FEARS ASSUAGED

POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER

Lying prone upon this desperate land,

With the weight of sin upon my back,

Enormous rocks – the weight I cannot stand,

 To take away my breath below the stack.

 

Each slab weighs more than the one before it,

Self applied with indifference and hate,

The pain is unendurable through it,

The breath that once held tight now seals my fate.

 

Where is my hope in this relentless power,

That reaches to the depths within my soul,

Will life leave me like a withered flower,

Or will Jesus help me finally reach my goal?

 

Through His distress, His pain and wretched sorrow,

Through giving of His life I am assured,

The weight of sin has gone and on the morrow,

I’ll walk with Him unhindered and secured.

 

The weight from the evil agitator,

Was released from death that glorious night,

Because of God’s great cost my gain is greater,

Because of Him my burden is now light.

 

 

Posted in Poetry by Kathy Boecher | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

CALL ON ME . . .

We’re in a time in history when fear is probably our greatest enemy. The pandemic has placed most everyone in a bubble – in more ways than one. We fear being isolated from others. We fear getting a disease which might kill us. We’re afraid we may be carrying the germs to others. We’re afraid to eat out, go to church, be with anyone other than family. Many who have already given way to the fears of living are even thinking of ways to escape this world.

I’ve tried to hide from the outside world by turning off the news when it comes on. I’ve been doing this for about six months now and I actually feel better – even though I went through a bout of COVID myself between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Keeping ourselves clueless to the outside world isn’t really an answer though. Even our Lord and Savior, Jesus, had to work through His fears when He faced his execution. He knew He had to die. He knew it would be a horrific death. He knew He would suffer humiliation and the pain of the scourge. He knew all this, but He took the time to carry those fears in prayer to His Father in heaven on the night before His death. He prayed. Tears poured from His eyes as He anguished over the future – tears which became like drops of blood. Yet at the end of the prayer, He also accepted the mission He was about to fulfill. He trusted in His Father’s will. His death wasn’t the end of the story, as we know. He conquered the grave, assuring that we will also overcome death.

When we feel there is no hope for the future – when we feel overwhelmed by the pressures of daily living – when we need a friend, a counselor, a confidante – when relationships fall apart – when money runs out – when we become infected by a deadly virus – when grief overtakes us – it’s time to go to our compassionate Father in prayer. He wants to hear from us. He love us more than any earthly father could love His children. He spared us from the fear of death, by providing us with a future in paradise. He may not answer our prayers right away. He may answer immediately. He may never answer, but we do know that He is right there beside us through all our difficulties. He reaches His hand out to us and walks through each and every one by our side. He will walk with us right into eternity. Reach out to Him today in prayer.

Posted in DAILY CHRISTIAN DEVOTION, fear, Heaven, hope, prayer | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

WAITING FOR THE STORM

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

It seems that just a day ago, small buds of green appeared,

The signs of spring were everywhere, then quickly disappeared,

A winter storm with lots of snow comes roaring into town,

The cloak of white is beautiful, but it’s still upside down.

When we are struggling in our sin, when death is at our door,

We hope to go with hearts washed clean, to where we sin no more,

The whiteness of our Father’s love, has washed away all sin,

He’s opened up the gates to heaven so we can enter in.

We will endure the storms of life, they come and go each day,

Like unexpected winter storms, they soon will melt away,

The freshness of new life returns when we can see the Son,

The perfect lamb of God was born, He lived for everyone.

He washed our every sin away and took them to the cross,

When death took hold, our sins died too, our gain came at great cost,

But death could not contain our Lord, He rose again and lives,

Though storms continue through our days, we know our God forgives.

 
 
Posted in Art & Poetry by Paul & Kathy Boecher, Christian Poetry, Faith, inspiration. | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

IT WAS AN EPIPHANY

I’m a lot like my mom when it comes to telling jokes. She’d often forget the punchline as do I, but she relayed a good one several years back, regarding the wise men of the Epiphany.

When on vacation in the south during the Christmas season, a young couple couldn’t help but notice the number of Nativity Sets displayed in front of the homes. It seemed strange to see them in a tropical place, but I guess that’s where this event occurred in the first place.  As they continued driving, they saw something that puzzled them.  Each of the wise men was wearing a fireman’s hat.  Curiosity got the best of them so they finally stopped and went to one of the homes to ask about the hats.  A kind woman answered the door and her reply in typical Southern drawl, was, “We’re just following what it says in the Good Book.  It’s right there in black and white.  Men from the East came from afar.”

