Sandcastle Masterpieces

Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, New Mexico, USA at Valley of Dreams after sunset.
by tkbrown
It looks like a big sandcastle party
to which everyone in town came to play.
All the best artisans wielding form free,
producing masterpieces at the bay.

Come one, come all--bid for your selection--
but leave in place so everyone might see
Sandcastles preserved--a great collection--
made to please our Creator, displayed free.

No earthly artisan has created
such beauty--eloquence--to e're compare
alongside wind-blown displays He vetted
in the blink of an eye and time to spare.

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So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.

Genesis 1:27 — Holy Bible: Old Testament — King James Version (KJV)

I am ever amazed at the beauty God created when He formed this earth and our universe. The love with which He has touched so many places has lent itself to the greatest artwork ever molded from a piece of clay, thought into being at the stroke of a pen, or wielded with such perfect hue from the paint upon His fingers.

Then He gifted it to me and to you. Some of us marvel in reverent awe as others take for granted each day and all the beauty it entails. How can anyone view formations like those pictured above and dispute the hand of God?

I am ever blessed to be able to view locations around the world on my computer, and the awe I hold for each could only be increased by being there in person. What a gift God has granted to man whom He created in His own image. Just as He is a Spirit being, so are we–Spirit beings–in His image. From the moment of conception, our bodies churn out cells to fill specific rolls. We do not have to manage or manipulate this process in any way other than to care for it as we would His temple–the most Holy of Holies.

When I first saw the picture of this rock formation–Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in New Mexico, United States of America–my thoughts drew a scene where families created sandcastles at the beach, then solidified their form for wind and sand to smooth out the rough edges. What a beautiful vision to behold!

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Sources:

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Genesis 1:27. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Genesis 1:27 KJV – So God created man in his own image, in – Bible Gateway.

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Photo Above: © Sean Pavone / iStock / Getty Images Plus.

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April 2021

~~ a calendar quindecim

by tkbrown

April Showers

April showers may cause the creeks to rise
and oft produce stormy clouds in the skies.
The rain comes down, soaks into earth
giving surroundings brilliant rebirth.
Flowering trees, plants nigh to us
get into the act--glorious!
How does God know when to provide
a boost to spirits 'round the world.
Greening the trees and grass to mow.
planting the seeds in rows to hoe,
helping the victims of flooding--
we stay busy all through the Spring.
Re-cooping from Covid-19,
we rebuild lives somewhere between
where they once were and visions seen.

Watching the ripples as they grow
touching more lives than we can know.
We are oft engrossed in our world,
paying no heed to what is hurled
away toward others losing all
when storms and flooding come to call.
Some suffer--reeling in silence--
others will wail, seek recompense,
but some will look up, try to help
heal the pain of another's whelp--
knowing healing comes from giving
to those about who are grieving.
Always look outward and you'll see
the love you give comes back to thee
in many ways, but always free!

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Photo Above: by Clem Onojeghuo @Unsplash.

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It Died With Him . . .

~~ the quindecim

by tkbrown
He had a way no one else has;
he could fill the mundane with jazz
in a class of his own making.
Voice inflection, dry 'erh joking,
his dry humor entertained all--
rich or poor, whatever your call.
We understood his little ways--
nuances uttered in a phrase
seen and heard, sometimes with no word,
just a look, or tilt of his head.
Often, he said more than we heard--
making sense of seeming absurd.
Associations oft metered
as if to be footed and rhymed,
orated class, measure timed.

Others have tried, and they have failed
to find the finesse where time sailed
as it did wrapped up in his words.
First one--then others gave answers--
but not inciting responses
he could when wording those ripostes
in the best projection or tone--
such that the question would be known.
Even celebrity has tried
and quite miserably were failed
as global viewers turned away,
quit trying to fill that special sway.
It is time to cease and desist
efforts to fill shoes--What man, this?--
a role fades back into the mist.

