COVID-19

~~ by tkbrown
Dropping . . . dropping . . . dropping --
economic indicators keep dropping --
GDP drops 9% -- then 35%,
the DOW plummets,
one-day losses greater than ever recorded,
one-third of their value -- lost
to COVID-19.
Unemployment skyrockets,
layoffs and furloughs,
rising . . . rising . . . rising . . .
midst businesses thriving--
just weeks ago.
The businesses did not fail,
the plague is killing them
one . . . by . . . one
as the number of COVID-19 cases keep climbing
and the death toll keeps rising,
as people finally begin to realize
this is not going away
anytime soon.
Death, illness and dying
testing our faith, strength, resolve,
taking much from the picture society had made,
reversing life -- in many ways -- to days of yore . . .
but, in many ways, advancing it to another level.
Living . . . and working . . . from home
over the 'net --
a concept never considered before
by most.
Now,
learning how to be lonely alone
becomes the painful new saga.
I learned this long ago,
I would rather be lonely alone
than to be lonely with someone.
At least, being lonely alone --
I know I am alone in this endeavor.
When I have a spouse/partner,
but am still lonely --
something is missing,
and it is harder to do
a-n-y  t-h-i-n-g.
Loneliness,
or alone time --
you can choose
to have the latter
and fill it with hobbies
that you love doing . . .
or love learning to do.
Loneliness does not have to exist,
just because
you are alone.

Get to know Y_O_U!
I know,
that is a really strange thing to say,
but all too often
we stay so busy doing
THINGS that need to be done -- 'til
we have no time to know ourselves.
We all change as time passes
whether we want to -- or not.
These changes may not be to our liking
when we really take the time to know ourselves.
It is not an easy task --
getting to know yourself --
but . . . it IS a necessary task.
So, spend some time alone
. . . with you . . ..
You might just learn to like your own company!

Zacharias’ son, John, is born . . .

old antique bible as an open book with sunlight bursting from the pages

Scripture is from New King James Version (KKJV)

Notes on Scripture (below): by tkbrown

Luke 1:57-80

57 — “Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son.”

58 — “When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.”

59 — “So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child, and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias.”

60 — “His mother answered and said, ‘No, he shall be called John.'”

61 — “But they said to her, ‘There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.'”

62 — “So, they made signs to his father–what he would have him called.”

63 — “And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, ‘His name is John.’ So, they all marveled.”

64 — “Immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.”

65 — “Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea.”

66 — “And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts saying, ‘What kind of child will this be?’ And the hand of the Lord was with him.”

67 — “Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:”

68 — “‘Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people,'”

69 — “‘and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David,'”

70 — “‘as he spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began,'”

71 — “‘that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,'”

72 — “‘to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant,'”

73 — “‘the oath which He swore to our father Abraham:'”

74 — “‘To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear,'”

75 — “‘in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life,'”

76 — “‘and you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,'”

77 — ‘”to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins,'”

78 — “‘through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us,'”

79 — “‘to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.'”

80 — “So the child grew and became strong in spirit and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.”

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Notes on Scripture: by tkbrown

Here, in Luke 1:57-80, we are told of John’s birth. His mother, Elizabeth was well-advanced in years. Thus, when the neighbors and kinfolk ’round about heard of John’s birth, they spoke of it often, speculating as to the child’s purpose in life. In other words, they viewed John’s birth as a miracle and were certain he was a child with special purpose.

If you recall, when we covered — in Week One–Luke 1:5-25 — the angel’s visit to Zacharias. Gabriel informed him of John’s impending birth. However, both Zacharias and his wife — Elizabeth — were advanced in age. Having never had children, Zacharias did not believe this could happen and said as much. For this disbelief, Gabriel informed him he would be unable to speak until the child was born.

When Elizabeth’s time came, the babe was born. According to Jewish custom, on the eighth day when the babe was to be circumcised, those in attendance wanted to name him Zacharias because that was his father’s name. Elizabeth informed them the babe’s name should be ‘John’. They expressed concern about this because no one in the family had the name, ‘John’.

Zacharias was brought in, and he confirmed that the babe’s name would be ‘John’. Then Zacharias was able to speak again, and he praised God for the blessings bestowed upon him. From that time, Zacharias taught John the reason for his special birth — that he should go before the Lord to prepare the way for Jesus and His ministry.