The story of the Epiphany is a little deeper than that.  We’re not told how many men came.  We assume it to be three.  We know they carried treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  These gifts held significance.  Gold was a gift suitable for Kings and Jesus surely was a King.  Frankincense was the aromatic spice used in the temple to worship God.  Jesus was not only man, but God.  Myrrh, was used in the burial process and we know that expensive spices were used to bury the body of Jesus after His vicious crucifixion.

The Magi were men of science who studied the stars.  They’d seen the star of Bethlehem and it indicated to them that a king had been born.   They also knew the ancient prophesies concerning the King who would be born from the lineage of David – the promised Messiah – the divine King who would save His people.

It took some time to get there – maybe as long as two years.  When they arrived in Jerusalem they went straight to Herod and asked where they could find this new King.  Herod set the next events into motion by asking for directions to see the child, so he could worship Him too.  What this evil man was mulling over in his mind was the elimination of all firstborn sons in Jerusalem who were two years old or less.  He wasn’t about to let another king take away what he’d worked so hard to establish.  That and the fact that he had no qualms about destroying innocent lives.

We know that the wise men journeyed to a house where they found Jesus with His mother, Mary and step dad, Joseph.  The child, born in poverty, came to the world for the poor.  Now it’s revealed that He was born for the very rich too – for all people.   He was born to save everyone.  I think we sometimes forget that.

God isn’t selective in His forgiveness.  It’s available to all.  His requirements for obeying His law are great – too great for us to handle.  Everyone needs 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.  He also came for you and me.  He loves each and every one of His creatures and was willing to sacrifice His own life for us. Now that’s enough to light any fire – and it did!

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of your precious Son.  Thank you also for showing us through the visit of the Magi, that you came for all people – rich and poor. The true gift was given to us when you came to earth as a man. Now, by faith – that gift can be opened by all who ask for it. Amen!

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WHAT FACE WILL YOU WEAR TODAY?

I must admit – I have a face that can be more like a mask than reality. I have a number of different profile pictures on my facebook page. Many look like a normal, ordinary old lady. Some are filled with toothy smiles (minus a few teeth.) There are pictures that show my comedic side, my confident self, my unsure self and someone entirely not myself. Facebook is not a true picture of who we are.

Just as drama isn’t reality for most of us, we lean towards putting our best foot forward on social media, in our daily work and dealings and anything that we do. The true “us” is often just like everyone else – with scars, imperfections, wounds, emotional ups and downs and insecurities. There’s even a commercial out there that shows people hiding behind a smiley face because they don’t want to expose their true inner self. Why do we place so much value on creating a facade for other people?

When it comes to reality, God knows what’s actually going on within us. He knows our fears and desires. When He took on human flesh, He experienced sadness, pain, loss, grief, hunger, poverty – all the big problems we face on a daily basis, yet He did not give in to any of them. We cannot hide what’s going on in our hearts when it comes to our Father, God. He created us before the seed was ever planted. He knows all of our failures and shortcomngs. He realizes that we cannot save ourselves from any of those failings, so He provided an answer. It’s an eternal answer that has taken away all the darkness of our souls and forgiven every one of our sins – past, present and future.

I will probably continue making different faces through the rest of my days. It’s part of who I am and what I do. My grandmother once told me that my face was going to stay that way if I continued to stretch it in all directions. Maybe she was right. The fact is that God knows who we really are and He loves us anyway. That’s great news for those who think they have to be someone they aren’t to gain approval.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings and fears within without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind;
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Posted in aging, anxiety, ART & POETRY BY THE BOECHERS, Christian devotions, confidence, depression, Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

PIERCING THROUGH THE DARKNESS

POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER

Black, acrid smoke rises from a recently snuffed candle.

It weaves its way through the light, causing darkness to prevail.

But is that darkness eternal? 

Will the light return again?

Will the endlessness of obscurity win the daily battle of life?

 

In the murkiness of the absence of light, we flounder,

We falter,

We fall,

Into a bottomless pit – an inherent facade which leads,

Nowhere.

 

In that moment of complete hopelessness, where do we turn?

We cannot see,

Our eyes are blinded by uncertainty,

We wander further from what once was familiar,

Wafting into a clouded environment of desperation.