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Alex Trebek was the much-loved, long-time host of NBC’s game show, “Jeopardy.” Continuing as host of the show throughout his battle with cancer, Trebek earned global fan respect. His talent as the host of “Jeopardy” was in his ability to posit answers to contestants who then responded with the correct query. Trebek had a long history in the television business where he started at the bottom and literally worked his way up through the ranks. In 1980, he hosted his first “Jeopardy” show and continued until his death in November 2020. This is the position with which Alex Trebek will ever be connected. and he left shoes that no one else will ever be able to fill or satisfy the viewing public. The recent controversy surrounding the show has, I believe, sealed the show’s fate. It will never be the same. Is it time to allow “Jeopardy” to disappear into the mist as well?

Born George Alexander Trebek in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada on 22 July 1940 to George Edward Trebek–a Ukrainian child immigrant to Canada–and Lucille Marie Lagacé, a Franco-Ontarian. He died 8 November 2020 at the age of 80 after bravely continuing to “live” through his battle with cancer. His technique as “Jeopardy” host was part of what gave the show its long-running popularity. There will never be another Alex Trebek.

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Source:

Eds. Wikipedia. (30 March 2021). Alex Trebek. “Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia.” Wikimedia Project: Powered by MediaWiki. (30 March 2021). Alex Trebek – Wikipedia.

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Image Above: @clipartpanda.com.

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Blessed are the poor. . .

“. . . the poor in spirit. . . .”

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

Oftentimes, when we read the Bible, we do so with our mind somewhere else. For example, how often have we read The Beatitudes with our thoughts truly centered on the meaning of those words. Today, I decided to center my devotional upon one scripture, separated from The Beatitudes and viewed in detail according to the scriptures. For this purpose, I chose:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3 — Holy Bible: New Testament (KJV)

Matthew and Luke present scriptures that say something a bit different from the other–even though both are relating a scripture from the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. While Matthew (above) refers to “. . . poor in spirit . . .,” Luke, in chapter 6 and verse 20, says:

And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples and said, ‘Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.'”

Luke 6:20 — Holy Bible: New Testament (KJV)

Granted, most who are poor are also poor in spirit because the poor are usually the downtrodden, those who are accustomed to doing without. When a poor person does without, there is usually no repercussions to anyone for allowing this to be–no one suffers other than the person who is poor. Thus, both presentations are correct. One does not detract from the other.

I decided to see what the Old Testament (Old Covenant) says about the “poor” or the “poor in spirit.”

For all those things hath mine hand made,and all those things have been, saith the Lord; but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

Isaiah 66:2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament (KJV)

Here, God–Himself–acknowledges that the poor person is much more likely to “fear the Lord” and strive to live according to the Lord’s word. The wealthy are typically much more inclined to focus upon the fortune amassed and the means necessary to keep it. However, being poor by itself does not grant an eternal home with God. Rather, God said, “. . . even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.”

If we are contrite in spirt, God is able to mold and shape us according to His will. Thus, the “poor” must also be “poor in spirit.” He or she must have “a contrite spirit and tremble at [His] word.” Here, I must ask myself: Do I have a contrite spirit? Do I tremble at God’s word? Even if I think the answer is “Yes,” I must study on it to know the truth. The Beatitudes are a small portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which tells us “the spirit” of those who will go to heaven. How often–when we recite these in worship services–do we look at ourselves to determine if our spirit is right with God?

In Luke 18: 9-14, Jesus tells a parable regarding differences between the haughty, self-righteous man and one with a contrite heart.

  • 9 — “And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:”
  • 10 — “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.”
  • 11 — “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”
  • 12 — “I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that I possess.”
  • 13 — “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
  • 14 — “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Thus, Jesus said, those who are haughty in spirit will be least in heaven–if they even make it there–and those who are of a contrite, repentant spirit will be in heaven.

