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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History in the Making . . .

~~ by tkbrown ~~

20 January 2021 — Today, as the world looked on, we here in the United States of America were writing history books. The recent past has been filled with opinions, opines, differences, similarities, divisions, bridges, peacemakers, rioters, love, hate, sickness, health, and all that is in-between. Each new day brought its own headline: Covid-19, politics, the politics of the virus, mutations, commutations, charges, pardons, verdicts, blame, and forgiveness. Some have learned and gained from the lessons of the past year while others have lost–both literally and figuratively. In the end, it all came down to today. The world saw a whole new view in America: a woman — Kamala Harris — was sworn in as Vice-President.

The concept of seeing a woman positioned as a leader in the upper echelons is new to America. There have been inroads toward this moment for at least a century and a half. While other countries around the world reached this milestone long ago, America — the comparatively new kid on the block — took her time. Many women have attempted to attain the goal of President or Vice-President, but all have fallen short of the achievement–until today. Kamala Harris set her eyes upon this goal some time ago. Today, as an African American, South Asian American, female American — the daughter of immigrants who chose to make America their home — was sworn in as Vice-President of the United States of America. Vice-President Harris achieved her goal.

There are those who say America is made up of bigoted racists. I believe today proved them wrong. As my old mother used to say, “The proof is in the pudding.” Today, the pudding in America’s melting pot rang true, and no victory could be finer. Once again, America has stood to the task and proved her ideals are still “alive and kicking.” When put to the test, Americans are winners, if they choose to be.

As a child, I was taught to never act in a racist manner toward any other person regardless of that person’s color or country of origin. As a teenager, I wrote my first poem about race relations. When my children were young, I began advocating for the underprivileged including children, people with disabilities, and people of color. As my children grew to adulthood, I tried to instill a respect toward all people and I continued my advocacy in the professional realm.

As we turned the page to a new chapter in America’s history, today the world witnessed the true potential for all who choose to make America their home. May God Bless America and all who live within her borders, and may we show the world the true colors of love and acceptance.

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Picture Above: by Gerd Altman @pixabay.com.

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My Morning Do . . . “Grief”

~~ by tkbrown

16 September 2020 — The world’s anticipation of the year 2020 was something of a phenomenon. The 1920s were known as “The Roaring Twenties.” Perhaps we were wondering if the 2020s would be remembered in similar fashion. As the year began, we were looking at a world where economic recovery seemed to take hold, then it began to grow. Hopping a flight to the other side of the world was as commonplace as a trip to the next state was in the Twentieth Century. The concept of the end of the year being less was not one the world could grasp. There was no anticipation for the grief that lay ahead.

Today, six months into the coronavirus pandemic, the United States is groaning with grief. The country is coping with grief from losses no one could have dreamed of as the New Year took hold nine months ago. Now there is loss of loved ones, loss of work, loss of family gatherings, loss of in person worship services, loss of businesses, loss of seeing school friends, . . . the loss of life as we knew it. The United states is not alone in these losses. In many ways, the world is groaning too.

There is also anticipatory grief for the loss possibilities which lie ahead. The questions are just under the surface in most minds: “What next? Will I lose a loved one? Will I get sick and lose my life as I know it? Will I die too?” Everyone is thinking these things, but few will admit it. According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler, the anticipation of future loss is a grieving process in itself.

Are you grieving a loss? Are you anticipating future loss? Both forms of loss create the need to grieve, but few will acknowledge the fact. “Hold your chin up!” “You will survive!” “Suck it up and go on!” “No one wants to hear you whine!” One or more of these statements–and others–are heard by most as the struggle to get through the death and dying around us goes on. People are exhibiting every stage of the grieving process, but few feel free to let it show. Grief is discussed so very little–even though it is happening all around. Most probably do not even recognize the symptoms.

