Satan’s Role . . .

. . . in the Garden of Eden

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“But of the fruit of the tree, which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'”

Genesis 3:3“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

Thinking back to the devotional about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, what can we learn from Satan’s role? He appears in disguise as a serpent and delights in creating havoc when things are going well. God created Adam; then He created Eve as a helpmeet to Adam. He put them in the Garden of Eden which He had filled with every beautiful tree and trees with fruit for them to eat. However, He told them not to eat from two trees or they would surely die.

Satan saw how smoothly things were going. God was even going to the garden every afternoon in the cool of the day to walk and talk with Adam and Eve. Satan decides to “have a little fun and confuse the issue with Adam and Eve.” How often have you heard one person say, “so-and-so was picking on me!” The other person laughs a heartless laugh and chortles, “I was just playin!” Well , this is the attitude Satan had when he talked to Eve about the tree from whence she and Adam had been told not to eat.

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1 — “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said, ‘Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?””

2 — “And the woman said unto the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:'”

3 — “‘But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.””

4 — “And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die.””

5 — “‘For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.'”

6 — “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.”

7 — “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.”

8 — “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.”

9 — “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, ‘Where art thou?'”

10 — “And he said, ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.'”

11 — “And He said, ‘Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?'”

12 — “And the man said, ‘The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.'”

13 — “And the Lord God said unto the woman, ‘What is this that thou hast done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.'”

14 — “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, ‘Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field, upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.‘”

15 — “‘And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.'”

16 — “Unto the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.'”

17 — “Unto the man He said, ‘Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, ‘Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;'”

18 — “‘Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;'”

19 — “‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'”

20 — “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.”

21 — “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them.”

22 — “And the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:'”

23 — “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”

24 — “So, He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

Genesis 3:1-24 — “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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So, Satan saw: Adam and Eve were happy in the garden of Eden, things were going as God intended. Satan was unsettled by this. He plotted and schemed (which is normal for Satan) and devised a plan to cause God some grief. Unbeknownst to Adam and Eve, they became putty in Satan’s hands, and he molded them as he wished. They fell right into his plan. The result was: God’s plans went awry.

This is the same role Satan plays in the world today. All of the chaos around us, all of the violence and ill-will–Satan’s doings: and humanity falls right into his scheme and pushes it along.

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12 — “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”

13 — “For thou hast said in thine heart, ‘I will ascend unto heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:'”

14 — “‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.'”

15 — “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.'”

Isaiah 14:12-15 “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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When we are tempted to do wrong, Satan is pushing those buttons, making us believe there is nothing wrong with whatever we are being tempted to do. He tells us “if God is good, He will not punish you.” He makes us believe all manner of falsehoods about any and all things by which we are tempted. After all, he is the one tempting us. When we do his will instead of doing the will of God and Jesus in heaven above, Satan wins. If this happens often enough for a long enough time, we reach a point where our hearts are hardened to God’s word.

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12 — “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;”

13 — “but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Hebrews 3:12, 13 “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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If we allow our hearts to harden against God and His plan for us, we will never listen to His plan of Salvation again. We will never believe Jesus is God’s Son. Ultimately, we will never enter heaven–and Satan will have won. At that point, he knows we will spend eternity with him in hell; since he is the father of sin, he will then be the father of those who follow him instead of God and Jesus.

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“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

John 8:44 “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

1 John 3:8“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KVJ)

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If we wish to make an eternal home in heaven with God and Jesus, we must first believe Jesus is God’s Son. Then, we must study God’s word, that we might know what to do in order to follow Him instead of Satan. Finally, we must do all that Jesus and His apostles commanded. They spoke with authority by divine inspiration in order to guide those who were receptive to God’s will in the way they must go.. Today, we must adhere to Christ’s plan of eternal salvation, and we must be faithful to that plan unto death if we wish to spend eternity with God and Jesus in heaven.