Have we ever TRULY REPENTED of something specific we have done? Have we talked to God about it as if He were a long-lost friend whom we had wronged and were begging their forgiveness?

Each of us has, or have had, something for which we should repent with such a spirit! Others may not be aware of this sin, but WE ARE! WE know what we have done, and we know it is wrong–even if it is not wrong in the eyes of man. Are we willing to humble ourselves as this publican did–as the apostle Matthew must have done? Matthew was a publican when Jesus called him to be His disciple. Have we ever declared ourselves to be a sinner” because of our sin whether it be past or present? The cleansing such a prayer provides is beyond the imagination of most.

Reading on in the same chapter, Luke 18: 15-17,

  • 15 — “And they brought unto Him also infants, that He would touch them; but when His disciples saw it, they rebuked them.”
  • 16 — “But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.
  • 17 — “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

Infants have no sin. They are pure of heart. If they do wrong, they do not realize it is wrong, thus it is forgiven. Jesus goes on in Luke chapter 18 to show that even those who have done good all their lives may be lacking what it takes to make it into God’s kingdom and into heaven. The parable of the ruler shows how a “good person” may not have a “contrite spirit.”

Luke 18: 18-25

  • 18 — “And a certain ruler asked him saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
  • 19 — “And Jesus said unto him, ‘Why callest thou Me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.”
  • 20 — “Thou knowest the commandments. Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother.”
  • 21 — “And he said, ‘All these have I kept from my youth up.'”
  • 22 — “Now when Jesus heard these things, He said unto him, ‘Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.”
  • 23 — “And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful, for he was very rich.”
  • 24 — “And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, He said, ‘How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”
  • 25 — “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

From an early age, this parable was powerful to me. I began sewing by hand at about the age of seven or eight. So, I knew how tiny is the eye of a needle! I knew, if this man had been good all his life, yet lacked the contrite spirit required to be a child of God, I must change my ways. For, while I rarely disobeyed, I was far from sinless; and it was time I look that sin in the eye.

There have been times throughout my life when I had to look deep into my soul and come face to face with God about something I had done which was keeping me apart from Him. My prayer, now, is: if anyone reading this devotional has been pricked in the heart and has need for a session of supplication unto you, God–give him or her the strength to humble self before you.

Here in the United States, we are beginning to see the first days of spring–signs of “life renewed,” which has been our subject today. Not all days here are pleasant–some reap harvests filled with pain. On those days, I try to remember–“This, too, shall pass. — Anonymous.

I hope, wherever you are, you can–at least–enjoy some of the weather bestowed upon you. Blessings!

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Sources:

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Matthew 5. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Matthew 5:3 KJV – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Isaiah 66:2. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Isaiah 66:2 KJV – For all those things hath mine hand – Bible Gateway

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Luke 18. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Luke 18 KJV – And he spake a parable unto them to – Bible Gateway.

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Photo Above: by geralt @pixabay.com.

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Blessed are the peacemakers . . .

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

Matthew 5:9 — “Holy Bible: King James Version” (KJV)

I grew up going to Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and Worship Services from the age of two. So, by the time I was a Freshman in High School (1st year), I was well versed in the Bible. After my fourteenth birthday, I was asked to teach the Sunday night Bible Class for children. There were five ranging in age from five to twelve.

At one point in Physical Science class during my Freshman year, we were studying the Big Bang Theory versus Creationism. I was the only person in the room who supported Creationism. The teacher and all other students in the room supported the Big Bang Theory. Subsequently, I was the recipient of jeers and ridicule from all others in the room–including the teacher. After that–through my High School years–I did not like science and took no more science classes throughout. I never complained to anyone about the incident. In fact, I was in undergraduate studies seventeen years later (1985) when I first mentioned it to anyone. However, I launched extensive Bible Study–personal and group–because I wanted to be able to respond intelligently to questions about the topic.