 

Within that empty, lonely place, we have lost our way,

God slices through the darkness, revealing His glory,

He clings to our fallen spirit and won’t let go,

Lifting us into His arms as a shepherd comforts His sheep,

He is our light.

Posted in aging, America, Christian daily devotion, Christian Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

BROKEN PROMISES

Wow – there are only 361 days left until I get to start all over again. A new year is a great time to start anew, but it doesn’t take us long to revert to our old ways. We promise to be more patient. We pledge to stay on a diet. We make public the fact that we are‘nt going to complain or be dissatisfied. We vow to be more loving and caring. We assure others that we are going to look outside ourselves and help others more.

These are all very noble ideas, but it doesn’t take long to realize that we aren’t very noble. It might be a good idea to start each day with a list of resolutions and see if we can keep them to the end of the day. Or maybe we should start each hour with that list. God has an abundance of forgiveness and He gives it freely to those who ask for it. Starting over is easy when you have Him as your partner.

Thank you, Lord, God, for looking beyond my imperfections and seeing only what Jesus did for me. May I trust in you always and thank you by praising your name. Amen!

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LIFE’S MARATHON

“Life is a culmination of the past, an awareness of the present, an indication of a future beyond knowledge, the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter.”   Charles Lindbergh

There is nothing wrong with setting goals.  By planning our futures we’re being wise stewards of our time and talents.  We start at an early age, learning to tie our shoes or ride a bike.  When we begin school, we soon discover that we don’t achieve without knowledge.  Our parents often remind us that we aren’t working up to our potential.  As we become teens we start thinking about relationships and where they will go.  Young adulthood sets our minds on college and future plans. 

Once we leave the educational system, reality sets in – and I’m not talking about the kind you see on many of today’s television shows.  We find that the goals we’re setting may be unattainable.  We run into roadblocks that slow down the race.  We get beat up by disappointment, failure, desperation, hopelessness. 

As we run through our middle ages, we find that we may never achieve the goals we originally set.  We eventually give up even trying.  By the time we reach the senior years it doesn’t really seem important to set goals anymore.  We may wonder. “What’s the use?”   The main achievement on any given day for some is to merely get out of bed.

When we run a race alone it can be extremely difficult.  That may be why marathons are so popular. “Misery likes company,” they say.  During the training process however, we’re often on our own.  Running on a daily basis, watching our diet, training our minds to focus on the goal – are all things we must do alone, our focus cann turn inward and we often lose sight of the final destination.  We may become obsessed with getting physically ready and train for weeks or months in advance. We put all of our attention into what WE can accomplish by our own actions, rather than asking for help.

Look forward to the final destination, while keeping these things in mind:

  • The race is being run daily.  Look at each day as an opportunity.
  • We are not alone.
  • Plan each step for the future with the knowledge that there will be road blocks.
  • The Word of God, the Bible is our manual for how to live.
  • We can do all things with God’s intervention.
  • The prize has already been won.  
  • Our victory is assured through Jesus, Christ.

Dear Father in heaven, I’ve already won the prize through your forgiveness.  As I run through the rest of the race continue to nourish me through your Holy Word. Help me realize that you are right there beside me – encouraging, lifting me up, supporting me and giving me the final victory.  Keep my vision focused on you and your amazing grace and use me to share that wonderful message with others.  Amen!

 

 

Posted in aging, America, eternity, Faith, goals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

LOOKING FORWARD, NOT BACK

ART, POETRY & INSPIRATION FROM PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

What is your destiny?  Do you every wonder what God has in mind for you?  You know he has a plan for your life, but could He possibly clue you in on it?  I’m at an age where there are really no more mountains to climb, and if there were I wouldn’t take a chance.  I’m afraid of heights and I might break a hip.  I certainly wouldn’t jump out of an airplane just to feel the excitement of free falling.  I do that every day.

Sometimes we have to take chances if we’re ever to progress or succeed.  Doors are always hard to open, especially the one that leads from your own house.  God doesn’t want us to foolishly take chances or throw caution to the wind.  He wants us to be wise in our living, but He also wants us to enjoy our lives to the fullest.  He isn’t sending trouble, illness, worry or any other negative into our lives to make us suffer or because He’s a mean, uncaring, selfish God who wants us to pay for our iniquities.  He’s already taken care of that for us.  The adversities we endure are merely road blocks and hiccups on the path through this side of heaven.  It’s how we handle those adversities that makes the difference.

