tear gas disperses crowds, rubber bullets fly and order cannot be controlled.  Law enforcement has become the enemy.  Where is God?

Churches remain closed or restricted, we see unfair treatment of those who want to worship while big box stores remain open allowing many to shop for essentials at their own risk.  Where is God?

Summer is right around the corner.  A time of heat and restlessness usually occurs during this time.  We have had a year like none other in our memory and we can’t help but wondering what we’re supposed to learn from all this.  Can we recover from the difficulties of the past few months?  Can we return to a peaceful society and life as we used to know it?  Where is God?

God isn’t limited by the boundaries of heaven and earth.  He can weave His way into the hearts of men and heal entire populations from disease, drought, famine, pain and loss.  He can turn darkness into day.  He will move mountains when necessary.  He provides for the birds of the air and the animals as they struggle to survive.  How much more will He care for us.  God created our world.  We messed it up.  If we ask Him,  He will heal our hearts, mend our bodies, restore peace, love away our emotional and physical pain.
God is everywhere. Just seek and you will find Him.

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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THROW BACK THURSDAY

A collage of various roles I’ve played over the years.

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THURSDAY NONSENSE

My husband spent his working years in the advertising industry. His ability to come up ideas in a flash, along with visual sketches to sell the client on those ideas helped him to succeed in the wild world of the Madman years.  For four decades he helped others to sell their wares through creative  means.  Times have changed the way we look at things and one generation’s point of view often differs with the other, but I thought I’d post a few silly print ads as a reminder of what we were and what we are today.  We definitely need a change of pace in this mad, mad world of ours.

 

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NO GOD, NO PEACE – KNOW GOD, KNOW PEACE …..

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There is no vacuum in the human heart. Certain demolitions take place, and it is well that they do, but on condition that they are followed by reconstructions.

My state has launched an all out investigation into our police department. This has been a long time in coming and it only took the burning of businesses, the loss of life and jobs for some, the destruction of property and the looting and pillaging of our city.  Don’t get me wrong.  I truly believe there has been injustice in the way matters are handled by some police officers.  Corruption is not limited to the streets and the thugs who stir insurrection, but it has been growing like a cancer, slowly devouring law enforcement, elected officials and government at all levels.  It’s time for non-violent action and I laud our governor for taking swift action.  We must make sure he carries through.
In the past, protests have gone unheard.  The voices crying for change have been silenced.  As time passes, even the violence is overlooked and often shoved under the rug.  The problem is not addressed and years pass without action and in time we will see another uprising.
I pray this is the start of some true rebuilding, but only time will tell.
We all have an opportunity to do something about the chaos that’s ringing out in our cities.  We can contribute to food shelves.  We can go into the trenches and help rebuild.  We can give hope to those who have lost everything just by standing by them and giving them encouragement.  We can let them know that God still loves them and wants the best for them.  We can lend a hand in any way possible.  We can pray.  We can pick up a broom and sweep away the broken glass, but we can’t heal broken hearts.  Only God can do that.
I want the truth to be found.  I want to know if our law enforcement is corrupt.  I want to be aware of wrongdoings by those in higher places. I want to know that there is no political agenda attached to this on either side of the aisle.  I think we, as American citizens deserve answers.  We can’t live under a shell and be blinded by the hope that everything is all right.  Our tax dollars are being spent on those being investigated and we deserve to know if our money is being well spent.
I’ve seen some wonderful things going on in my community.  There’s been an outpouring of food and essential supplies for those who have been displaced by this horror.  Dollars have been raised to help them regroup.  Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and Caucasians are standing shoulder to shoulder and picking up the pieces of their past lives.  This is how it should be.  The biggest solutions come from those who are willing to work together.
I’ve heard about young people watching over their own neighborhoods, protecting and checking for any suspicious activity.   Being a strong neighborhood depends on the people who live there.  We should all be so diligent and watchful.  I’ve heard stories of various groups praying and singing together.  Some worshiping a different God, yet their hope is in something greater than themselves.  There is so much more love in this disastrous event that goes unseen, because it doesn’t contain all the flashy news of fanning the flames of discontent.
Peace is something that can not come to be until we look within ourselves.  Instead of playing the blame game, we must start within.  If we aren’t doing anything about the core problem, we’re as guilty as those who set fires and break windows.
I pray that good will come from this and that those who have suffered death because of it, will not have died in vain.