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“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

1 Peter 5:8“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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In order to defeat Satan in his game of deceit, it is necessary to arm ourselves with the knowledge of God’s word. We must overcome temptation and devote our life in service to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 5:8 (above) says Satan “is like a roaring lion, roaming about the earth, seeking whom he may devour.” When we do wrong, there are always consequences for those wrongs. When those consequences “eat at us” it is Satan devouring our lives one sin at a time. If we do not stay alert and resist his temptation, he will win–we will be cast into hell along with him for all eternity. Therefore, we must gird ourselves with God’s protection as we turn from sin. If we are truly trying to overcome temptation and avoid all sin, and if we ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, God will provide the knowledge, faith, and strength to avoid Satan’s snares,

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“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

James 4:7 “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version: (KJV)

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“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Ephesians 6:12“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

2 Corinthians 11:14“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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I pray we all strengthen our faith in God and Jesus through the study of God’s word that we might turn from Satan. His trickery may make him appear to be an “angel of light,” but it will only give him cause to lock us in hell with him for all eternity. There is an old saying: “misery loves company.” We read above, in Isaiah chapter 14 verses 12 through 15, about Satan (Lucifer) deciding he was going to overthrow God and take over heaven as the Most High.” The result was: God cast him to the pit of hell. Now, he wants us there with him to keep him company. He wants to ease his own guilt by convincing all who are in the world to embrace his guilt and join with him in it. He does not want to be alone in his guilt for all eternity. He wants us in hell with him.

Therefore, I pray we all turn to God for strength and perseverance in our fight against Satan that we might have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

May God give us the knowledge, the understanding, the faith, and the strength to “win the good fight” that we might spend eternity in heaven.

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“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Ephesians 6:11“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 3:3. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-3-3/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 3:1-24. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-Chapter-3/.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Isaiah 14:12-15. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 August 2021). https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2014%3A12-15&version=KJV

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Hebrews 3:12, 13. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). bible gateway.com. (29 August 2021). https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%203%3A12-13&version=KJV.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 8:44. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/John-8-44/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 1 John 3:8. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1-John-3-8/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 1 Peter 5:8. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1-Peter-5-8/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). James 4:7. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/James-4-7/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Ephesians 6:12. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Ephesians-6-12/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 2 Corinthians 11:14. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/2-Corinthians-11-14/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Ephesians 6:11. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Ephesians-6-11/.

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Photo Above: by Roman Grac @pixabay.com.

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Centering on Eternity

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:18Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

If we wish to center ourselves upon God and His Son, Jesus Christ, we must remove our minds from the concerns of daily living and focus upon those things which are eternal. We cannot focus upon material or relationship concerns and focus upon those things eternal at the same time. It is necessary that we remove our minds from the here and now in order that we might focus on the eternal order of things. What is happening in my earthly life at any given time must be secondary to that which is happening in my eternal focus.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told those in attendance:

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 6:33Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

If I am focused upon what I will eat, or what I will wear, I cannot truly focus upon God and His righteousness. However, if I am truly focused upon God and His righteousness, He provides what I will eat and what I will wear. Centering my thoughts and my life upon Him and His Son takes me away from my worries over daily concerns and places Him in charge of those things.

This does not mean there will be nothing for me to do in order to arrive at those needs. It means, if I am focused upon Him, I prioritize my actions so they are in line with his directives. He will guide me to His desires for my life, if I allow it.

When I open myself to God’s guidance, oftentimes I “just happen upon” the very thing I am needing or pondering. How does this happen? By freeing my mind from worry and daily strife, I am able to follow in His footsteps. I am living my life in a manner pleasing unto Him, and He places answers to my questions and needs in my path, if I am searching in His righteousness.

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  • 5 — “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”
  • 6 — “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
  • 7 — “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
  • 8 — “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
  • 9 — “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
  • 10 — “But I rejoiced in the Lord Greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again, wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.”
  • 11 — “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Philippians 4:5-11Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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In his epistle to the Philippians, Paul is telling them how to center themselves upon God, His Son, and all things eternal. He implores them to worry and fret over nothing, but in all things to give thanks in prayer and supplication. When they practiced this in their daily lives, he told them, they would have a peace beyond their understanding because their hearts and minds would be in Christ Jesus.

