High School

Dedicated To: those who are now in High School and to those who have been.

Diploma: by Mica Hart @pixabay.com.
by tkbrown
Tis the month when school bells begin to ring
even though the virus is surging again.

Teachers, students, classrooms,
binders--three ring,
notetaking, not writing, something akin
to mega seminars--and yet it's more--
with old friends, new friends,
and many new plans,
not enough time,
no energy left at end of day.
Crawling into bed--
out like a light--
the backs of my eyelids
such a beautiful sight.

All too soon morning light peeks in
reminding of needs to be met.

A brand-new day, an old routine
with advanced equations,
how to calculate sine.

What happens later
midst well-laid plans
was not intended--
it was not planned--
protect my heart from this 'start.'
I do not understand
how it managed to rend
the innermost core
and alter who I am.

New emotions running deep,
welling up, unable to keep
them in.

Sensations flowing new and free
at the chance, passing sight of thee--
concentration and focus have all but flown
out the open window where seeds have been sown.
The future is out there, unsure as to where
this path of emotions is leading--
the person I was
taking steps toward
the one I will become.

That first High School band
marching on the field
to enrich experience at halftime
for those watching, marching,
and me.
Do others feel the same?
Is the aura surreal?
Does it show on my face--
this awesome new feel?
One day at a time--
sometimes just an hour--
seems such a waste of rhythm
when my mind is speeding ahead
toward the end of these four."

Can I wish my life away
and be sure I will remain
the person I was
when I stepped onto this train?

Maybe I should
step back for a bit
to catch my breath
before I take . . . a run for it.
High School.

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Photo Above: Gundula Vogel @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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Living in Today

a devotional

~~ by tkbrown ~~

Scripture Source: Holy Bible — New King James Version (NKJV)

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Matthew 6:34 — “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Holy Bible — New King James Version (NKJV)

So often we hear someone refer to tomorrow and what it may bring, or another may rue something that happened a year ago. Do we not realize that when we are worried and fretting about what has already passed or what will happen in the future, we are forgetting–even neglecting–what is happening right now?

For those familiar with the 12-Step Program, the phrase, “One Day at a Time,” is heard often. It is a reminder to quit worrying about what is over and cannot be changed or what has not even arrived yet. It is a reminder to focus on “today” and the events occurring “right now.”

Some, who prefer a more crass reference to the thought might say:

“If ye have one foot in yesterday and ye other in tomorrow, ye are a-peeing all over today.”

Michael J Fox

When you think about it–crass or not–there is much truth in this saying. We simply cannot address, enjoy the events of, or resolve the problems of today, if we are rolling around on the ground wailing about yesterday or tomorrow. “. . . Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present,” Alice Morse Earle.

“The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”

Alice Morse Earle — as per Travis Dultz (below).

So, in this light, I would like to bring our attention to the woes presented in the media today. Each–and every–day, the media complains about what one politician or the other has been doing or saying. If not about what has been done or said, then about what will be done or said. We cannot do anything about the many speculations and even falsehoods found in modern media, but we can change our response to it. While it may be important to be aware of what is being touted as real in the media, it is also important to realize most of it has either already happened or is yet to occur–if it does present itself. So, worrying and fretting about what the media says does no one any good.

  • It can raise your blood pressure. — Not good for you!
  • It can cause a heart attack or stroke. — Not good for you!
  • It can drive you to drinking or doing drugs, if you are so prone. — Not good for you!
  • It can make you depressed. — Not good for you!
  • It can lead you into actions you might never consider if you had not read it or heard it on the news.

So, why does the media have such power over our lives in this day? Perhaps because we have lost the ability to focus on those thoughts, events and concerns of “this day.” When we lose this perspective, today becomes “lost” in the quagmire. Are you guilty of this?

If so, I challenge you to “grab hold” of your focus and shift it back to its intended position. Practice focusing on what is happening right now. Give “it–right now” your undivided attention! You cannot change what happened yesterday, and you cannot do anything about what may or may not happen tomorrow. So, focus on what you can do something about–whatever is happening “right now.” Only when you regain control over your focus can you do anything about the concerns that are most important–the people, places, and things in your life right now.

Yes, sometimes it is important to remember the positive events of the past to help us through the trials and tribulations of the present, but we must limit our past focus to those memories we can utilize to improve the present.

