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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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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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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My Morning Do . . . Down on the Farm — IV

A Snowy Nostalgia

by tkbrown

20 February 2021 — Growing up in the Ozarks, I was so blessed to experience four distinctive seasons each year. The snows blanketing our country during the past two weeks brought back memories. Just prior to the onset of winter storms Uri and Viola, one of my siblings and I were talking about the winters of our youth bringing much more snow than we have seen in recent decades. We were a bit nostalgic about the memories associated with those snows–at times they were two feet deep or more with drifts three to four feet deep. One Christmas Eve, an older sibling drove in from another state and parked their Volkswagen in front of the house. The next morning, there was just a big hump in the front yard–no visible evidence of the car buried beneath all that snow.

Winter brought with it the excitement of holidays, snows and ice coated trees which I thought were absolutely beautiful with the sun shining through them early in the morning. Riding the bus to school, I often commented on how much I loved seeing that aspect of winter. Other bus riders could not see what I saw. I suppose, in their minds it was too early in the morning and they were still snug in bed and fast asleep. They wanted no part of my icy reveries which threatened to eject them from their warm ones.

On days when conditions were too dangerous for the busses to risk the drive to school, and on weekends, etc., I could enjoy the evidence of Jack Frost’s visit during the night. The etchings on our windows boasted designs far more intricate than most paintings. The beauty of winter escaped many, but I never missed a beat of its cold heart. I loved looking out the windows to see God’s handiwork. Even having to carry in wood and coping with one side of me getting too toasty as it faced the old wood heater while the other side froze could not diminish its value in my heart. To me, even during the season others viewed as representing death in life’s cycle, nature’s beauty surpassed any ugliness that came with it.

My heart goes out to those who suffered hardship and loss during the past couple of weeks. I understand the blessings of modern technologies have allowed many of us to advance beyond the primitive realities associated with the wood heating of my childhood. However, news of the suffering many endured due to the overwhelming frigidness of the temperatures and accompanying snows brought back memories of always being able to stoke a fire in that old wood heater or turn-on the gas heater and kitchen range even as the electricity failed us. Living on the coast and enduring a number of hurricanes, I loved being able to cook a pot of beans and rice or cornbread on that gas range for us to eat until. We never missed a hot meal during a power outage. That is one part of having less than others I have never regretted.

As the days of my childhood grew warmer and steadily longer, springtime dropped in for a visit. When the dogwoods and redbuds began to bloom, I knew spring would soon be in the air. Our springs were long enough to truly enjoy the rebirth of life associated with the cool days of fragrant, variegated greens and yellow greens. The fresh bursts of color in both nature and homestead, and the planting of seeds–as the days grew warmer–from which we would enjoy the produce over the coming year. These were fertile reminders of life budding anew. Springtime in the Ozarks is a rebirth of every aspect of living.

As school let out, days were becoming hotter and longer. Soon, summertime was in full swing. The heat–sometimes blazing heat–in luscious green surroundings seemed to embrace me with appreciation for the growing and reaping to be done. The mouth-waterin’ vegetables, fruits, and berries we harvested each year were my favorite part of livin’ off the soil. I looked forward to the watermelons, the peaches, and other produce peddled to locals by other locals because these were never locally grown in sufficient quantity. The annual hog-killin’ in late July or early August with the fresh tenderloin to follow at breakfast the next morning was usually assisted by cousins from other states. Afterward, we would all gather ’round to enjoy a feast of fresh pork and fresh vegetables from the garden. If we were lucky, the activities of this day coincided with the peach purchase mentioned above, thus prompting a bowl of peaches ‘n cream for dessert. Summertime food was always so delicious. To this day, I love the abundance of produce available during spring, summer, and fall. UUMmMmmmmm!

Fall in the Ozarks blanketed the area with bursts of color on every hillside–red, yellow, orange, and crimson mingled with green and brown–with the cedars etching a bit of evergreen and each frost increasing the browns. Vegetables that had not been harvested from the garden were brought in, preserved, and stored for winter. The Halloween Carnivals (now Fall Festivals) and Thanksgiving only added to the excitement and anticipation of Christmas ahead.