If we give up and lose faith in God’s divine plan, how is that advancing us in any way? If we feel bruised and abused our natural tendency is to hide, but God wants us to face these issues with Him.  He wants us to depend on Him at all times and thank and praise Him in the good times a well as the bad.

Are you ready to get out of the harbor and do what you were intended to do in this life?  I hope I have a few years left.  I don’t have a bucket list.  I often don’t have the energy to do the things I should, but that’s a sorry excuse for not living.  No matter what our age, God has givem each of us this time on earth to remind us of His grace – time for us to grow as Christians – time to reach out to others – time to love, share and be kind – time to live in a way to prepare us for eternity.  Take a chance.  What have you got to lose?

UNTETHERED YOUTH, by Kathy Boecher

What happened to days of untethered youth

When what was required depended on truth?

When worries were few and troubles unknown,

What happened from then to the life now sown?

 

Our days filled with moments carefree and fun,

Quickly we find nothing under the sun,

Will satisfy fully or give us peace,

We watch as our hope and joy now decrease.

 

Time passes in torrents. In storms it flies.

Our laughter is mourned, replaced by our cries, 

Our tears fill rivers, our moans sear the air,

Hearts might give up and give way to despair.

 

We come to our God with bruises and scars,

Of bludgeoning wounds which surpass the stars.

It’s then God completes the work that He’s done.

Our youth then returns and victory is won.

 

We come to Him broken, clinging to life,

We come when falter and can’t bear strife.

We surrender to God who does His best.

With Him in our place, we pass every test.

 

He gives us new life while we are still old,

Our time weathered bodies to Him unfold,

To perfectly formed and beautifully made,

He bathed me with blood the ransom is paid.

 

New life comes quickly. The old passes by,

We become new on the day that we die,

Breath comes from heaven and God’s only Son,

Old bodies renewed, His work is now done.

 

Posted in aging, Art & Poetry by Paul & Kathy Boecher, inspiration. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

AULD LANG SYNE

“Old long ago” is the literal meaning of this phrase which usually shows up once a year. We hear it sung as a huge crystal ball is lowered in Times Square.  The title could be loosely interpreted as “in days gone by, days of yore, or even, once upon a time.”  I prefer the latter.  When we have a Once Upon a Time, we are almost always assured of a Happily Ever After.

Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, is usually attributed with writing the words to this poem, but Burns didn’t take credit for it.  Apparently he was a historian of sorts and would keep track of old sayings and stories which had been passed down from generation to generation.  The words are designed to have us say goodbye to the past and look forward to the future.

For most of us, we look at this special ending as a new starting point.  It would be nice to start with a clean slate, but history shows that we will continue to make mistakes, fall victim to lies or slander, botch up a relationship, have no control over our finances, and set unattainable goals which often fail shortly after we make them.

If there was no hate across the globe – if we could experience peace instead of war – if we could agree or at least make concessions – if would could look at our fellow man as our friend – if we could truly be like Jesus and have a complete servant attitude – if we could set aside our differences and try to see the other person’s point – if we could learn to share each others’ burdens – Wouldn’t it be nice?

It will be that way when we reach heaven.  God promised to take away all the negatives from our lives.  He says there will be no more sorrow, no tears, no pain.  Those words are not empty, but while we wait for that day, we can learn mend some of our differences by returning to some of our basic values.

It starts with thinking outside of ourselves.  One of the greatest faults of humanity is that we can’t see beyond our own needs and wants.  The lack of patriotism, the selfishness we see in marriage, the disrespect for authority, the lack of two parent families, the faltering value placed on life and death -the dying off of the physical church – all attribute to our decline.

This year end will be like all the others we’ve experienced.  We may begin with optimism, but soon our dreams are dashed and we fall into old ways.  One piece of literature has survived the centuries and will continue to touch lives.  The Bible is our great heritage.  Like Robert Burns, we can keep it alive by passing it from one generation to another.  Of course, since it is the true Word of God, it will survive for eternity, just as we will when we believe that Jesus has a room waiting for us in heaven.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!  MAY GOD BE YOUR PARTNER IN LIFE AND MAY YOU BE BLESSED WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE!