Last week, I said we would also look at John’s life in this lesson. However, John’s life ministry is covered in sufficient manner, I believe, to warrant studying those scriptures in a separate lesson. Also, I believe it is important to cover it in the order it occurred. Therefore, we will next study the birth of Jesus and His childhood — since that is the order in which they occurred chronologically. Then we will study John’s ministry just prior to Jesus’ ministry. Thank You for following our study of the scriptures. God Bless!

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Extra Note:

These are harrowing times in our world today. The coronavirus, COVID-19, is marching across our lands with a virulence that most alive today have never witnessed. It is a time to engage in fervent prayer to our God in heaven, that this time of tribulation might be brought to an end.

My mother was born in 1918 — when the Spanish Flu ravaged the earth and devoured the lives of many. She was too young to remember the quarantines and other measures put into place by the government, but my grandparents, great-aunts, great-uncles and great-great-grandparents remembered and talked about it from time to time. She spoke often, to me, of the stories they all told.

It is imperative that we adhere to the self-quarantine and social distancing measures put into place as well as any other measures recommended. Let us all join together in these prayers, that the suffering wreaking havoc in our world might be drawn to a close.

Thank You for taking the time to read my posts. If you have questions or comments, please note them below. Have a Blessed Week!

~~~~~~~~~~

Week One -- Scripture: Zacharias to have Son . . . 
Week Two -- Scripture: Jesus' Birth Foretold . . . 
Week Three -- Scripture: Zacharias' son, John, is born . . . 

~~~~~~~~~~

Calendar Quindecims April’s March . . .

by tkbrown
April showers do bring May flowers only
when they come on schedule, but when early
I would bet those flowers are early too.
They will be peaking their noses at you
from beneath that sodden soil and eyeing
those clouds while, looking for sunshine, hoping
beyond hope they are still perky, pretty
when those June weddings march in so freshly.
I don't know though, June weddings might not be
since coronavirus stopped in to see
just what we're about in this country free --
in life, liberty -- above all, happy.
I believe there is more yet to be seen
of this vile, sickening killer that's been
traversing our world with death knell so keen.

~~~~~~~~~~

Image above by Malcolm Lightbody — on Unsplash.com

~~~~~~~~~~

Jesus Birth Foretold . . .

old antique bible as an open book with sunlight bursting from the pages

Scripture is from New King James Version (NKJV)