When my youngest child was a toddler, one Wednesday night in Bible Class we were discussing scientific evidence against Creationism and how to discuss it with others. I asked the preacher (who was teaching the class) how to explain–when engaged in house-to-house Bible Study with someone–the earth’s age when the Bible indicates an age of 6,000 to 7,000 years, and science has unearthed dinosaur and other fossils which are said to be millions of years old. I was convinced by his answer.

He responded, “There is nothing in the Bible that says there were not other worlds before this Earth was created.” He was right! No where does the Bible even hint there were no worlds before this one. Genesis 1:2 says, “And the earth was without form, and void; . . . ” (Eds. Bible Gateway, 1993). This indicates elements existed from which God “formed” the earth. Who can say those elements did not include dinosaur fossils from the remnants of previous worlds?

As I went through Undergraduate and Graduate classes in college, I never had that dilemma again. During undergraduate Physical Science classes, I talked with the instructor after class one night about what had happened in High School. She said, “I will never do that to you or any other student. That teacher was wrong for allowing the other students to ridicule you, and he was wrong for joining them. There was no excuse for his behavior.” Immediately, I knew this instructor knew what she was made of and what other instructors should be made of. After that, I was never afraid to engage as an equal, and the ridicule never again occurred. I grew to really enjoy my science classes because they presented ideas that stimulated my desire to study both sides–Creationism and Scientific Theory.

I do believe there were other worlds that existed before this one. Science is now proving this to be possible by the evidence being amassed to support past life on other planets. Now, as the asteroid flew past our planet in 2018 (Earl, 2018; George, 2018), a meteorite from another asteroid recently fell to a driveway in England (Lewis, 2021), and just last week, one flew past Vermont so closely it “shook and rattled buildings” (Eds. Associated Press, 2021; Eds. CBS Boston, 2021: Hall, 2021), divergent scientific theories attempt to explain the cosmic events. One theory regarding the 2018 meteorite noted the similarities between it and comets sailing through outer space. It was quite long and would have done much damage if it had hit the earth. It probably would have severed a part of the earth which would then have joined it traipsing around through space. Was it perhaps a fossilized portion of another word?

Through the years, I never created a scene about any incident related to the topic of Biblical Creationism Theory versus Scientific Theory of Earth’s beginnings. I peacefully said what needed to be said and exited the topic. I was never one who enjoyed heated disagreements. I have always preferred to calmly discuss concerns to resolve any disagreement. I have continually prayed about this and other related and similar concerns. I have noted much by way of scientific research supporting rather than disproving Biblical Creationism. I have seen the truth of 2 Peter 3:16 which says, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of things in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction,” (Eds. King James Bible Online, 2007). As much as I wish it were otherwise, I can do or say nothing to change the beliefs of those so hardened against the scriptures. I must accept it and move on. I will say, though, my extensive studies on the topics have only served to strengthen my beliefs in God, Christ, and the Creation.

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Sources:

Earl, Jennifer. (16 April 2018). Asteroid the size of a football field makes ‘surprise’ flyby close to Earth. “Fox News.” foxnews.com. (21 March 2021). Asteroid the size of a football field makes ‘surprise’ flyby close to Earth | Fox News.

Eds. Associated Press, Wire Service Content. (8 March 2021). Meteor Spotted Over Northern New England and Canada. “U.S. News.” The Associated Press: apnews.com. (21 March 2021). Meteor spotted over northern New England and Canada (apnews.com).

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993) Genesis 1 “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (21 March 2021). Genesis 1 KJV – In the beginning God created the heaven – Bible Gateway.