Posted in aging, America, hope, New Year, Optimism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

DON’T WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW

 “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”  As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.  So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”   James 4:13-17 ESV

The saying, “out with the old and in with the new” has taken on a whole new meaning for me this year. Hopefully they aren’t referring to the elderly when they say this. It does get me thinking though. Maybe the end of the year is the perfect time to get rid of all the garbage we’ve been collecting over the past twelve months – all the anger, fear, indignation, impatience, pessimism, discouragement, loneliness, etc. Cleaning out all that serves no real purpose in our life, rquires leaving it behind and replacing all with things like encouragement, peace, love, service, optimism, involvement, kindness.

It’s a great time to actually do something about the things that troubled us this past year. The best place to start is to hear what God says about our future. Jesus told his disciples what to expect at the final judgment. He told them to be on guard at every turn and ready, because we don’t know when that time will come. Only His passion for us will redeem us, but He also tells us that what we do here on earth is as if we were doing it for Him.  To truly follow Christ, we must stop thinking about ourselves and place others first.  Not an easy task at any time of the year.  Espcially when someone has done you a disservice or caused you pain, but compeletely possible with God’s help.

Dear Father, God, as we approach a new year, show us how you would have us live through your  Holy Word, the Bible. May each day bring a new beginning for us in our attitudes, our appreciation for all you’ve done, and for all your creation. Help us to set aside the things that get in the way by placing our complete trust in you and your guidance.  Allow us to forget those things that drag us down and help us to focus on the things that you want for us.  With that in place, we should all have a very happy new year.  Amen!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY BLOGGING COMMUNITY.  MAY THE PEACE OF THE LORD LIVE IN YOUR HEARTS TODAY AND ALWAYS!

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INTO THE LIGHT

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Through the cobwebs of existence – through the darkness of our strife –

Through the dankness of our witness, through the wickedness of life,

Through the deepest, darkest. pits of hell and the helplessness we feel,

Comes a single beam of light from heaven our sinful hearts to heal.

The light grows stronger as we bend to get a closer glance,

but as we reach to touch it, we’re enveloped in a trance,

It’s just within our reach we think, but no matter how we try,

We can’t escape the darkness that consumes us from all sides.

Just when we think that all is lost, relinquishing all hope,

The light erases darkness and through it we can cope,

This little light from Bethlehem became a brilliant star,

that came to earth to save the world from sin’s most deadly scar.

He came in darkness of the night, but His brilliance cannot hide.

We are redeemed by His great might.  He’s always at our side.

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM PAUL & KATHY BOECHER!

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END OF YEAR – FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Today’s post is a rerun from 2013. Almost 9 years ago the word tolerance was becoming somewhat of a buzz word. I wonder when apathy with follow or has it done so already?

Tolerance – The dictionary defines the word as a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.

The Bible refers to it in this way, Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” The world tells us to be objective while the Word of God tells us to be subjective.

As Christians, we should submit to all authority, to our fellow man, to our family members and friends. Submission, in the Bible, is an act of respect, not one of losing your freedom. Today Christians often feel that we are the only ones who aren’t tolerated, but we must always remain true to God’s teachings without judging others or setting ourselves up as better than they.

When we place ourselves over others – when we judge based on our own opinions – when we give in and tolerate behavior we don’t hold to be Christ like – we’re guilty of spitting in God’s face.That’s why we need Hin so much. Our salvation is dependant on Him alone.

Lord, help me to turn to you for all that I need. Your tolerance is beyond comprehension. You’ve put up with me for a long time. Help me to be aware of the needs and opinions of others and still remain faithful to your commandments and truth for living. Be with me every day, so that I can see what it truly means to be tolerant. Amen!

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THE END OF THE STORY

 “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill

It’s getting to be that time of the year again – time for us to make those New Year’s Resolutions that we’ll most likely forget about on January 2, 2022.  Why we go through this same ritual each year, is beyond my understanding, but we seem to find hope in making promises to ourselves and it gives us something to strive for in the future.

I have this novel, which I’ve been working on for most of my life.  It is a compilation of people, places, different time periods and experiences from a lifetime of living. Maybe that’s why I’m still “working” on it. “I’m not dead yet,” as Monty Python would say, so the story hasn’t really come to an end.  Perhaps writing is a continual work in progress that never ends. Yet there is a nagging voice inside of me that resembles a dripping faucet.  It’s constantly gnawing at me and telling me to get it over with.