Notes on Scripture (below) by tkbrown

~~~~~~~~~~

Lesson Scripture — Matthew 1:18-25

18 — “Now the birth of Jesus was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.”

19 — “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.”

20 — “But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.'”

21 — “‘And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins.'”

22 — “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:”

23 — “‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel.’ which is translated ‘God with us.'”

24 — “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,”

25 — “and did not know her til she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.:

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Luke 1:26-56

26 — “Now in the sixth month [of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John — Week One] the angel Gabriel was sent by God to the city of Galilee named Nazareth,”

27 — “to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.”

28 — “And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!'”

29 — “But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.”

30 — “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.'”

31 — “‘And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus.'”

32 — “‘He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.'”

33 — “‘And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of His kingdom there will be no end.;:

34 — “Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?'”

35 — “And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.'”

36 — “‘Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.'”

37 — “‘For with God nothing will be impossible.'”

38 — “Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”

39 — “Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste to a city of Judah.”

40 — “and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.”

41 — “And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”

42 — “Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!'”

43 — “‘But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?'”

44 — “‘For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.'”

45 — “‘Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.'”

46 — “And Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord.'”

47 — “‘and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.'”

48 — “For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.'”

49 — “‘For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.'”

50 — “‘and His mercy is on those who hear Him, from generation to generation.'”

51 — “‘He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.'”

52 — “‘He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly.'”

53 — “‘He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent a way empty.'”

54 — “‘He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy.'”

55 — “‘As He spoke to our fathers, to Abram and to his seed forever.'”

56 — “And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her house.'”

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Notes on Scripture: by tkbrown

Joseph and Mary are told of Jesus’ impending birth. Joseph in his dream is told not to fear taking Mary as his wife — she has not been unfaithful — she will give birth to a man-child whose name shall be Jesus — the Son of God. Joseph is relieved to learn this because he had been unsure how to handle the situation. He married her, but did not ‘know her’ until after the birth occurs.

When Mary is told of the birth, she asked how this could be, since she had not been with a man. The angel assured her the child is conceived by God through the Holy Spirit. This satisfied Mary’s discomfit. Since she w as also told of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, she went to visit Zacharias and Elizabeth.

As soon as Elizabeth heard the sound of Mary’s voice, the babe in her womb — John — leaped for joy. So, John — in the womb — recognized Jesus’ presence and rejoiced.

Thus, we have knowledge of Jesus’ conception and Joseph’s acceptance of this. Next week, we will look at the actual birth of John and his role as trailblazer for Jesus’ ministry here on earth.

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Week One -- Scripture: Zacharias to have Son . . . 
Week Two -- Scripture: Jesus' Birth Foretold . . . 

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Notable Quote . . .

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

~~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Notes:     by tkbrown
Rather aptly said, even for today -- don't you think?

Springtime . . .

by tkbrown
Spring is rejuvenation and rebirth,
life and color revisits drab and dead
in the world round about, o'er all the earth.
As the sun warms the soil, giving earth's bed
the urge to burst forth with abundant life
to welcome beasts of the earth with fodder,
fowl of the air with delight as they strive
for nesting place and food found in nature.
Bursting forth with abundance fur nurture
as seeds lain dormant for winter now sprout,
hill and vale beckon with life and color.
Tiny yellow-green leaves seem to pop out
overnight on the limbs -- drab through winter --
and dots from the rainbow fill hooded green
hips as all floral reach for sunlight banter
upon petals reflecting healthy sheen.
Beauty splashed from God's colorful palette
brings a feast to appreciative eye
midst the sweet balance and lush complement
of the surrounding backdrop -- earth and sky.
Rounding a bend in the lush path ahead
a different view the senses observe
where lush green grasses carpet the land
with patches of brown accenting the verve.
The sun shines brightly as it warms the soil;
gardens are tilled, soil readied for planting.
Beds raised and prepared where families toil
setting and seeding their salad fixings --
onions, radishes, spinach and lettuce,
with tomatoes and cukes off to the side.
When oak leaves are the size of a squirrel's
ear, potato plantings can temps abide.
They don't grow well when temperatures soar;
so, always be sure to plant by the moon.
For corn and beans, squash and okra galore
the waxing and waning should be in tune.
Bumper crops grown by the old-time folklore
will fill cupboards, freezers and cellars too.
Springtime yearnings will fill tables and more,
and harvesting produce saves money too.

Stay Home, Obey the Mandates

~~ a Devotional ~~

 ~~ by tkbrown

There is something about ‘having to stay inside’ that gives us the ‘itch’ to go outside. We are creatures of habit! We are bored staying inside. We feel like we are being punished, but in reality, we are not being punished. We are being protected, but only if we adhere to the stringent lifestyle that must be our abode for a time.

You ask, “How long a time?” “Isn’t a week or two enough?” Probably not. As President Trump has said, it may be months before ‘this lifestyle’ ends. We must protect ourselves, or others will never be able to assist in our protection. We must stay inside unless we absolutely have to get out.

We all have certain, necessary things for which we must leave the home — but, really, those are few. Plan your meals for the week ahead, then have one person get the supplies needed for those meals. Have fun preparing food at home instead of eating out or buying take-home.

If you must go to the doctor, do not drag others along with you. Go, get it over with, and go home. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please go be tested — do not delay in this. If you infect others, and one of those ‘others’ dies, what will that mean to you?