 

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WHERE IS THE PEACE?

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ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL T. & KATHY BOECHER©

When life seems overwhelming and the hope for peace has drifted,

We struggle with the discontent and pray for burdens lifted,

But our days on earth are numbered, our time is soon gone by,

We fill our hours with wrong pursuits and then we simply die.

 

But when you travel with the Lord, your outlook quickly changes,

The goals you set, the plans you make, He often rearranges,

We have no clue to what’s ahead, but in His master plan,

We know what He’s prepared for us can’t be achieved by man.

 

His blueprint for our path is often filled with  worldly strife,

We struggle on and trust in Him throughout our earthly life,

Our dreams are often shattered, we wonder where is God,

We fail to trust,  we oft give up, when through this life we plod.

 

But when it all is over, when breath departs our frame,

In confidence we rest in Him who took away our shame,

The shelter of that valley soon brings great calm and rest,

To be with all the saints of God, the brightest and the best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TEARS FALLING

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

I am crying on the inside as my heart slowly breaks over the events surrounding us this year.  Tears can cleanse some of the ugly from our lives, but only God can wash it all away.  We need His intercession NOW!

A mixture of saline and water which appears during a specific episode.
It can occur when a foreign object enters the area.
It can be produced through irritation, emotion, a strong odor or taste.
It acts as a cleanser. It can come at the most unpredictable times.
When your heart is aching over a lost love.
When you’ve shared angry words with a friend or spouse.
When a loved one departs this temporary life.
When you feel alone, betrayed, hopeless.
When there are no words to express what is in the heart.
God give us these little droplets to renew us – to release the sadness –
To wash away anger, frustration, grief, loss.
They can come gushing out or merely trickle.
They are tears.
Tears give us new strength and power.
Every time I cry, I feel as though the flood gates have opened.
Once the cry is over there is true sense of relief.
Thank you, Lord, for tears. Help me to know that they are a good thing.
Keep me from being embarrassed or ashamed when my tears fall.
Remind me of the tears shed at your death.
Assure me that through your resurrection and ascension, I will see you.
My tears of sorrow will turn to tears of joy when I enter heaven.
After that time there will be no more tears.

 

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ONCE UPON A TIME – UPRISING

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The climate was right.  Summer heat had overtaken the city.  It was a holiday – a day of remembrance for those who had died defending their fellow man. In one part of the city, a white man, hired to serve his community, subdued a black man and placed his knee on the man’s throat. The man died.  The city roared in anger at this injustice.  Their anger turned to rage and spread throughout the community of those already cloistered from the reality of life.

Again we watched from the comfort of our homes as city streets filled with protesters – walking arm in arm and side by side.  There was no social distancing.  There were masks, but were they being used to shield others from a deadly disease or as a means of disguising who they were?  The crowds gathered at first to protest peacefully.  It was a right given them by the law of the land.

As happens when crowds gather and are incited by others to do violence, the protests turned ugly and the city went up in flames.  Shops were looted.  Items from those stores were carried off or destroyed.  Glass crumbled under the hands and feet of violent people who had been stirred to make the most of a bad situation.  The cause was no longer just.  The man who lay dead could not come back to life because of it.  The man who killed him would not be judged fairly because of it.  The deed had already been done.

For days the violence continued.  Some said it was a plot to undermine the country and eventually start another civil war.  Some blamed the white race for their inaction. Others blamed the blacks.  Some blamed the law enforcers.  Others pointed fingers at the lawmakers and elected officials.  All of them pointed fingers away from themselves.

