Charity

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

I Corinthians 13:13: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The word “charity,” in the New King James Version (NKJV), is translated “love.” Thus, in this passage written by Paul to the Corinthians, the two words might be used interchangeably. Apparently, there were many issues concerning the Christians at Corinth. In chapter 13, Paul addresses the need for love to abound. He notes a number of achievements to be worked toward as Christians in Christ’s church; then he cautions that without “charity” or “love” none of these is worth anything in Christ’s church. Though one may attain a high level of honor, without love, that person is nothing in God’s eyes.

How often do we, today, teach the importance of “charity” or “love?” Love, or charity, should be a frequent topic of our Bible lessons. It takes extensive study on the topic to exhibit the love Christ had, and has, for His church.

Love is one character trait deserving of frequent address. Too often we “go through the motions” but they mean nothing to us. Verse 2 says:

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”–I Corinthians 13:2–NKJV.

Though it is possible to have faith enough to accomplish any feat—with God’s help–if I have not ”charity” or “love,” faith profits me nothing.

Faith, hope, and love are the three most essential characteristics of a Christian. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17–NKJV). “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1—NKJV) Faith is instilled by hearing, reading, and learning the word of God. It is important to follow hearing with study in order to learn the true meaning of the scripture presented. Paul told Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15–KJV). When we hear the Word, that hearing must be followed by our own private study to ensure we understand what is being said, when it was said, to whom, and about what. Thus, we learn the true meaning of the scripture uttered in our hearing.

The more we study God’s Word, the more it impresses upon us the need for love in our own character. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:43-47

43 — “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy,”

44 – “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you;”

45 – “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

46 – “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?”

47 – “And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?”

 The more we try to emulate Christ, the more love we will extend love to others. It is a tall order to “love our enemies and do good to them.” This tells us, if we have not love we are not emulating Christ—we are but pretenders. This pretense means nothing to God and will not ensure entry into heaven. We must grow as Christians if we are to hold the love for others that Jesus requires.

A new Christian has learned to love him-/herself enough to want to spend eternity with God and Christ. A mature Christian has grown in the emulation of Christ so that love is evident. Christ laid down His life to save us. How many of us would do the same?

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Photo Above: by reenablack @pixabay.com.

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Sources:

Eds. biblegateway.com. (2021). Holy Bible – New King James Version (NKJV). 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. www.biblegateway.com. (26 January 2021). www.biblegateway.com.

Eds. Biblegateway.com (2021). Holy Bible – King James Version (KJV). 1987 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. www.biblegateway.com. (26 January 2021). www.biblegateway.com.

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February 2021

~~ a calendar quindecim ~~

by tkbrown
Winter Wonderland
January moves into February,
and winter has settled in.
Sunny skies are often cloudy;
snow is on its way again.
Wind is blowing, howling--
a reminder to stay in and warm.
Hot soup will tame stomach's growling
and the goosebumps on my arm.
Awakening to a new day dawning,
out the window is now a wonderland,
a roaring fire in the stove is warming,
novelty in the air is quite grand.
Being snowed in can be so charming
if we fill the time with games, reading--
cooking memories for future sharing.

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Photo Above: by Long Luc @Unsplash.com.

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Complaining and Disputing

            ~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

Philippians 2:14-16

  • 14 – “Do all things without complaining and disputing,”
  • 15 – “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,”
  • 16 – “holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”

As Christians, our attitude toward daily life sets us apart from the world and from those who follow Satan. In Philippians Chapter 2, Paul tells us to “Do all things without complaining and disputing . . . .” An attitude of complaint works against our becoming emulators of Christ.

To be a Christian means to be “emulators of Christ.” In I Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV), Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” Was Christ ever complaining about His mission as God’s Son here on earth. No, even in the throes of death, He merely asked God “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46 (NKJV) says, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘E’li, E’li, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ and the King James Version says ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ But He never complained.

When He prayed on the mount during the night preceding his arrest, Jesus asked for “His cup” to pass from Him adding, “but thy will, not mine be done.” Matthew 26:39 gives an account of this: “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’” With Christ as our Mediator with God, we are not expected to accept everything without questioning ‘why’, but we are asked to do even that without complaint or dispute. If we manage our attitude, we will be shown the ‘why’ of those things expected of us. However, even if we are not shown the ‘why’, we are still asked to do without complaint or dispute.