If I focus upon doing, thinking, and saying those things that will be pleasing unto God and Christ Jesus, I will have no cause for concern about what the day may require. All things, will fall into place when my focus is “eternity with God and His Son.” I must stress, however, I must do the deeds He would have me to do in order for this to occur. If I am a homemaker, I must do those things necessary to ensure my home runs smoothly. If I am employed outside the home, I must do those things required of me upon that job. If I am a public servant, I must do those things needed to meet the needs of the public. Whatever my lot in life, I must be actively pursuing the needs of that lot. I cannot sit idly by, doing nothing, for things to fall into place. This is not what God’s righteousness is about. God cares for us, when we free Him up to do so. We free Him up to do so by doing the things needed here on earth–but our minds and hearts should ever be in tune to Him and Christ Jesus.

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  • 11 — “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
  • 12 — “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”
  • 13 — “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”
  • 14 — “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
  • 15 — “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
  • 16 — “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”
  • 17 — “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”

Philippians 3:11-17Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Paul says in these verses, he has not yet attained the resurrection unto Christ, but is constantly reaching for that goal in thought, in mind, in action, and in purpose. He acknowledges that he has done things in the past for which most people would cast him to the devil and never allow him to enter heaven. But he must forget about those things. Christ has “apprehended him” to serve God in every endeavor. He has been forgiven those sinful acts and is commanded to set an example for others to follow. Thus, he reaches for those things which Christ holds in heaven for him, and he presses onward toward that mark–“the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He then turns to the recipients of his epistle and reminds them to join with him in being thus minded. When he refers to “as many as be perfect,” he is not meaning without fault. The word “perfect” here means “mature.” So, if we are mature in Christ, and our minds are focused amiss, he tells us, “God shall reveal even this unto you.”

I was in conversation with my brother a while back when he stated, “Sometimes God tells us what He wants us to know through the mouths of those with whom we are speaking.” I wholeheartedly agree. Sometimes, in our daily conversations, we will “hear” exactly what God wants us to “hear.” The question is, “Are we listening?” This is where our “focus” comes into play. If my mind is where it should be as a Christian, if it is focused on doing, thinking, saying, and purposing according to God’s righteous guidance, I will be shown. Sometimes, I will be shown through something I “read.” Sometimes, I may be on an errand out and about when I am guided to where I will “see” what God wants to happen in my life. “Am I watching?

My part in “pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” is to be “tuned in” to God and Christ Jesus. Then I can know God’s will and receive the “peace that passeth understanding.” This is how I know I am “centered on eternity.”

Where is your “center” today? Is it on earthly matters and concerns, or is it wrapped around God, His Son, and their will for you? May He heap blessings upon you in untold number when you “focus” upon Him and His righteousness–when you are “centered on eternity.”

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 2 Corinthians 4:18. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (15 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/2-Corinthians-4-18/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 6:33. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (15 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-6-33/.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Philippians 4:5-11. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (15 August 2021). https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%204%3A5-11&version=KJV.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Philippians 3:11-17. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (15 August 2021). https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%203%3A11-17&version=KJV.

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Photo Above: by Samuel McGarrigle @Unsplash.com.

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Born to Run Wild . . .

Male and female lion sitting on a rock.
by tkbrown
I was born to be wild . . . 
not penned up in a zoo,
not meant to be cooped up
to fuel the pleasure of you.
I was born to roam free
with my babes and friends,
exploring the world
until my life bends or ends.
I was born to attack
when the need doth arise--
protecting my own
under wide open skies.
My name is Zambia,
I was meant to be free--
not in a concrete jungle
for your sickening glee.

I am the "King" of my kind
with the need to stalk prey,
need to challenge the mind--
teach the Pride to sashay.
I protect the Pride's young,
sacrifice self when I must,
overlooking our freedom
midst the just and the unjust.
We need plenty of cover
and much space for the chase;
keeping preying skills shining
helps the "King" to save face.
We need dedicated parkland
away from people and towns
to preserve our heritage
and prevent dying down.