Eventually the violent behavior spread out across the entire land.  No longer were they confined to their homes.  They left their cocoons and took on what they deemed a righteous war.  All the years of oppression had culminated into another battle.  Cries for justice – hands raised in solidarity – the call of resistance against current laws and complacency screamed loudly in the night sky as flames licked the businesses that once thrived in these neighborhoods and burned them into oblivion.

Barricades were set to protect those behind them.  Troops entered the city.  The presence of military uniforms mingled with those of local law enforcement.  Streets filled with more and more voices and cries for justice.

The people wondered if this would ever end.  Would they continue to be held captive in their homes?  Would the disease again rise because so many were blind to the restrictions?  Would there be another catastrophe on the next day?  In their secret places, many cried out to God.  They begged for mercy on an evil world.  Some blamed God for all the tragedies that were unfolding before their eyes.  They cried tears of pain, loss, anger.  They hugged each other as if it was the last time they would do so. None of it would change what had occurred.

They went to sleep wondering if they would have a world to wake up to.  Still they went to sleep hearing the cries for justice and peace and yet there would be none.

 

 

 

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SORTING THROUGH THE ASHES

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Way back in time, we were introduced to televised news. The invention brought us closer to events that shocked, disturbed and incited many.  As years passed, we became used to this means of communication.  We relied on it to predict coming storms, to shape our investments and to make plans for the day and week to come.

In the years between 1955 and 1975, the war in Viet Nam played out on those same TV sets as we ate our frozen dinners. We watched the war unfold as imbedded reporters and photographers showed the horrific details.  We watched with intense fear and wondered why.  We viewed a sitting president mortally shot in the head.  We witnessed  his killer apprehended and arrested.  We looked on in disbelief as the assassin was then killed by a man connected to organized crime.  For years following we saw others shot and killed for various political and social issues,  All of this unfolded right before our eyes.

In the 1960s we saw fire hoses douse riots and billy clubs used to assault crowds of protesters who only wanted to be heard.  Soon the electronic industry introduced us to instant news – on the spot reporting – through the world wide web.

This past week in my city and in others around my country, a flame has turned into a firestorm and more than businesses have been destroyed.  Property has been stolen by a group of thugs who have no interest in bringing about change to a broken system.  For one full week, we’ve sat in front of our television sets, intent on our computer screens and phones, waiting for the next horrific act to unfold before our eyes.  Have we become the Romans of ancient days, who sat in the colosseum waiting for Christians to be devoured by hungry lions?

Yesterday, my heart ached not only for my city, but for my country and the world we inhabit.  I was overwhelmed by the destruction.  I was moved by the peaceful protests.  I was shocked by how quickly that peace could be disrupted.

Words cannot heal the scars of something that’s been festering since the days when man was first enslaved by other men – when they were deemed as property and not human beings.

It will take a long time for us to sort through all of this.  The battle against racial injustice will not happen over night.  It will not gain strength through creating volatile situations.  Violence isn’t the answer, even when it gets the attention of those who we’ve elected to govern us.

What we find in the ashes will provide the answers for much of what we’ve experienced in our civil unrest.  When we turn our focus to the core issues, there is hope.  When our hope is in the Lord, we will be renewed – even in these times of tribulation.  We must not live in fear – not of a virus nor of a malady that lies deep within our souls and rips away at our conscience.  The world is full of evil and destruction on many levels, but we can’t allow them to overtake us.

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OVERWHELMED

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Psalm 42:7 “Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.”

Glacial waters rush and flow from highest mountain peaks,

They tumble over rocks and brush, a quiet place they seek,

The glorious power that carries them, will also let them rest,

For God has got His hand in it, He puts it to the test,

When life comes crashing down on us, we often run and hide,

The turmoil rages and destroys, but still we can abide,

In God’s green valleys we will share, the rest that He’ll provide,

If we just put our trust in Him, the waters will subside.

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SUNDAY PRAYER

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Dear, God,

This has been quite a week.  As restrictions began to loosen, there was a new sense of freedom.  The fear of contracting a disease had somewhat lessened, but still we were unsure about many things.