Like many other writers out there, we think of our work as an extension of ourselves.  When there are rejections, suggestions, possible remedies, opinions, we often become defensive about that work and take the criticism personally – or as in my case, we put it away for a time so we can digest all that information and make changes or not.

As we transplant from one year to the next, we often pull out those old goals and dreams and try to make new ones while failing to complete them.  We may make a resolution to lose weight – start a new business – plan a move or trip that will be life changing.  The goals we set at the beginning of a new year, usually are soon forgotten.  We then might feel guilty for not accomplishing those goals, so we’re setting ourselves up for failure in a way.

There’s a familiar saying that seems to pop up at this time of the year.  “Out with the old and in with the new.”  Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that simple?  Throw out the Corona virus and never think or worry about it again.  Give the boot to old habits that get in the way of relationships – easier said than done. Make sure that those in need are fed, clothed and provided with shelter.  A noble cause, but rarely completely accomplished.  The list of righteous goals is endless and for most of us impossible, but even the smallest of resolutions can be difficult for us.  Taking responsibility for our actions.  Being kind – sharing – showing compassiion and love – listening – opening our minds and hearts to others – these are all great goals for daily living, but how often do we take them to heart?

My novel will undoubtedly sit on the shelf for a while longer.  I may never see it in print, but that’s OK.  I have new stories  to tell.  I have ideas that will possibly prosper someone else.  I have dreams that will be fulfilled, if not by me, by someone who may have been inspired by something I’ve said or written.  God has already designed the pattern for my life.  He alone knows what lies ahead for me.  Because He is God, I know that whatever He does is always good and I trust in His constant attention to my future, my present and my past.

 

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IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO SET NEW GOALS

We’re coming to the end of another year and its easy for us to wish to clean the slate and start over. As we get older in years, it becomes harder and harder to set new goals and follow unfulfilled dreams. Even though our goal setting days may be coming to an end, we should still be planning for our next step – our next hour – even the many years yet to come. We don’t know how much time has been alloted us, so we would be wise to take each day as it comes, with a plan of action.

As we look back on the year which has just passed, we’re reminded of many of the bad things that occurred during that time. A continuation of a plague that seems endless – adjusting to a new president and his cabinet – dealing with financial difficulties – medical issues – limits being placed on us both mentally and physically – all tend to put us in a negative place. It’s hard to look forward to more of the same. Instead of focusing on all the bad that occurred, start to place your thoughts on the good things that resulted in 2021. Because of isolation, new ways of communicating, working, being entertained, worshipping, learning, all becoming accessible by new means. Humor surfaced in many creative ways as people used this time to search for ways to laugh and enjoy life. We are an adaptable species and we seem to thrive during the storms of life – especially if we allow God to control those storms. Many times in history which were thought to be the darkest of days, created some of the greatest literature, art, music, and critical thinking. Exploration of new horizons led to discovery of new worlds. In God’s world, everything serves a purpose.

Whether you are a child or a senior adult, there is plenty of time to dream dreams – to look forward – to set goals – to find satisfaction in your waking hours. God has already mapped out every life. He knows what will be happening to each of us today, tomorrow and twenty years from now. That, in itself should give us confidence to face a new year with great anticipation. God also wants us to have a hand in the direction of our lives so He allows us to set those goals and look at our future with hope and joy. God has promised that all things are possible through Him.

Look ahead, but learn from the past. Leave behind the mistakes and create solutions for them. Let go of past sins, because they’ve already been forgiven. Look at each new day as an opportunity – a time of grace, granted for you to share God’s love with others.

 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.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 

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MIXED EMOTIONS

This time of the year is packed with a complete bag of mixed feelings.  We can be up one minute and down the next. In all the rush and anticipation, we find ourselves with not enough time, money or ability to process all that’s happening.  Add to that, the madness occurring in our world and we have a plethora of emotions vying for our attention.

We spend weeks in preparation and it’s all over within a day or two.  This most celebrated time of the year is here and gone in no time.  Visitors come from far off places or nearby.  The excitement builds as children open packages and wonderful food is served.  Beautiful music inspires – old movies make us laugh and cry – memories of Christmases gone before are remembered.  Then, without a beat of the heart, it’s over.  Loved ones return to their homes and lives.  Routine sets in. The joy of the season is wrapped up for another year and suddenly we’re faced with empty homes –  Christmas bills – a dwindling bank account and new memories that will soon be forgotten. 