People are impeding
all the places we have lived,
making them uninhabitable--
many Prides are deprived.
Our prey must be large
and live where we live,
so hunting skills can excel
as our cubs learn and thrive.
Preservation is the need,
hunting is the skill,
teaching craft to our cubs
is our protection still.
When humans move in,
settling within our homeland,
they take away our freedom--
bidding extinction take its stand.

I cannot be a "King"
midst my homeland and Pride
if we are dying out
'cause there is no place to hide.
There is very little thought
given to our lifestyle
and what it takes to survive
for e'en a little while.
When we have no place to go
to live the life we must,
the old life we must retain--
or we will all return to dust.
This is my heartfelt plea
to all of you who care,
"Please return our homeland
undisturbed by human fare!"

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Photo Above: by mojoeks @depositphotos.com

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Awakening

~~ a Springtime quindecim

by tkbrown
The world slowly opens its eyes,
sleep lazily drifting away--
from a year of treatment trial
to real-life--so far from benign.
Changes await--careless and wise;
whate'er we do, whate'er we say,
the virus spreads 'mongst us still,
and more choose to brave the vaccine.
Beleaguered businesses devise
plans to re-open 'midst the fray;
some return with variant viral
increase showing no let-up sign.
What was is done, ne'er will it be
relived. The things--this day--we see
matter, e'en when we disagree.

Winds of Spring challenge Winter's droll
as temperatures rise and fall.
The "Lion," chased by frolicking "Lamb,"
skitters into the waking woods,
then returns with his empty bowl--
whistling sweetly, utters a call
to Springtime warmth, mimicking clam--
then lowers it to scoop his "goods."
Remnant sweetness drifts to the shoal,
settles against debris strewn wall--
although it did spare Birmingham--
while moving on to other 'hoods.
Awakening is bittersweet
as the month pulses to its feet
when Winter's cold and warmth do meet.

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As Winter draws to a close and Springtime opens her eyes, we all await warmer days with antsy anticipation. A combination of factors makes this "looking forward" even edgier this year: the Covid-19 pandemic, the social distancing and disinfecting protocols to protect self and others, the record-breaking snowfall and temperatures, the toll taken by both the pandemic and the weather. Even as we are hopeful for a year of recovery, health, happiness, and prosperity, we face new challenges in various forms. Look ahead with assurance of the fact: "This too shall pass," (Anonymous).

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Photo Above: by Gerd Altmann @pixabay.com.

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My Morning Do . . . Pray for President Trump

~~ by tkbrown

3 October 2020 — As we all probably know by now, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were diagnosed as having Coronavirus early yesterday morning. He has now admitted himself to Walter Reed Medical Center for treatment and monitoring. Now, several of his chief support staff and friends have tested positive for the virus. My prayers are with President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice-President Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence, and all close associates–those who have tested positive for Covid-19 and those who have not. My prayers are also with Democratic Presidential Nominee and Former Vice-President, Joe Biden and his wife Jill. I ask that all who believe in the power of prayer and faith join me in prayer for these and for our country.

The myriad reactions in the press to the virus finally reaching the White House has left me slack-jawed! I cannot believe the amount of negativity surrounding this development. When we focus so strongly on what is wrong, are we not increasing the likelihood of further testing by the powers that be? I pray our country can move past the negativity shown across the nation in recent months. If we want healing, our focus must move to those things that are right with an intentional movement to build upon them.

Every family goes through times when it seems everything goes wrong. Right now, our nation is in one of those times. When your family is surrounded by unpleasantness, do you contribute to it by ranting, raving, and assaulting one another? Or do you try to heal the problems . Every person in this nation has a right to his or her beliefs from one side of the political spectrum to the other. I respect this right in others even when I strongly disagree with the belief itself. I do not try to force anyone to believe as I believe or to act as I act. Right now, there is a strong push for everyone to move to the left. Be careful what you wish for! You just might get it!