On Monday, a man was unjustly murdered by a police officer.  Immediately the streets filled with protesters and calls for action.  Within the next few days, thoughts about COVID19 were nothing but a vague memory,  Protests turned violent.  Members of hate groups arrived and torched our city, making it look like a war zone.  In less than a week our world had been turned upside down as National Guard troops were summoned to return order from the chaos.

The anger, hate, rage and misdirected thinking quickly spread to other parts of our nation.  Our young adults saw a broken system.  Our families retreated to their homes

in fear.  Our elderly remembered the 1960’s riots and the use of fire hoses and clubs to control the crowds.

Please, dear, Lord, our nation needs you now more than ever.  We thought we were under siege from an invisible enemy in the form of a bacteria.  Our clean hands and masked faces were nothing compared to the exposure of a familiar old enemy called hate.  It almost seems as though the end of life on this planet has been squashed.

I know this isn’t my final home.  I’m looking forward to heaven more and more each day.  Yet I know that until I take my final breath, I must remain strong in your Word. Help me to make sense of all this.  Give me strength to see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.  Make me realize that there is so much to do right here within our own cities.  That can only be realized if we turn to you.

Look down on my city, my country, my world.  It was once a paradise and it will be again, when you return to us.  In the meantime, draw us to you once more.  May we put our faith in your direction, your goals for us and your love.  You alone can heal our land, but our minds must be opened and our biases be quelled.

I pray this in the name of your dear Son, Jesus, who took 1on the sin of the world so we could reap the benefits of heaven – our true home.  Amen

 

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IF WALLS COULD TALK

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ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A stately home with walls of brick – three chimneys reaching high,

Now stands alone and boarded up – the flames of hope have died,

There is no sign of life today, the insides show decay,

The hearth of every fireplace is now in disarray,

But once this lovely mansion was home to wealth and fame,

The tests of time o’er took it and now it’s not the same,

If walls could talk, they’d tell us tales of love and sometimes pain,

They’d tell of all the work involved in reaching life’s full gain,

When troubles came and all was lost, they’d tell a different story

Of how they struggled through great shame, when loss took all their glory,

But God instead had filled that house with his unending love,

The struggles weren’t quite so bad, with treasures from above,

The monetary pleasure would last for just a while,

But God’s pure love would give them strength to open up and smile,

The walls can’t talk, but people do, and when they witness loss,

It seems that they have failed to see the power of the cross,

For when you turn your eyes to Him, the Savior of us all,

The walls come down and life goes on, when we but heed His call.

 

 

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DAISY, DAISY . . .

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ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

The bright and friendly face of a daisy is welcoming and delightful.

It’s crisply starched collar of white surrounds its face with freshness.

No one is dressed as perfectly as these.  These bountiful blooms cheer a garden.

They add blessing to it.

They intersperse,

Create the perfect backdrop for the more pretentious flowers,

Are willing to take a back seat,

Yet without them, the garden would lack energy,

Excitement,

Balance,

Contrast,

Stunning reminders,

That it takes more than one flower to make a garden.

 

 

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LIVES MATTER

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I wonder if we can ever love each other as Christ first loved us.  Hatred and violence are ugly tools of the devil, which he uses to divide us.  We must fight him with every ounce of strength that God provides us.  We will overcome him, with God’s help alone.

There’s been division of races, ethnicity, social class, political views and in our religious beliefs throughout history.  The Jews were enslaved and held in bondage for centuries.  Even in modern times, they are seen as a hated race and they suffer the sting of antisemitism.  They are still remembered as the race that killed Jesus, even though they were part and parcel of God’s salvation and grace.

Looking back before our founding, the Native American was looked upon as a savage by the early explorers.  Those foreigners may have said they were there to convert and civilized them, but more likely their greed took over and they plundered and ravaged this noble race until they had nothing.

The slave trade was well underway in the 1400s and we all know the horrors of the abuse and humiliation the black race suffered. They helped build a strong industrial nation for their white counterparts and fought alongside them in war after war to preserve the rights of the constitution.

After Pearl Harbor, nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps simply because of their race and heritage.  Nearly 60% were already United States citizens who had built thriving businesses .