How many times do we catch ourselves complaining about our ‘due’ in life? Even complaining in thought can be destructive to a “Christ attitude.” It is imperative that we review our thoughts in a prayerful attitude, as Christ did daily, to prevent the attitude of those thoughts from spilling into our actual interactions with others. To attempt living our daily interactions without guidance from God and Christ is to make our souls vulnerable to Satan and his wiles.

“Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17 – KJV), Paul tells us. Jesus obviously prayed without ceasing. In studying His life, we often see Him retreating from the world to pray – often praying all night and into the next morning. In our studying of His life, we have already seen this to be true: “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” (Luke 5:16 NKJV). If even He did so, why should we not do the same? To pray without ceasing does not necessarily mean on bended knee all of the time. If I am to emulate the life of Christ, all that I do must be done with a prayerful attitude. If I am engaging in some activity that challenges my ability to emulate Christ in His life here on earth, I should be uttering prayers for guidance “under my breath” the whole time. Thus, even in times of trial, we are open to God’s guidance. If we ever believe we have arrived at a place where we can achieve this without a prayerful attitude, we have just given our souls over to Satan who deceives us into believing we can do it on our own.

The events of this world today are presenting trying times, and many of us may soon be faced with choices as to whom we follow in life. Are we ready for such challenges? Can we do it alone? Indeed not! We can only meet these challenges with a prayerful attitude.

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Photo Above: by reenablack @pixabay.com.

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Sources:

Eds. biblegateway.com. (2021). Holy Bible – New King James Version (NKJV). 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. www.biblegateway.com. (26 January 2021). www.biblegateway.com.

Eds. Biblegateway.com (2021). Holy Bible – King James Version (KJV). 1987 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. www.biblegateway.com. (26 January 2021). www.biblegateway.com.

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January 2021

~~ a calendar quindecim ~~

by tkbrown
Shifting Sands
The times, they are a changin
as they shift from side to side--
change to this, change to that, then
they shift the great divide.
It's kinda like a marriage;
each new wife brings a change--
a new ride in a new carriage,
new underwear for a new gage.
A new hairdo brings changes too;
with each new woman comes a new view--
new hair for a trip to the zoo
and new food for all to chew.
But somehow, it always stays the same,
a new ball for the same old game
spices things up when they get too tame.

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Photo Above: by Amy Torbenson @unsplash.com.

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Calendar Quindecims — December 2020

~~ by tkbrown
December is moving in fast,
and Thanksgiving is barely past--
or, is it? Travel, families,
Black Friday fare--those online venues--
shopping with masks, social distance--
greatly reduced deals, now's your chance!
Buy now, pay later--give better
for Christmas than ever before.
Material flare--girls and boys
each year get more expensive toys.
This year will be no different,
I'm sure--packages and love sent
to those afar off. Would I could
be there with you--for now we should
be thankful for the things we have
and for the family to love.
God, please send it o'er air by dove!

My Morning Do . . . Inspiration

~~ by tkbrown

20 November 2020

The Written Word

The night is all around
as it seems to wrap itself
about my soul . . .

a security blanket of sorts
keeping the unwanted out
and filtering in

that which is welcomed with
wholehearted abandon, a muse
of the written word.

I look inward, toward the words
waiting to be shared with
the world this day,

and putting pen to paper
I create something, anything
of import and hue.

Once created, I give it
some time to breathe
before viewing it

to edit and tweak
until it seemeth a clue
worthy to share

as it reveals to you
a bit of the "what" and "who"
that maketh me.

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Sometimes, the words within just seem to flow from me, through the pen and onto the paper without any effort on my part. These are the times when writing is pure joy and inspiration. These are the times when I am amazed at the finished product, usually completed in a matter of minutes. These are truly what I believe the muse considers to be, “My Morning Do” . . . tidbits to be shared with those who can appreciate the meaning behind the creation, the feeling behind the words, the “want to” behind the need to put pen to paper.

And so, this is today’s “My Morning Do” . . . I share it now with you in the hopes that you might see a little bit of you in these words that share a little bit of me.

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Photo Above: by Duo Chen @ Unsplash.com.

