Month: Oct 2013

I’m Sorry. . . .

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Talking behind someone's back

There are some people in this world who seem to find extreme jubilation in deliberately inflicting hurt upon others. The hurt that they cause is not necessarily physical, but more times than not, it is emotional pain that they inflict upon others either through their colloquy, their deeds, or both. They either say crass and demeaning things to a person face-to-face, or for the more cowardly at heart, behind their back only to be revealed at a later time, or there are some who dare to be brazen enough to inflict their hurt and pain by speaking ill of a person that is within earshot. Even so, words do not always have to be audible to inflict their hurt and pain. Sometimes the cold and calloused behavior of one person towards another speaks louder than an ocean of words.

I am really sorry

Some of these same ruthless people are proverbial doctors who seem to always carry with them a medicine bag filled with bottles of medicine called “I’m Sorry” which they feel is a cure-all for all pains and wounds that they have inflicted. They tell their proverbial patients, “Just take a spoonful of this medicine!”, or “Rub a little of it into your wounds, and all will be well.” Well – for who? For themselves, or for the person that they have hurt. And how long does this medicine last? Does it last forever, or just until the next time that the one causing the infliction has an urge or want to once again inflict the inflicted?

I am sorry

I humbly believe that there are times when simply saying “I’m sorry!” is not enough, especially if it is only rendered as a half-hearten apology to appease the person that has been hurt. To truly say “I’m sorry” and mean what we say, we must have a repentant heart and a genuine desire to never want to cause anyone any hurt or pain ever again.

Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends – ThePianoGuys

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There are some things in life that just seem unimaginable. Imagine, I’m begging you, a group of musicians that have a dream to one day perform on the Great Wall of China, and actually having that dream turn into reality. That is exactly what happened when Utah pianist Jon Schmidt and cellist Steven Sharp Nelson of the musical group The Piano Guys collaborated on a video project with Utah filmmaker Devin Graham, and are featured in the video above performing “Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends” at the very place of their dreams. The video was published on YouTube on 9 October 2013. The second video shows how this video was put together, in particular how the piano was moved on the Great Wall of China. You can also watch an interview with Devin Graham explaining what he does for a living by going here.

The True Measure of Tithing

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TithingWhen it comes to the matter of tithing, it seems that much of the Christian world views tithing as strictly a monetary issue. Yes, the Lord does require us to give back a portion of that which we take in, namely ten percent of our gross income, but what about those who are not able to give dollars and cents as their offering? Are they to be denied the blessings of Heaven? I say nay.

Honor the Lord by GivingThe Lord has blessed each of us with 24 hours in a day, and so we can tithe a percentage of our time to be of service to others. The Lord has blessed each of us with a certain measure of talent and abilities. Certainly we ought to be willing to use those talents and abilities to bring glory to His name. There are many things that we can do to bless the lives of others.

Being a blessing to othersThe Christian life is not all about us receiving the blessings, but more importantly emulating the life of the Savior and being a blessing to others. The Lord is not so much interested in the quantity of our tithing whether it be monetary or via other means, but rather He is interested in the quality of our tithing. If what we give is not given from the heart than it is really all for naught, for the Lord judges the intents of the heart (see Luke 21:1-4).

What that means to this author, in the modern-day vernacular, is that a man who gives $10 from his heart will find that he is more blessed for his meager giving than a man who gives $10,000 merely to draw attention to himself as being a large giver, or even one who gives grudgingly – for God also loves a cheerful giver (see 2 Corinthians 9:7). What that also means, is that the person who forgets about self and focuses on serving others will find that he lives a more abundant life than a person who goes through life thinking only of himself.

Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive, and it is when we are willing to tithe of our income, time, talents and abilities, and do so from our hearts, that the windows of Heaven are opened and blessings are bestowed upon us.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Food for Thought:

Do you attend church on Sunday merely expecting to receive a blessing, or do you attend with the heart desire to be a blessing to others? Do you live your life only seeking those things that will reward you with personal gain, or are you more interested in living a life that focuses less on self and more on being of service to others? Have you ever noticed that oftentimes those who seemingly have the least in life appear to be the happiest, and those who seemingly have the most in life appear to be the most miserable? Life does not consist in the abundance of “things” that we have, but rather true living manifests itself in our love one for another. The true blessings in life are not found in the receiving, but in the giving.

~ Keith Lionel Brown

Radioactive – With William Joseph

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These videos were made by Utah filmmaker, Devin Graham, of William Joseph playing a Dubstep Piano on the lake. The first video is William Joseph performing his rendition of “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. The second video is a behind the scenes look at how the video was made.  You can also watch a video interview with Devin Graham in Portland, Oregon.


The Universal Language of Music

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Music is the universal languageMusic is the universal language. A person need not understand the language in which a song is sung to appreciate the message that the song intends to convey. During the darkest nights, in times of adversity and distress, music can sooth the aching soul and bring the calmness and peace that a person yearns for. During moments of quietness and reflection, music speaks to our souls, and at times brings to remembrance even some of the little things of life that may have long since been forgotten, but for which we should forever be grateful. It is through the venue of music that we also express our jubilation, praise, and thanksgiving to Him from whom all blessings flow. However, like in all things, we must use discernment in deciding which type of music we wish to listen to. There is music that is uplifting, but there is also music that can bring us down.