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Photo Above: by Tabrez Syed on Unsplash.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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My Morning Do . . . In Memoriam

Mac Davis and Helen Reddy

~~ by tkbrown

30 September 2020 — Two very potent Singer-Songwriters in the United States Country-Pop Genre of the 1970s have died: Mac Davis and Helen Reddy. I graduated high school in May 1972 and married in June 1972. I am a country girl through and through with a bit of pop, Rock ‘n Roll, Jazz, Rhythm ‘n Blues, Hard Rock and even Heavy Metal; I guess the biggest influence on me as a person has come from Christian Hymns. I grew up in the country, and like Barbara Mandrell — “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.” With all of this musical influence in my life, how could I help but write poetry and song lyrics too?

The influence of Helen Reddy’s song, “I Am Woman,” cannot be ignored. I think she stirred a tiny bit of rebellion in me. Her song made me realize I was strong and could survive whatever came along! I remember cooking and cleaning while singing this song when my children were young. She was among the first women to write and sing about the strength women possess.

Mac Davis’ “Lord It’s Hard to Be Humble,” was a song I heard at least several times a week. He wrote at least two of my favorites recorded by Elvis Presley: “In the Ghetto,” and “A Little Less Conversation.” He wrote for many of the top names in Country Music; so, many of his tunes were among those I sang regularly at home.

For the two of them to have died on the same day is a bit uncanny, and it touches my heart. I have always loved to sing. I grew up with sisters and a mother who all loved to sing; so, we turned on the radio, and we sang. I love the oldies. I love the songs my Mama loved. I love the songs my Daddy loved. I love the songs my siblings loved, and I love the songs my children and grand children love and have loved. So, the deaths of two of my favorite Singer-Songwriters creates a bit of nostalgia for me. I guess I am getting old, huh???

Thank You all for putting up with my memories today! Blessings!!!

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My Morning Do . . . Grief and Proactivity

~~ by tkbrown

26 September 2020 — As I mentioned in my previous post, depression associated with grieving is a normal reaction to loss. There are myriad possibilities as to what the loss may be, and one will be dealt with a bit differently from another. If addressed proactively as the grieving process progresses, oftentimes serious depression can be avoided. However, if one does begin finding it difficult to engage normal daily living activities, it may be necessary to schedule a few days to work on specific areas of concern. This can be accomplished alone or with the help of a person who has already proven to be a trustworthy support person in the grieving process.

Depression slows one down during the grieving to aid the introspective work necessary to move past it and into some level of acceptance. Taking some time for inner exploration will speed the path to recovery. There are ways to address the depression on your own, without any outside help if these activities are begun before recognizable impairment develops.

One way to move into and through depressive thoughts is to journal. Set aside a time each day to record thoughts in a composition notebook. Sitting in a quiet place, away from any possible interruptions, begin writing–whatever you are thinking at the time. If what you write does not make sense, this is ok.

The purpose of this portion of the journaling activity is to see the organization of your thoughts. Try not to miss any words — stream of thought is important. Write quickly; slow transcription of thought to paper can cause thoughts to wander due to distraction which causes inaccurate reflection. Recording of thoughts should continue for five to ten minutes. Set a timer or an alarm so concerns about the time do not interrupt the flow of thought.

When time has elapsed, take five minutes to free your mind. Then, read over what has been written. Try to note any patterns or specific lines of thought. Note topics and related concerns on a clean sheet of paper. Then take fifteen minutes to write about worries–concerns noted since your last journaling exercise. Elaborate a bit on each. Discuss specific thoughts noted to be interrupting normal activity.

Now, list some enjoyable activities. Hobbies of a creative nature are often helpful in overcome disruptive depression. If drawing or painting are enjoyable options, express feelings in the art. Draw or paint feelings onto paper or canvas. There are no right or wrong approaches. Just draw, sketch, or paint using charcoal, coloring pencils, pastels, or paints as mediums.

Other creative activities to consider include writing (i.e., poetry or prose), needlecrafts such as sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cross-stitch. Cooking, (i.e., making breads–rolls, loaf breads, even cookies) anything that allows complete distraction from the loss. These activities will assist the process of moving through the depression to beginning life again after the loss. Acceptance involves learning to live with the loss. Fill time, previously engaged by the loss, with activities and people you enjoy.