Regarding what the media is saying in reference to this or that politician, I would refer you to the thirteenth chapter of Romans (NKJV), verses one through seven:

Romans 13:1-7
  • 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 judgment on themselves.”
  • 3 — “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.”
  • 4 — “For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”
  • 5 — “Therefore, you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.”
  • 6 — “For because of this, you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.”
  • 7 — “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”

As we, here in America–and in other parts of the world–adapt to new leadership styles in new governing authorities over the next months, many are predicting failure and trepidation. Others are touting the reduction of governmental authority and power. Which will it be? Only time can tell the true tale of what lies ahead. One thing is certain, living in a mode of fear and dread will only exacerbate the situation and make it worse. Therefore, I would caution against deciding now what next month, or next year, will hold. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Sometimes we make the events of our lives worse than they would normally be by worrying and creating a “Self-fulfilling Prophecy.” Sometimes we actually create the very problem we worry might occur.

“In 1948, Robert K Merton coined the term, “self-fulfilling prophecy” to describe a false definition of the situation evoking a behavior which makes the originally false conception come true. . . . “

Derek Schaedig.

It will help us to remember, God says He put the current leaders into power, and we are to be subject to them. We are not to denigrate and denounce the powers that be. We are not to oppose the powers that be. That does not say we cannot work for change, but if we do, we must do it in a respectful manner toward the present powers that be–because those powers are ordained of God.

Hopefully, the thoughts presented in today’s devotional will help with some problem you are facing today. If it does, please let me know that in the comments section below. Just a general summary statement is good–do not feel you are being asked to give personal details. This might make you uncomfortable, and I would never intentionally do that. If you like what has been presented here, click the “Like” button and share it forward. Thank You Much!

I pray that we might always be reminded to keep life as simple as possible by focusing on the “right here, right now” instead of allowing the past or the future to complicate things. May we always look to God, His Son, and His Word for guidance in coping with concerns of this day! Blessings!

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Sources:

Dultz. Travis. (27 August 2015). “Who said ‘Yesterday is history tomorrow is a mystery today is a gift?'” Yesterday Tomorrow Today Phrase Origin. yesterdaytomorrowtodaypresent.blogspot.com. (15 November 2020). http://yesterdaytomorrowtodaypresent.blogspot.com/2015/08/yesterday-tomorrow-and-today-phrase.html.

Schaedig, Derek. (24 August 2020). “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and The Pygmalion Effect. Simply Psychology. simplypsychology.org. (15 November 2020). https://www.simplypsychology.org/self-fulfilling-prophecy.html#:~text=A%20self%2Dfulfilling%20prophecy%20is,ways%20which%20confirm%20the%20expectations.

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Photo Above: from Public Domain Images @ pixabay.com.

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My Morning Do . . . “Logical Reasoning”

~~ by tkbrown

15 September 2020 — While social distancing, by design, necessitates families spending more time together, time spent playing board games and other games strengthen a number of skills needed throughout life. Card games, checkers, Monopoly, Dominoes, Scrabble, and myriad others available for purchase online and in stores require players to look, listen communicate, and act. Decision making plays a large role in winning and losing.

In order to win at a game and in life, rules must be followed. It is necessary to pay attention to what is being done by all players. Math skills are needed in Dominoes, cards, Monopoly, Yahtzee, and others. Thus, when daily chores are completed, sit down together and play games. Communication skills improve because individuals discuss more when sitting together than when each is off doing his or her own thing.

It is imperative to be able to go out and function solo, but success also requires the ability to interact with others in a productive manner. Family mealtimes is an ideal time to increase discussion about the day’s events and any lingering concerns. Even when not spending so much time together, it is important to try and have one meal each day together. Sometimes this may require getting up a bit earlier, making breakfast for everyone so this can occur with all family members sitting around a table or in the same room eating and talking with no distractions.

When the pandemic is over, it will be important to continue these activities with family. Thus, you will be able to influence patterns of behavior with regard to decision making, problem resolution, communication skills, working–and playing–together. Television time and individual computer time can be adjusted to make time for these activities thereby teaching time management. All activities taken together as a family improve abilities to function in activities away from family. So, do not just work together at home, play together too!

Have a Blessed Day!

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Photo Above: by Tai’s Captures @Unsplash.com.

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