These are all ugly reminders of the disgrace faced by every human being.  The sins of the fathers seem to continue well beyond the third and fourth generations.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could just wash away all that prejudice and hate? Our consciences could finally feel free from blame – even though we were not personally responsible for past injustices.

As my city is under siege of the intolerable enemy of hate, we need to stop for a moment and take a deep breath.  As we’ve seen in the last few days, hatred has fueled a war which carries with it more hate and injustice.  I know that there is a faction within the streets that has nothing to do with justice for a particular race.  It has nothing to do with years of oppression.  It is simply a means whereby evil men and women can create a diversion.  Where thieves, looters and murderers can destroy property, a lifetime of hard work, the American dream of owning a small business and stir a nation already suffering from a pandemic.

This pandemic is far worse, because it may never be controlled.  When Jesus commanded us to love one another, He wasn’t putting limitations on that love.  Neither should we.  There are so many innocents who have been torn apart because of the unlawful death of a black man by a police officer.  Yet that very death has been smothered by the flames of anarchy and hate.

God doesn’t look at individuals in this way.  Each life that He creates is important – whether they are black, red, yellow, white – He made us and knew what we would be long before we were a glint in our father’s eye.  He loves each one of us the same.

When we become part of His family, through Jesus, we are set free from the bondage of this world.  Those ugly sins of the past have been washed away and we’re forgiven.  Therefore we have become a new creation.  We are united not only in our beliefs, but in our love for one another.

 

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FIRE & BLOOD IN THE STREETS

Pools of crimson stain the streets.

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

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

Faces and heads shrouded in black,

Too cowardly to show themselves,

Misdirected,

Searching,

Groping for something to believe in,

Something to hang on to,

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

Where is the righteousness?

 

Blood flows from a beaten, smitten corpse,

Hanging on an instrument of torture,

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

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

 

Refreshing, cleansing rain falls softly on an eager earth,

Thirsting for relief and longing for renewal and rebirth.

The tears of God bring respite for the dying soul,

He gave His only Son to fill a gaping hole,

The hole that widens every day,

When we forget to turn to Him and pray,

As branches dance and lightening fills the air,

I think of Him who takes away each care.

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

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

 

 

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STOP THE INSANITY

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Many will look at this post today and assume I’m a sanctimonious racist.  Some will accuse  me of being out of touch with the world.  The truth is, I’m a white woman.  I’m a Christian.  I’m a human being. I will turn 78 next month.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes in that time. I’ve also been through a lot of tragedy, disaster and seen how hate and anger can fester and turn ugly.  I must admit, however, that I’ve never seen parts of my city go up in flames set by a group of angry activists and criminals who enjoyed walking off with someone else’s property.

This year started out in the toilet and has basically washed itself into the sewer this week.  We should be learning much through our time in the “desert.”  The imposed isolation should’ve shown us how important we are to each other.  Our reliance on others should’ve created a void in our lives.  Our dependence on the outside world should’ve given us a glimpse of hope in a time when a germ took over the economy, jobs and small businesses.  This time in the wilderness should’ve made us appreciative of each other.  Instead, life in the world outside of our cocoons goes on with an insatiable flame that can only be quenched by God Himself.

A police action turned into what appears to be the murder of a perpetrator.  I say that with trepidation, because the investigation into the action has not been completed.  I am not say whether or not the officer is guilty or innocent, because I don’t know all the facts.  Still, the act appears to have been one that could be construed as racially motivated.  The jury is still out on that also.  A man died.  He was black.  He had a life.  He had a family. He was a Christian.   He was a human being.  All of that has been lost in the din of riotous voices and an angry mob.

I was angry when I heard about this.  I knew that it would stir more rage among the citizens of my town.  I also knew that the facts were not all clear and the crime was not yet investigated, proven or tried in a court of law.  Patience is difficult when a crime is committed against humanity.  When a white woman was killed by a black police officer a few years ago in Minneapolis, there was rage and anger too.  The taking of a life is always wrong no matter who takes the life or who has been killed.