As enjoyable activities continue, begin taking ten or fifteen minutes of daily journaling time to discuss the previous day’s activities. Describe your perceptions of the creative activities and endeavors being pursued. Write anything coming to mind. The goal is to slowly notice movement back into a normal activity level.

The loss will always be a part of the person you become. As you remember positive aspects previously brought to life by the loss, begin to focus on ways related memories are transitioning into strengths and creating the “you of tomorrow.” Proactive approaches, such as journaling and conscious activation of hobbies can be very helpful to resuming normal daily living.

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My Morning Do . . . Grief and Depression

~~ by tkbrown

25 September 2020 — A few days ago, I discussed the reality of grieving not only individually but also as a society. Depression is an important part of grieving because how you cope with your depression determines the extent to which you and those around you are impacted by all stages of loss and grieving. Depression slows you down and requires that you face the loss. Denial, anger, and bargaining typically precede depression, but in societal grief there may be no way to predict how society, or individuals, will progress through the stages. So, we must develop compassion and tolerance for the suffering.

However, we must also draw a line to stop the violence and mayhem assault on others–it is not a part of grieving. Creating more grief does not resolve your own suffering or that of anyone else. It causes post-traumatic-stress disorder for all victims. Do not kid yourself! Those inflicting the harm are not the sufferers. There should be swift legal action and reparations against all who cause harm to another person or to another person’s property.

When the coronavirus hit, individuals began grieving the loss of family and friends. Those losses were not a long time in coming. Some had only a day or two of illness in the family member or friend before death caused a forever separation. Loved ones in the hospital were unable to see family and friends face to face due to the contagious aspect of the pandemic and self-quarantining required by our expert health officials. Some were able to talk on the phone with a loved one, but many could not arrange this contact due to the loved one being too ill to talk. As if these atrocities were not enough, the loved on died without being able to get a hug or hear the words “I Love You!” in a face to face visit. Some were even unable to arrange a funeral due to the virus. No technological contact can ever replace the healing power of face to face care and love.

Those who did have loved ones who survived were still not able to see them due to “stay at home” restrictions on society. The loved one may have continued to suffer problems from the illness after recovery. He or she may still be suffering. The long term impact of having the coronavirus is still being learned. How does one help a loved one when it is not possible to be there in person. The problems associated with the illness and or loss of a loved one only scrape the tip of the iceberg in dealing with losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Many have lost jobs because of the contagion causing too much illness in the workplace and decisions to close in an attempt to prevent the spread. Some were fortunate enough to be able to transfer work responsibilities to home via online portals. This provided some relief from the stressors involved, but not for all. Job losses presented the problem of not enough money for food, housing, utilities, clothing for growing children (some can grow several sizes in two to three months). The food assistance, rental protection, work position furloughs, extra unemployment compensation, student loan deferrals, and other forms of assistance provided by the federal government helped keep many from falling through the holes in the sidewalk. Others, who had no benefit of unemployment may have been buying a home instead of renting. How was this to be managed? So many question with no answers because no one can predict how long this will continue.

Add to these, the fact that a lack of immune response safety means visiting family members and friends has been largely rendered impossible unless you live close to them. Even in this situation, it must be limited in duration and frequency due to the risk of passing the virus to each other. Social distancing and face masks are another adjustment when in groups. Thrust into these restrictions without warning, without a plan for addressing the contagion or the ramification it presented–because nothing like this has ever happened before–having to keep children home from school, daycare, sports, church and visiting friends have all taken a major toll on everyone.

Shopping for groceries, cleaning and hygiene supplies, personal care products, and other essentials became a major challenge. Frequency of shopping excursions had to be greatly reduced and when in the stores many products were sold out. Production plants had been closed due to too many afflicted by the virus.