Now, we cannot forget the annual harvest celebration in a neighboring county. As we grew a little older, we could most always see a slew of people we knew at the Hootin’ ‘n Hollerin’ celebration. The Hog Callin’ contest was the most sought after prize of the day. Usually, this prize was taken by a woman ’cause she had looootts o’ practice from callin’ her husband in for supper every night.

When I was young (early childhood–preschool age), the fall also boasted an Annual Pie Supper to benefit the school. I was too young to participate, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching older sisters baking pies to be auctioned off and eaten with the highest bidder. Some of those pies were well-known and sought after–bringin’ a right-good price to compliment and redden the face of some young lass.

Then there was the Annual Talent Show. Local talent turned out in droves to assist in raisin’ funds for our school. As I mentioned above, I was too young for the Pie Supper, but Mama and Daddy were sure to sign me up for the Talent Show. I began singing at the tender age of three. The Pie Suppers and Talent Shows fell by the wayside by the time I reached school age, but I remember the fun they provided all who participated. All of the excitement added to the bliss of those fall days, which were cooler and reminded me of the holidays and winter wonderlands yet to come.

I look back on my growing-up years, and although there were bad times, I do not remember too many of them. I always felt blessed somehow to be a part of all my surroundings–family, neighbors, friends, and nature. I learned so very much from all that I experienced. You just had to be there and see it through my eyes to understand the level of nostalgia felt at times when engrossed in reminiscing those days of yore.

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Photo at the Top: by MikeGoad @pixabay.com.

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II — The Way He Should Go . . .

~~ a multiple stanza quindecim

by tkbrown
I
A parent gives name to a newborn child
hoping for temperament low-key and mild.
Impossible to foresee the path trod,
they--two--prayerfully implore most high God:
Watch over and keep him on the right track;
when in smelting fire, please hold to his back.
Help him to learn the pathway he should choose
with plenty of room and nothing to lose
so long as he looks for the Lighted Path
and seeks to help others avoid God's wrath.
When he grows weary give lift to his wings,
replenish his strength,  give voice as he sings.
Help him tune in to your heavenly voice;
as he ponders  the way, then makes his choice
give mom and dad a vision to rejoice.
(Written: 10 February 2021 by tkbrown.)
II
As he grows: infant to toddler, then child,
as mom and dad pray for guidance compiled,
lead them through the inspired books of your Word--
reading instruction, insuring child heard
and lives what she learned as their lives portrayed
words of scripture and their actions conveyed
the faith, the hope, and the love from above,
relied upon strength when "push comes to shove."
Show them the way to plant inside his heart
those treasures from God--whose way doth impart--
knowledge and wisdom for life upon earth
to circumvent and give Satan wide bearth.
The foundation instilled in early childhood
will help her to know which pathway she should
take and follow toward her eternal good.
(Written: 18 February 2021 by tkbrown.)

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(To be continued: Please tune in again next week for the second quindecim.)

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Photo Above: by Bessi@pixabay.com.

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Child Poverty

~~ an essay

by tkbrown

When I began actively blogging on tkbrownwriter.wordpress.com and Tweeting on Twitter–@tkbrownwriter–there were many who were constantly orating regarding the hunger, starvation , and homelessness plaguing children from other countries. These children were being swarmed to and across our southern border by parents who would never qualify for entry if they entered via the legal immigration requirements. I agreed somewhat with what they were saying, but I was also concerned about children in America who suffer similar needs which were not being met.

Finally, I responded to the orations with an appeal acknowledging the validity of the needs being promoted while also noting the responsibility we hold to meet the needs of our own chidren. I told them, every night here in America many children go to bed hungry because there is not enough food to eat. In winter, many of those same children go to bed cold because the family budget was not sufficient to pay the heating bill. Many don’t even have a place to call home. How can we be an example to the world if we neglect our own to care for others. We need to first address the hunger and housing needs of our own America born children before trying to meet the needs of children from other countries. Now, the coronavirus has compounded these problems exponentially.