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Thanksgiving 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

a quindecim triad
~~ by tkbrown ~~
As Thanksgiving Day approaches our minds reflect
upon those things for which we can be thankful.
This year, in particular, as we attempt to deflect
some of the year's more unpleasant, distasteful
aspects recently passed, perhaps our thought
might linger on those very things we would rather
forget. The coronavirus, for instance, has wrought
havoc on the entire world, and still it grows . . . stronger.
Many have lost loved ones as it ravaged our homes,
our lives, our nations, our world. Has it beleaguered
our universe too? Our losses seem greater in domes
fabricated by the quarantines and other featured
components of our lives. Can we see--e'en for a moment
that we are blessed to be alive and able to ruminate
and to formulate gratitude in the losses we repudiate.

E'en through the unpleasant times and events
occurring throughout the year, our world has paused
to focus upon giving medical care in hospital tents
erected by the armed forces, necessitated and caused
by a desire to save lives. In countries large and small,
pharmaceutical teams have hovered over petri dishes,
laboring hours upon end, striving to answer the call
for vaccine and treatment options to grant wishes
and supply clinical trials. The scientific world
pulls together, competing to be the frontrunner
in this race with death after being hurled
headfirst into a wall toward which time's gunner
attempts to take away more precious lives.
Children are losing parents, and husbands are losing wives,
hospitals are losing the battle in which each strives.

As we approach this special Day of Thanksgiving,
I implore the world to join with us in prayer--
bowed heads and humble hearts of the living.
While we collectively ask for strength to care
about the needs of those who are hurting,
and join together in prayers of uplifting praise,
offering thanks for the resources relieving
limitations on production, mending the frays
of education, entertainment, and self-care.
Technology, far more advanced than ever before,
has opened doors and built bridges o'er
land and sea to bring a hurting world together.
Let us bow our heads in a world-wide prayer
thanking God for bringing us together
and for the support we receive from each other.

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Photo Above: by Tom Barret @ Unsplash.com.

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Calendar Quindecims – November 2020

~~ by tkbrown
November brings election day
with voter's choice in government.
Who will be chosen president?
Representatives holding sway
these four years past will be informed--
with each vote cast--the view now held
as constituents vote to say
just how goes home and who shall stay.
Along with senators to be felled,
satisfaction for service--now
renowned--by all will be made known.
Some will boast smiles while others frown
as the message sent reveals how
the next four years will now take form.
All will have cast votes for the norm:
will it be new or seats kept warm?

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Photo Above: from pixabay.com.

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The Extra Hour

~~ by tkbrown
Now finding ourselves in the beauty of fall
as Old Jack Frost ponders, propels a call,
Old Father Time sputters a bit,

finds the hour lost in spring is a fit--
filling the sputter occurring now
as Old Jack Frost to time doth bow.

Wakening early from habit, but seeming not
as bio clock adjustments are sought
but incomplete, leaves us a void

in time and thought, ne'er enjoyed.
Circadian rhythm bereft, not yet replete,
swaying left and veering right

attempting to level, align the glide--
but depleting, tossing that hour aside--
its enjoyment lost

midst the effort spent to reorient
mind and body in time and space,
renewing the voyage with seeming grace.

By the time the body reconciles,
it has physically and mentally traversed miles
beyond enjoyment of the hour refitted

by Old Father Time on a journey committed
to one and all--a juggling of that hour betwixt
Spring and Fall--enjoyed daylight predicts.

Sleeping away the hour saved
ensures 'twill never be extolled or raved
midst talks of 'past' in future days.

Ne'er can be told of bright sunrays
casting vim and vigor upon paths chosen
to be trod with life and limb beholden.

So, choose ye well the spending of your time,
awakened or sleeping in a surreal mime
of what might have been

in that undisturbed hour -- but then . . .
either way, if ye spend it well
there will be a tale to tell.

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Photo Above: copyright Shutterstock.com.

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Calendar Quindecims — October 2020

by tkbrown

October arrived late this year, it seems;
So too, have school, sports teams, and myriad gleams
quite often seen 'midst colorful backdrops--
this year, road-trips limited to short hops
taken close to home in a one-day glint.
Rise up early, bleary-eyed, just a hint
of sunlight beyond distant shoulder--
flatland does not provide much bold color--
the beauty of such is ne'er beholden',
bright yellows, reds, crimsons, orange, and brown
when early nips from visits by Jack Frost
paint the scenery sought each fall by most.
Those early nights when temperature dips
give a foliage scene--brightly colored tips--
where untold leaves spout-off with sassy quips.

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Photo Above: by KRiemer on pixabay.com.

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