If you must leave your home to pay a bill, go — pay the bill — then go back home. Do not drive around to see how many people are not staying home.

We must be pro-active in this situation. The people who have pulled together to help us through this are large in number. Be thankful for what they are doing! Listen to what they are saying They have been tasked with a monumental responsibility.

Before COVID-19 erupted, tests to confirm it in a person were non-existent. Those have been created since the virus began. This takes time.  Sometimes, it takes months to create an accurate test. Those tests are now available to those cases doctors deem to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

The vaccine to immunize against a new virus cannot be developed until it erupts. Those usually take twelve to eighteen months. They are already being tested, but it will still be several months before they become available to the general public. It must be stringently tested to ensure it does not add to the new cases.

Do what those tasked with protecting you tell us to do! Keep track of the speed of spread with this contagion. and it will help you to see how much danger you are in if you leave your home.

Yesterday, the United States had 1,000 cases of COVID-19. Today, it is 6,000 cases. That means it has multiplied five-fold since yesterday. Think of that! FIVE TIMES MORE than yesterday. How can you protect yourself with people not even knowing (or caring, in some instances) they have been exposed? How can the officials protect you, if you do not keep up with what they are saying? This is really serious!

My mother was born in 1918 — when the Spanish Flue pandemic killed so many people. She was too young to remember the quarantines put into place by governing officials, but her parents and other relatives remembered. She did remember what they said, and she relayed that to us.

Many are going to die, but that number can be greatly reduced by doing what the authorities say. Don’t hold animosity toward them. They have your best interests at heart.

No, I am not panicked. I just know that I must do my part too. I must stay inside — away from other people — unless I absolutely have to go take care of business.

Matthew 22:17-22 (NKJV) relates a situation when the Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up regarding the law and what must be obeyed.

  • 17 — “Tell us, therefore, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”
  • 18 — “But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, ‘Why do you test me, you hypocrites?'”
  • 19 — “‘Show Me the tax money.’ So, they brought Him a denarius.”
  • 20 — “And He said to them, ‘Whose image and inscription is this?'”
  • 21 — “They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s’ And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.'”
  • 22 — “When they had heard these words, they marveled and left Him and went their way.”

Romans 13:1 and 2 addresses the importance of submitting to the directives of those in positions of power in your country.

  • 1 — “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”
  • 2 — “Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgement on themselves.”

So, do your part by doing what our Governing Officials have said we must do. Stay home unless you absolutely must go and do something of importance.

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The ‘Ides of March’

     ~~  a quindecim
by tkbrown

The ‘Ides of March’ bring tales of woe
in days of old and days of fro’.
Be it debt or death, thought awry . . .
blizzards or bombs, looks in the eye,
a knife in the back, just a glance
with crooked smile, deceit perchance.
One is jailed for an unpaid debt;
another assailed with an illness yet.
Disaster o’ercomes effort spent,
destroys all that this life hath lent.
Frailty brings one down to earth,
and forges diff’rent points of view.
In counting what this life is worth,
the ‘Ides of March’ cast sight askew . . .
O’ercome bad plight with hope anew!

          (Written 15 March 2019.)

Zacharias to have son . . .

old antique bible as an open book with sunlight bursting from the pages

Scripture is from the Holy Bible — New King James Version (NKJV)

John the Baptist to be born

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Lesson Scripture — Luke 1:5-25

5 — “There was in the days of Herod the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.”
6 — “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”
7 — “But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.”
8 — “So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division,”
9 — “according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.”
10 — “And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.”
11 — “Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.”
12 — “And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.”
13 — “But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.'”
14 — “‘And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.'”
15 — “‘For he will be great in the sight of t he Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.'”
16 — “‘And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.”
17 — “‘He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.'”
18 — “And Zacharias said to the angel, ‘How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.'”
19 — “And the angel answered and said to him, ‘I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.'”
20 — “‘But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.'”
21 — “And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple.”
22 — “But when he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.”
23 — “So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house.”
24 — “Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived and she hid herself five months, saying”
25 — “‘Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.'”

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Notes on Scripture — by tkbrown

Above, I have presented the scripture in Luke Chapter 1 regarding the birth of ‘John the Baptist.’ (The apostle, John, was not John the Baptist. They are two different men.) Zacharias was informed by the angel, Gabriel, that his wife — Elizabeth — would bear a son, and they were to call his name “John”.

Zacharias did not understand how, at his and Elizabeth’s advanced ages, she could give birth to a son. He asked Gabriel how he would know this was true. Gabriel informed him he would not be able to speak (he would be mute) the entire time — nine months — until John would be born. This was the consequence dealt Zacharias for not believing Gabriel, the angel of God.

Then we see that Elizabeth, who is in awe of being with child. She hides herself away for five months before she tells anyone.

I stopped the scripture here, and next week I will begin with verse 26 — which is the beginning of Mary being told — six months after Zacharias was told of John’s impending birth —  she would give birth to Jesus. John was six months older than Jesus and would pave the way for Jesus’ ministry here on earth.

We will review the high points of Jesus’ life here on earth, and I will present scripture from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It will take a few weeks to cover all of this. Then we will look a bit more closely at Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.

Please come back each week to study the scripture with us and learn of Jesus’ life here on earth.

Have a Blessed Week

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Lesson 1: Zacharias to Have Son . . . 

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