Eds. CBS Boston. (9 March 2021). Meteor Over Northern Vermont Seen By People Around New England. “CBS Boston.” Microsoft News: msn.com. (21 March 2021). Meteor Over Northern Vermont Seen By People Around New England – CBS Boston (cbslocal.com).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 2 Peter 3:16. “[Holy Bible] King James Bible Online.” kingjamesbibleonline.org. (21 March 2021). 2 PETER 3:16 KJV “As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

George, Steve, CNN. (6 November 2018). Cigar-Shaped Interstellar Object May Have Been Alien Probe, Harvard Paper Claims. “WBZ 04.” CBS Boston: boston.cbslocal.com. (21 March 2021). Cigar-Shaped Oumuamua May Have Been Alien Probe, Harvard Paper Claims – CBS Boston (cbslocal.com).

Hall, Louise. (9 March 2021). Meteor tears across Vermont sky: ‘Extremely bright and absolutely spectacular.’ “Independent.” Microsoft News: msn.com. (21 March 2021). Meteor tears across Vermont sky: ‘Extremely bright and absolutely spectacular’ (msn.com).

Lewis, Sophie. (9 March 2021). Extremely rare meteorite found in wake of spectacular U.K. fireball may contain the “building blocks of life.” “CBS News.” cbsnews.com. (21 March 2021). Extremely rare meteorite found in wake of spectacular U.K. fireball may contain the “building blocks of life” – CBS News.

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Photo Above: by Daniel_Mingook_Kim@Unsplash.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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Children First . . . Call Reps

USA Citizens – Call United States Senators and House Representatives

by tkbrown

The United States Senate in Washington D.C. is currently debating President Biden’s Stimulus Relief Bill. Part of that relief bill is a Child Tax Credit allocating $3,000.00 per child dispersed at the rate of $250.00 per month on a temporary, one year basis. According to Joseph Zeballos-Roig at “Business Insider,” President Biden supports making this $3,000.00 payment to parents a permanent, annual disbursement instead of an one-year payment.

Feed our Children! House our Children!. If you support my previous statement that we should provide food and housing for Every American Child before we try to pay those expenses for children beyond our borders, call your United States Senators and Representatives. I realize we need to help children in other countries, but we must take care of our children before we try to tell other countries how to care for theirs. We have many children in America who go hungry and have no permanent place to call home–a problem even before COVID-19. Help provide these children their basic needs!

If you do not know the names of your Senators and Representatives to the United States Congress, it is time to change that. Help support this provision in the Pandemic Relief bill being debated in the United States Senate as I write. Call these Senators and Representatives! Tell them to support the inclusion of this provision on the permanent basis rather than a one-time allocation. Help feed and house our childrent! No child in America should be doing without!

If you are unable, or prefer an alternative action, email your Senators and Representatives in Washington D.C.! It is imperative we take action to provide these needs for our children!

If you agree–even those of you living in another country–Like, Comment, and Share this post with all of your followers! Thank You for supporting America’s Children!

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Source:

Zeballos-Roig, Joseph. (4 March 2021). Biden supports making a temporary $3,000 payment to parents permanent in stimulus bill. “Business Insider.” Microsoft News: msnlcom. (4 March 2021). Biden supports making a temporary $3,000 payment to parents permanent in stimulus bill (msn.com).

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Photo Above: by Jude Beck @Unsplash.com.

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Peace . . .

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

Philippians 4:6, 7 (NKJV)

  • 6 — “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”
  • 7 — “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

These are trying times. The coronavirus pandemic has been with us now for one year, and with the new variants cropping up around the globe, predictions of another year are being tossed around–even as new vaccines are being approved. The recent snowstorms, Uri and Viola, blanketed the lower forty-eight of the United States more completely than any in recorded history. Only three states escaped being covered completely. We know the world is sharing our experience with Covid-19 and its variants. We also know the weather over the past year has presented many trials and tribulations around the world. Our daily prayers include YOU along with people in the United States.