“There is currently a push in Congress to address the needs of every American child living in one-parent households earning $75,000 or less per year or in a two-parent household earning $150,000 or less per year. This plan would provide families of children ages 0-6 an additional $300 per month per child. It would also provide families of children ages 6-17 an additional $250 per month per child. These monthly disbursements would be made via the IRS Department” (Stein, 2021). The children of America are in much need of this additional assistance. The wealthiest country in the world should never be plagued with a reputation of not caring for its own.

While I am not one who typically condones regular and continuous dependence upon government subsidy funds. I do believe we owe it to our children to ensure they are not going hungry, or cold, or living on the streets. If we cannot take care of our own children, why should we be considered the country of choice for these needs by parents of children in other countries.

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Source:

Higgins, Tucker. (4 February 2021). “Romney child-payment proposal would spend more than Biden plan – but also aims to cut welfare programs.” CNBC. cnbc.com. (8 February 2021). Romney unveils plan to send families up to $4,200 per year per child (cnbc.com).

Stein, Jeff. (7 February 2021). “Senior Democrats to unveil $3,000-per-child benefit as Biden stimulus gains steam.” The Washington Post. Microsoft News: msn.com. (7 February 2021). Senior Democrats to unveil $3,000-per-child benefit as Biden stimulus gains steam (msn.com).

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Charity

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

I Corinthians 13:13: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The word “charity,” in the New King James Version (NKJV), is translated “love.” Thus, in this passage written by Paul to the Corinthians, the two words might be used interchangeably. Apparently, there were many issues concerning the Christians at Corinth. In chapter 13, Paul addresses the need for love to abound. He notes a number of achievements to be worked toward as Christians in Christ’s church; then he cautions that without “charity” or “love” none of these is worth anything in Christ’s church. Though one may attain a high level of honor, without love, that person is nothing in God’s eyes.

How often do we, today, teach the importance of “charity” or “love?” Love, or charity, should be a frequent topic of our Bible lessons. It takes extensive study on the topic to exhibit the love Christ had, and has, for His church.

Love is one character trait deserving of frequent address. Too often we “go through the motions” but they mean nothing to us. Verse 2 says:

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”–I Corinthians 13:2–NKJV.

Though it is possible to have faith enough to accomplish any feat—with God’s help–if I have not ”charity” or “love,” faith profits me nothing.

Faith, hope, and love are the three most essential characteristics of a Christian. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17–NKJV). “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1—NKJV) Faith is instilled by hearing, reading, and learning the word of God. It is important to follow hearing with study in order to learn the true meaning of the scripture presented. Paul told Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15–KJV). When we hear the Word, that hearing must be followed by our own private study to ensure we understand what is being said, when it was said, to whom, and about what. Thus, we learn the true meaning of the scripture uttered in our hearing.

The more we study God’s Word, the more it impresses upon us the need for love in our own character. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:43-47

43 — “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy,”

44 – “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you;”

45 – “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

46 – “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?”

47 – “And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?”

 The more we try to emulate Christ, the more love we will extend love to others. It is a tall order to “love our enemies and do good to them.” This tells us, if we have not love we are not emulating Christ—we are but pretenders. This pretense means nothing to God and will not ensure entry into heaven. We must grow as Christians if we are to hold the love for others that Jesus requires.

A new Christian has learned to love him-/herself enough to want to spend eternity with God and Christ. A mature Christian has grown in the emulation of Christ so that love is evident. Christ laid down His life to save us. How many of us would do the same?

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Photo Above: by reenablack @pixabay.com.

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Sources:

Eds. biblegateway.com. (2021). Holy Bible – New King James Version (NKJV). 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. www.biblegateway.com. (26 January 2021). www.biblegateway.com.

Eds. Biblegateway.com (2021). Holy Bible – King James Version (KJV). 1987 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. www.biblegateway.com. (26 January 2021). www.biblegateway.com.

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