Only essential services were allowed to remain in service unless the work could be done 100% online. Some of these situations are historical firsts. They, in some ways, resemble when the Black Plague ravaged Europe, when the flu of 1918 ravaged the world, and when the Great Depression of the 1930s oppressed people everywhere. How does society go on? We have gone on here in America, and we have–so far–survived one day at a time, thanks to our Presidential Administration in Washington D.C. and to our Representatives and Senators both State and National. Even with all of the loss, and grieving, the world is surviving. This will be recorded in history books as a time of recovery even as the virile pandemic ravaged the world. The problems we are facing are normal for the extent of loss and grieving in the world. Everyone, every town, every state, every nation is suffering continuing loss and grieving. What is normal? What is not? When will it all end?

Depression is common amidst society throughout the world at present–with everyone suffering for the same or similar reasons. There are some who suffer chronic depression who should be monitored by a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or a counselor. This is due to the need for some to take antidepressants and to be monitored for problems needing special support–especially during this time of great loss. Those not needing professional assistance to wade through the daily muck are also suffering depression to some degree due to loss and grieving. No one is immune–no one will make it through this pandemic without being personally impacted in some way. This is called reactional depression. It is normal depression which occurs during times of major adjustment to loss. It is a part of the grieving process. No, it is not considered the “first stage” of grieving, but I would suggest there are some who become depressed on the first day of grieving–whatever the loss. Some work through other stages first, but with everyone in the world affected by this loss and grieving process, the stages of grief are going to vary greatly, and some will be working on more than one stage at a time. The overlap will vary but it will be there.

There is a tendency to minimize suffering associated with grief because the suffering is not seen. People go on with life unless they are overwhelmed by the losses. The same applies to societal losses and grieving. It is minimized. How soon did we see people breaking the call to self-quarantine and limit group gatherings to less than ten persons. Some were gathering in larger groups the first week even though each gathering caused spikes in the local number of people who contracted the virus.

We have death and dying all around us, and some said during the first week: “We have to move on!” “We will not be imprisoned in our own homes!” “We will not be told what we can and cannot do!” No concern existed for the safety and lives of others involved. So, the deaths and losses mounted–one upon the other. I would suggest the levels of depression in many individuals–while a natural response to the situation–are phenomenal. Thus, I have decided to discuss depression. This will require several posts to address concerns and to make suggestions for coping with loss and grieving–your own, or that of someone you love and /or care about. If you have need for coverage of some specific area of grieving and loss, and do not see it covered in the next several posts, please place a request in the comment section with a ping-back to your blog so I can address it.

Blessings to all during this time of great oppression!

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Photo Above: by pen_ash at pixabay.com.

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My Morning Do . . . On a Barren Shore

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Just a Note: by tkbrown

Since we are also looking at the grieving process midst all the suffering from so many different sources, I decided to share with you today this poem. I penned it 4 November 2018, but it covers many concerns in our societal grieving process. It seems, we see a few days of reprieve, and then it starts all over again. As I mentioned a few mornings ago, society addresses the same concerns as individuals, it is just multiplied many times over because individuals, families, communities, regions, economies, countries, and the world are all grieving at the same time. So, I deemed it appropriate to share it this morning because so much grief can make everything and everyplace seem like a Barren Shore.

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. . . On a Barren Shore

~~ by tkbrown
I see your suffering,
understand that your pain is deep
as the ocean and wide as the universe,
that it holds your soul captive
midst the struggles of life.
It stifles your heart song,
makes even small inclines steep;
the best of days stretch forth -- an unending curse
cast with punishing missive,
stuffed with ripples of strife.
Making weakness seem strong,
the waves that powerfully creep
in from some deep untimely soulful immerse
as nauseous retchings that grieve
wounds like a sharp-edged knife.

If my understanding
can lessen the depth of your pain,
gladly will I cover the highest sharpest peak --
my body a shield to ward
off such murk from the moor.
Such inept grappling
I offer as shelter from rain,
saturating clefts of hiding, when dark hours sneak
to sharpen and hone the shard
hacking your inner core.
Still, it's an offering
of my heart, to lessen the stain
wrought by the effort to be strong when weak
due to loss that leaves one marred,
scarred -- on a barren shore.

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Photo Above: by pen_ash at pixabay.com.

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