Economies are suffering with no definitive relief in sight, and the home fires seem to be dimming for many. It is during times like these, God can work in our hearts and bring us closer to Him–if we let Him. The scripture above, Philippians 4:6, tells us to “be anxious for nothing, . . . ” This may seem a difficult task when we are uncertain what the months ahead hold, but with prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving we can tell God what we need, and He can lay upon us “His peace,” which “surpasses all understanding.” He “will guard you hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The final phrase tells how God can fill us with peace during times like these. It says, “through Christ Jesus.” Thus, if we have put on Christ Jesus, we can be blessed with the peace that passeth understanding.

As a child, I remember singing a song in Summer Bible School and feeling my heart lifted from any sadness it might hold. The first verse of the song, “Down in My Heart” by George William Cooke, amplifies the “joy” we can hold inside if Jesus lives in our hearts. The second verse says, “I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.” Thus, if we love Jesus and He loves us, and if He lives in our hearts, with prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving we can plea with God for this peace, and Jesus will provide it to us. In times of sadness, sorrow, and hardship, He will carry us–if we let Him.

My prayer today is that all will heed His calling and allow Him to provide the peace that passeth understanding in these trying times. I ask that He Bless YOU personally and guide you to this peace. Have a “peaceful” day! Stay well and Be safe!

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Photo Above: by Daniel_Mingook_Kim@Unsplash.com.

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Source:

Courtney. (8 September 2019). Write On My Heart Every Word. writeonmyhearteveryword.com. (28 February 2021). “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart” – Write On My Heart Every Word.

Holy Bible. New King James Version (NKJV). Philippians: by the Apostle Paul. (28 February 2021).

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March 2021

~~ a calendar quindecim ~~

by tkbrown
March's April . . . 
As we float into March midst swollen banks
the forecast calls out for more days of rain.
Snowing and freezing of recent past ranks
among the worst recorded earthly pains.
Now, thawing, raining, and flooding ramp up;
predictions of severe weather winds wrap
coming days in showers and springtime temps
resembling April much more than March winds
to which we have become more accustomed.
The plowing and planting we want to tend
must wait for those winds to dry things a bit
when the soil for tilling will be more fit.
The winds with less rain blow in days of spring
when the crocus buds and the blue birds sing,
dusk temps are suited for the front porch swing.

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Photo Above: by AndreyKonstantinov@Unsplash.com.

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All Things Work Together . . .

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

Romans 8:24-39

  • 24 — “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for why does one still hope for what he sees?”
  • 25 — “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
  • 26 — “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
  • 27 — “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
  • 28 — “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
  • 29 — “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
  • 30 — “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified, and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
  • 31 — “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
  • 32 — “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
  • 33 — “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”
  • 34 — “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
  • 35 — “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
  • 36 — “As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'”
  • 37 — “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
  • 38 — “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come,”
  • 39 — “nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Source: Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV).

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Notes:

In the eighth chapter, twenty-eighth verse of his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul tells us to keep uppermost in our mind the promise: “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Oftentimes, we tend to become discouraged by all the negatives in our lives, and we might complain there are not enough positives happening. The past year is one of the times this might be more apt to occur. Is this something you struggle with? Are you discouraged by all that has happened to you, your loved ones, your family, and your country during the past year? If so, you are not alone. Many others struggle with the same spiritual ailment. Furthermore, it is not a new trial faced by modern-day Christians. It has been here since the inception of Christ’s life on earth and before.

When we are tempted by Satan or one of his many demonic slaves, we can rest assured that nothing they do can harm our soul–unless we allow it. There is an old saying my Mama often quoted: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” (Anonymous). As many have pointed out, words can and do hurt, often for a lifetime. However, Paul is telling the Romans, “If you are one of those who have been called according to His purpose, Jesus life, death, resurrection, and ascension offers hope for life after death through Him becoming “sin”–all of the world’s sin–and the sacrifice of His life in place of ours. All who hear His calling, obey His commands, and continue in His Light have this “hope,” and those who abide in His Way can be assured of eternal life with Him and God the Father.