So within a few days of this incident, my city has endured  breaking and entering, looting violent acts of arson and more killing or bodily injury.  This morning I read that many businesses across Minneapolis and St. Paul have been set on fire and completely destroyed by those who use this to make a point or to just take advantage of a situation for their own benefit.  Many of these businesses were owned by people of various ethnicities.  They were struggling to survive the restrictions of the pandemic and now will probably be facing bankruptcy or worse.  Their employees will no longer have jobs and the community will be devoid of their services.

Now other cities across the country are getting on the bandwagon and starting similar actions in their communities.  What purpose does any of this serve?  Are we supposed to cower to a group of vigilantes with knives, guns, rocks and incendiary devices?  Are we to sit back while activists take over our cities?  I believe that all things in life are intended for a reason.  I really am having a hard time realizing what the reason is for this.  Instead of solving problems reasonably, we have turned to bullying tactics and hate.  We no longer sit down and discuss things.  Instead we attack when someone doesn’t agree with our thinking.  What happened to us?

Pray for my city.  Pray for our country.  Pray that people will learn the value of life in all senses of the word.  Pray for the nation to come back to God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HEAVEN IS MY HOME

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For most of us the year 2020 should be eliminated from the historical calendar.  What should’ve been another year of prosperity and growth has been tampered with by science, the political realm, the local scene, violence, anger, hatred and all the negatives we don’t want to talk about.

Looking back a hundred years, we’ll see much of the same.  There was the eighteenth amendment, which put a ban on the sale, consumption and production of liquor (prohibition.) This opened the door to organized crime.  The crime syndicates ruled the streets and bloodied bodies showed up everywhere.   It was the year women achieved their right to vote with the nineteenth amendment.   Tornadoes swept through the Midwest and killed over 200 people.  The ACLU was formed.  There was a housing boom as soldiers returned from the war.

The Roaring Twenties was an age of illegal operation in the US.  There was corruption everywhere.  Lavish living was the soup du jour.  Young people threw caution to the wind.

Within just the first quarter of year 2020, life as we knew it plummeted to new depths.  The culmination of a continuous battle to oust a sitting president was set aside because of a pandemic which spread across the globe.  There were floods, destruction from hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters. Citizens were sentenced to their own homes, away from the workplace and the security of steady jobs.  The economy took a massive dive.  The glimmer of hope that came from social distancing was soon swallowed up by the loss of small businesses, employment, new means of communication.  Restrictions were slowly  lifted and what seemed to be a slow down in the climate of man’s inhumanity towards his fellow man once again reared its ugly head,

In my state, Minnesota, an arrest turned deadly causing anger within the community.  Before learning all the facts and reviewing all the film, the media took hold of this story and ran with it.  I have no idea what the truth is at the moment.  Most facts have been clouded by anger and hate.  The truth will come out, but in the meantime, activists have added their voice to the noise and created a bubbling pot of hatred and violence.  The reactions turned ugly last night as local businesses were burned and looted.  Small businesses which already have taken a large hit by not being able to open their doors, were vandalized, destroyed and decimated.  This was done in the name of social justice.

God reminds us that this world is just a stopping off point for us.  It isn’t our permanent home.  When He faced being handed over to the church of His day, He told His disciples that His kingdom was not of this world.  Neither is ours.  Our home lies in the heavenly realms, where no evil can possibly touch us – where no disease can overtake us – where no harm or danger can overcome us.

In the meantime, we’ve been allowed this time of grace to tell others that there is hope for a future.  To let them know that God loves them in spite of the evil that surrounds us.  In times of darkness, we can be sure that our future doesn’t rely on the things of this world.  Our hope is in Christ alone, who lived here for a while as our brother.  Who also experienced the sting of this world throughout His brief life.  He promised to bring us to His heavenly home when we die, so we will never really die.  What joy there is in that message.  No fear of death, no apprehension in life, only hope for the future – that’s the assurance that can never falter, when we believe that God is for us and He has this and everything in His control.

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