I am not going to discuss the various stages of grief in this writing, but over the next weeks I will describe the stages and some of the societal symptoms of those stages. Even the violence seen in this country, and in others, is a symptom of societal grief. I believe it is time for us to look at the multiple sources of grief around us and begin to embrace the associated needs–in society and in our own lives. It is time to truly begin the grieving process for all of the losses we are trying so hard to pretend do not matter. They do matter! Our societal ills are saying if we do not allow ourselves to admit the reality of it all, human behavior will regress even more.

Yes, we must go on, but we must also stop and take some time to grieve the loss of a close family member and of other losses. The losses in areas of daily living as we once knew it need to be waded through. It is important to remember, “We must go on!” Somehow, we must pick up the pieces and patch them back together. We must, and we will, survive! This is ‘the scraps’ life gives us sometimes. So, feel it and move on.

Have a Blessed Day!

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Photo Above: by Dylan Nolte @Unsplash.com.

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Source: Kubler-Ross, M.D. and D Kessler. (August 2014). “On grief & grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss.” Scribner. New York. (16 September 2020).

My Morning Do . . . “Expectancy”

~~ by tkbrown

14 September 2020 — How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your expectancy of things to come?

When COVID-19 struck with force in March and April of this year, each of us had expectations of things to come. Many were about to graduate–high school, college, grad school. A number of this group were in for great disappointment when announcements were made that graduation ceremonies had been put on hold. Then those ceremonies were backed up again, then again. Some were so upset by the loss, they scheduled their own ceremony, or party. When these events were held, scheduled at the spurious demands of those who had been set aside by the virus, and subsequent illness occurred, who was blamed but the system?

When shelter in place orders were given with guidelines of groups no larger than ten were violated and illness occurred, who was to blame but the system?

When self-quarantining grew old and monotonous, governing bodies were entreated to open beaches and bars. When those requests were denied, it was demanded. The bars were not reopened, but beaches were. Who, but the system, was blamed for resultant spikes in new COVID-19 cases?

Time passed, and it was determined the fall semester would see the reopening of colleges in some areas. As the Fraternities and Sororities began to gather–weeks before the first day of classes–COVID-19 parties were held. Did those students claim responsibility for the subsequent spikes in cases? No! Not a word was said, by the students or by the system, about those parties. Very little was said about the increases in illness–until now. Suddenly, people are blaming the student parties for the resurgence of pandemic illness. Now, who would have thought it? Wait until after the younger students are in classes to blame student parties for more cases of coronavirus.

It seems our expectancy has been a bit out of whack in recent months. Perhaps the extended quarantine is what brought the conundrum about, but we really were not quarantined for that long considering the extensive and extended ramifications of the illness. Perhaps our expectancy was impacted by expectations as they existed prior to the beginning of the pandemic. Whatever the reason, we have expected miraculous treatment rates and cure rates.

No system in the world has successfully controlled the pandemic. Some have fared better than others, but every country has experienced at least one resurgence by now. Some have experienced many. The United States consists of a huge land mass when compared to most other countries in the world. Most of our state areas compare with countries elsewhere in the world. When we look at individual states, many have had moderate success in limiting cases–some initially, others with regard to resurgence. How can our national health agencies accomplish anything without the support of state and local health agencies? How can any of these agencies succeed in minimizing cases if the constituents will not cooperate?

Our expectancy of the governing agencies in our country has become exorbitant. I realize I am only one voice in hundreds of millions. However, I see a need for the constituents to begin speaking out about this. I am begging all who read this to spread the word ‘responsibility.’ Take responsibility for your actions and try to healthfully influence the concepts of responsibility in those around you. Please, lets make it our goal to survive this pandemic by being more responsible in our response to the bacteria. It is a deadly disease! I pray we all will work together on this, for it is the only way we will minimize the destruction meted out by the time a vaccine and/or/treatment is in place. Love, not only your neighbor, but your enemy as well.

Stay Well! Have a Blessed Day!

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Photo Above: by Peggy Marco @ pixabay.com.

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