Ups and downs of the season are typical after Christmas.  Kids will soon return to school, university or their homes far away.  Those who were unable to be part of the busyness will feel somewhat cheated and saddened by that. Those of us in our golden years will see the joy of a family who has come together in order to make our waning years more bearable.  We think of the past and wonder how much longer we will be part of these celebrations.  Age is a fact of life – right along with death and taxes.  We know each Christmas is a gift just as we accept the fact that our children are also a blessing from God.  As my husband and I approach our eighties, our thoughts turn more and more to heaven and we might even feel guilty about that.

Emotions can be like a time bomb running against the clock before the final explosion occurs. All the feelings we experience were experienced by that little boy in the manger.  His life on earth lasted for only 33 years.  He cried when His friends died or were ill.  He bled like every other human being, but He bled holy blood.  He experienced all the emotions that we do, yet, because He is God as well as man, He never succumbed to sin.  He was the unblemshed, perfect lamb, required to take away the sin of the world.

For the average person, when emotions play a number on us, it can result in a nervous breakdown.  With Jesus, the explosion came when He conquered death, defeated the devil and rose back to life.  He did that so we could have the same result.  All the emotions we feel at this time of year seem to be heightened, but the joy we should be expriencing because of the best gift ever, should be enough to last for eternity.

Instead of putting such great pressure on ourselves to make each Christmas perfect, let’s try to remember all the things that Jesus went through in his short time on earth.  Be glad that our Brother, Jesus, was born and lived among us, so that we would have full redemption.  Shed a tear or two over the great love we have from God, the Father – undeserved and unconditional.  Give praise and thanks to God for His exceptional gift to everyone.  It’s a time for mixed emotions.

“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” C. S. Lewis

 

 

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BUT MARY PONDERED

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” When I was a young child, I thought the word “ponder” meant to pound. In a child’s mind it made perfect sense for Mary to treasure the things that were happening and pound them into her heart. and even save them for future events. Today I know what that word means, but it makes me think about how children’s minds work and the innocence of the faith they have. Mary’s accepting faith is just the kind that God wants from all of us, whether old or young.

As amazing as the story of the first Christmas seems to some, the fact is that it’s true. God conceived a child in Mary’s womb, so that He could be born human, live as our brother, suffer and hurt just like we do and die. After death He would conquer the devil and rise again to return to His heavenly glory. It is indeed a miraculous story with great mystery involved. No human mind can possible comprehend it, but God had a plan at the beginning of the world and His plan was perfect. He not only was our Creator, but our Savior ad Redeemer.

No longer do we need to fear death, because life lies beyond – a perfect life – the kind God intended for us to inhabit – paradise. Like Jesus, we will suffer in this world. We’ll face adversity and sadness, but when we leave it, we’re guaranteed another life, planned by God – a plan that continues throughout eternity.

Think about it, treasure it and POUND it into your heart.

MERRY CHRISTMAS – UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN!

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A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD

Isaiah 11:6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

May the peace of this Christmas season fill your lives with hope for the future and for a new attempt at kindness towards one another.  A little child was born to save us all from the grasp of death.  Halleluiah!

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CHRISTMAS PROMISE

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

Children stare in awe at the ornaments and lights,
Each sparkle puts a twinkle in their eyes.
The cookies are in the oven, such tantalizing bites,
The gifts of Christmas come in every size.

The special clothes and widened smiles are evidence complete,
That something extra special waits right there,
Beneath the tree of balsam in a box wrapped oh so sweet.
It’s Christmas and the perfect time to share.

As children sing their songs to God in heaven up above,
Let’s take the time to ponder what it means.
That on that day of Jesus’ birth our greatest gift was love,
A love that takes our sins away and cleans.

And so we join their voices and with hope and childlike trust.
We thank our Savior for redeeming us to life.
He’s crushed death’s sting, defeated sin and stomped it in the dust.
With Him we now can tolerate all strife.

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FOR UNTO US . . .

Isaiah 8:6-7  “For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”

What an amazing blessing comes to us at Christmas.  God took on human form for US, because He loves US.  We are His creation and in spite of our shortcomings and inability to save ourselves, He did it for US.  May the joy of Christmas live in your heart every day, knowing that if God is for US who can be against US.  Merry Christmas to all my blogging community for your encouragement, your wisdom and knowledge and for sharing your love for the Lord, because He first loved US!

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