Strength and Refuge

~~ by tkbrown
I cannot imagine what it must be like
to be in his position, having lost so much . . . 

How does one rebuild after such devastation?
. . . after seeing so much suffering and misery?
. . . after opening eyes to the cruelest of cruel
and the most surreal of the most beautiful?

The pain in his facial expression, his eyes,
brings tears to mine that won't blink back.
So much planning! Will it be enough
to bring life to a town so marred by death?
Can any amount of planning or effort
to jumpstart life -- after so much death --
ever diminish or take away the pain?

The stress of shouldering so much responsibility
must overwhelm even the strongest of men at times.
One must respect, if not admire, the tenacity
of those in public office, muddling through the mire
that life has suddenly wrought -- with no warning --
no time to prepare for the insurmountable struggles
faced by all during these uncharted times.

These are the times when I look to the scriptures
for guidance and for resolution within myself.
Many specific passages come to the front of my mind,
but for this day, one can take comfort in the message
meted out in the thirteenth chapter of Romans (NKJV).
To those in positions of power during this time
of foreboding, each is to be subject and to give honor.
He or she has been burdened with the greatest load
any leader has ever known. Even war does not
wreak the havoc, pain and loss of incurable illness.
In the end, each of us, whether stricken or not,
whether impoverished or not, must answer
for deeds directed toward those in power --
for each is appointed that power by the Lord God.
Let me never forget, if characteristics needed
to address the burdens of the time were mine,
I would be there; but, I do not have what it takes
to meet today's challenges head-on --
most of us do not . . ..
Thus, I must respect those whom God deems
able to fill whatever needs arise on this day,
and on every day throughout this time of trial.
May God Bless and Keep Each of Them,
and May He Be Their Strength and Refuge!

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Source Referenced: The Holy Bible (NKJV) — the New King James Version

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Photo by: Steve Halama on Unsplash.com

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Devotional: Social Distancing

Matthew 18:20 (NKJV)

“‘For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.'”

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Notes on Scripture: by tkbrown

These are trying times for people of the faith as well as for those not of the faith. People who are accustomed to attending worship services on Sundays are longing for those days to return. Those who violate the guidelines of no more than 10 in a gathering are frequently penalized by law enforcement. How do we balance our obligation to attend church services?

I encourage you to remember the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 18:20 (above). Here, Jesus knew there would be trying times when large gatherings could not meet. In fact, the disciples went through some of those times. Christians were despised by many during the first century AD. They usually met–either in the catacombs beneath the city, or they would meet house to house. This allowed them to meet in smaller groups–making them less conspicuous. The Emperor Nero was among the Roman rulers who persecuted the Christians. The apostle Peter died during Nero’s heinous rule.

So, take heart during these troubled times, and meet in small groups. Worship house to house like they did after Christ’s death. Just be very careful to ensure that social distancing is practiced. Even with these precautions, you still may contaminate others. If you are an asymptomatic carrier, you may not even know you are infecting others. If you are comfortable with the online, media worship, this is the safest procedure. If not, then please practice social distancing, and meet in small groups. This can be done under the direction of church leadership. I have seen it done. It can work.

I pray that Christians everywhere abide by the restrictions COVID-19 is placing upon us. I ask that God allow us to meet in small groups practicing social distancing in order not to infect others. I pray that God give us strength to learn the lessons intended by these troubling times and make us stronger Christians in better servitude to each other as we serve Him after these times are over. May God Bless and Keep all who practice the faith in Christ Jesus according to Christ’s teachings. I ask all in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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Image above: by Hannah Busing on Unsplash.com

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. . . a new creation

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”
old antique bible as an open book with sunlight bursting from the pages

. . . a new creation

~~ a haiku by tkbrown

 Christianity —
new in Christ through baptism —
a new creation.

Thanksgiving

~~ a Devotional ~~

~~ by tkbrown

Note: If we believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, if we believe that He was sent to this earth to die for the sins of all mankind, if we believe He rose again three days after His death, and if we believe He ascended to heaven to be with God, His Father, once again, then we must believe He will come again to receive us unto himself, when it is time!

— Philippians 4:4 — “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice!”

Philippians 4:5 — “Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”

Note: I am amazed at all God has provided for me and mine. He has left no need lacking. With a prayerful heart, I give Thanks this day for His abounding provisions. He makes His love for me known by providing all for which I have need!. I am, daily, amazed at the unlimited bounds of His love.

Philippians 4:6 — “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God,”

Philippians 4:7 — “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

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~~ Please join with me in an ongoing Prayer of Thanks. ~~

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The Two Greatest Commandments

Photo by: aleteia.org
Source: Holy Bible (NKJV)

John 13:34-37 — “Love one another . . .”
John 13:34 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another: as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
John 13:35“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
John 13:36 — “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,”
John 13:37 — “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”

John 13:38-40 — Love the Lord they God . . .”
John 13:38 — “Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heaert, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.'”
John 13:39“‘This is the first and great commandment.'”
John 13:40“‘On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'”

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Notes: by tkbrown

First, we are told to “Love the Lord thy God . . . ” above all others. If we do this, then the second – which is like unto the first – will follow. Jesus said, “This is the first and great commandment.

Second, we are to “love one another . . . ” as Jesus loved us. By this, His disciples shall be known. If we strive to emulate Christ in our lives, others can see Him in us by the love that we have one for another.

Finally, He goes on to say that “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” All else that we as Christians are required to strive toward hinges upon these two commandments. If we strive toward complete obedience of these two commandments, all else will fall into place.