When we mess up, if we have heard and obeyed the requirements He sets forth in the New Testament, Christ and the Spirit make intercession for us with God the Father. Christ determines who is abiding Him and who is not. If I abide in His Way unto death, I not only have the hope of that gift, He assures me I will receive that gift, and I will be in heaven after I die. If I know I am abiding in Him, I no longer have to hope for eternal life, I can know I will receive it–I can “see” it.

I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I am a sinner. Because of my sin, I deserve eternal damnation, not eternal life with God and Christ. When I sin, I have the assurance, as God’s child, Christ will make intercession and insure that sin is wiped from my slate IF I repent of that sin and go back to living the way He has instructed. He also has assured me–as Paul states in Romans 8:28–I can know that whatever happens to me in “this life,” it all works together for my good.

Each trial and tribulation we endure–and remain in Him as we endure–works with all other events in my life for my good. If I learn from my mistakes, I can also learn from the mistakes of others. I can ask (pray) for guidance when I do not know what I should do in a specific situation. He will guide me to the answer in some way. I may read the answer in something I come across. I may hear someone talking and “say” the answer even though that person is talking to someone else. I can even “know” His will by the fact that I have no choice as to what I do. Someone or some statute tells me what I “must” do. Even when what I am doing appears to be sin to others, if I learn from it and address it through prayer, He makes intercession for me. If the prophets of old were hindered from attending tabernacle by being cast into a dungeon–or by some other means–it was not held against them when they addressed it through prayer to God.

Again, whatever life throws at us, we can know it will work to our ultimate good if we abide in the way Christ set forth. No one else can do it for me, and no one else can offer me forgiveness for my sin unless that sin involved that person in some way. We can rest in peace with the assurance that everything we experience and endure will work together for our good. This is faith in His promise. He said it–albeit through His apostle–but He said it; so, it is true.

God knew before we were ever birthed on this earth, what our response would be to His calling. He is omnipotent. He was, and is, and always will be. His Son is basically His apology to mankind for not having a plan for “all” to be forgiven and live eternally with Him in heaven.

I, personally, appreciate His sacrifice. What more can one do to let another know he/she loves that person? God’s Son died on the cross for MY SIN– not His sin–MINE! How can I ever justify not abiding in His Way? How can I ever “not” want to spend eternity with God and Jesus Christ?

If you heed Christ’s calling and obey the instructions He set forth, you too can be assured of your home in heaven. So, whatever happens here on earth–know there is a purpose for it in God’s great plan for things. Know, that everything will work together for your good, too–if you heed and abide in His Way!

In the book, Acts of the Apostles, chapter 10, verses one through five tell of Cornelius, an Italian centurion. He and his whole house were good people; they gave alms and prayed for guidance. Their faith and Christ-like actions came to God’s attention. As a result, God maneuvered events in Cornelius’ life so he and his house could know what they must do to be a part of Christ’s church and abide in heaven forever. Thus, Cornelius and his whole house immediately became Christians–in the middle of the night–and they became the first “Gentiles” to be added to Christ’s church.

Prior to this time, God’s plan of salvation had only been available to those of the Jewish nation. If a Gentile wanted to be the recipient of that salvation, he/she had to first become a part of the Jewish nation. Then they could be offered God’s plan. Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and ascension changed this. He freely “gave” so that we might “freely live.”

So, if a person iis truly searching for answers, as we see in the example of Cornelius and his household, God will guide that person to the answers, or He will guide others to that person to provide those answers. Then, the choice lies with that person. He/She has the choice to obey or to reject Christ’s teachings. So, the choice that person makes determines their eternal destiny.

I pray that all will want to live with God and Christ in heaven throughout eternity. However, His Word tells me this will not be the case. Many will not believe or obey Christ’s teachings. Even so, I continue to pray all will obey Him.

My hope and prayer is that each of you will have a peaceful and blessed day amid all the turmoil in the world about you. Be Blessed and Stay Safe!

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Photo Above: by Jasmin Ne @Unsplash.com.

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