~ Keith Lionel Brown

La música es el lenguaje universal. Una persona no tiene que entender el idioma en el que una canción se canta para apreciar el mensaje de que la canción tiene la intención de transmitir. Durante las noches más oscuras, en los momentos de adversidad y angustia, la música puede calmar el alma dolorida y traer la calma y la paz que una persona anhela. Durante los momentos de tranquilidad y reflexión, la música habla a nuestras almas, y, a veces trae a la memoria incluso algunas de las pequeñas cosas de la vida que puede tener mucho tiempo se ha olvidado, pero por lo que debemos estar agradecidos por siempre. Es a través de la sala de música que también expresamos nuestro júbilo, alabanza y acción de gracias a Aquel de quien fluyen todas las bendiciones. Sin embargo, como en todas las cosas, tenemos que usar el discernimiento para decidir qué tipo de música que queremos escuchar. Hay música que levanta el ánimo, pero también hay música que nos puede hacer caer.

My Parents Brainwashed Me?

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I found this video on YouTube this evening and felt impressed to share it. A one word commentary on this video would be AMEN!!! One thing is for certain, and that is, if parents do not man-up and teach their children correct principles for living to help mold them into becoming upstanding citizens in their communities, the world has absolutely no problem in rushing in to teach them how to become a menace in society. Thank God for parents like the parents of this young man, and I thank God for my own parents who set the proper example and taught me correct principles for living that have helped mold me into the person that I am today.


Who is my neighbor?

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Who is my neighbor?

Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

We are all someone special in the eyes of God. Each of us is His special sons and daughters, created in His image and for His Divine purpose. He is the Divine Creator and we are the masterpieces of His creation. Each of us was lovingly designed using specially crafted molds. After each creation, He broke the mold and started over with a fresh new mold and design. Search if we must, but we will never find another person in the entire world exactly like ourselves. We may show similar character traits, but each of us is uniquely different, stamped with the Heavenly seal of approval. No one is more important or special than another, for each of us are individual souls of tremendous worth and our Heavenly Father loves us all the same – equally and unconditionally.

Therefore, let us take careful consideration of how we treat other people. God did not create any of us to be a door mat for people to trample on or wipe their feet on. Nor did he create us to be a foot stool for people to rest their feet upon. Although man was created from the dust of the earth, he was not created to be treated as the dirt beneath someone’s feet. As individual souls of worth, we deserve to be treated with dignity, self-respect, and as persons of self-worth. Differences such as race, national origin, culture, customs, occupation, education level, and religious beliefs should never be deciding factors about how an individual is treated by others.

In the twenty-second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, beginning at verse 35, we read of the account of a lawyer who comes to Jesus tempting Him by asking the question, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Without hesitation Jesus responds by saying, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Give particular notice to the second commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” That leads us to ask another question, “Who is our neighbor?”

The Greek word that is translated neighbor in the text is the word plesion which has the following meanings: (1) a friend, (2) any other person, and where two are concerned, the other (thy fellow-man, thy neighbour), according to the Jews, any member of the Hebrew nation and commonwealth, and (3) according to Christ, any other man irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet. Therefore, the answer to the question is that everyone, regardless of their physical place in relation to ours, and regardless of their culture and background, is our neighbor. It is interesting to note that in the King James Version of the Scriptures, the Greek word plesion is used only once to mean near, but it is used 16 times to mean neighbor.

To help us further understand who our neighbor is, let us now take a walk down the ancient road that went from Jerusalem to Jericho. In the time of Christ, this road was notorious for its danger and difficulty, and was known as the “Way of Blood” because of the blood which was often shed there by robbers. This is the same road, as you will recall, of which Luke (see Luke 10:25-37) tells us about a Jewish traveler who was beaten, robbed, and left half dead. Luke continues by telling us that first a priest and then a Levite came by, but both avoided the man. Finally, a Samaritan came by. Generally, Samaritans and Jews despised each other, but this Samaritan, out of love and compassion, helps the injured Jew.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, on the day before his assassination, described the road as follows:

I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road I said to my wife, “I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable.” It’s a winding, meandering road. It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about twelve hundred miles, or rather, twelve hundred feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho fifteen or twenty minutes later, you’re about twenty-two hundred feet below sea level. That’s a dangerous road. In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the “Bloody Pass.” And you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking, and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the priest asked, and the first question that the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?

Dr. King continues:

But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?

This Good Samaritan was no doubt concerned for his own safety, and rightfully so. However, he realized that there was more at stake than just his own well-being. Here lay a total stranger, a despicable Jew in his eyes, but a fellow-man nonetheless, who had been beat up, passed up, and left for dead. How could he just walk away like the others and do absolutely nothing to help his neighbor? And so he willingly lays aside his differences, binds up this man’s wounds, and carries him to safety. But the story doesn’t end there. Not only does he take his neighbor to safe shelter to rest and recover, but he treats this fellow-man as if he were one of his friends and offers to pay for any and all expenses that he might incur.

We should strive to live our lives after the pattern of this Good Samaritan by putting aside our differences and being willing to reach out to help others in time of distress and need. Some people we will know and perhaps will be more eager to give help. Others; however, will be total strangers and so we will naturally be a little more hesitant in rendering similar assistance. Regardless of whether they are well-known or complete strangers, we need to remember that everyone is our neighbor and everyone is a special soul of worth.

Perpetual Lies vs. Absolute Truth

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What is truth?It seems that there are some people who are more accepting of perpetual lies and “half-truths” than they are of accepting absolute truth. To them, perpetual lies and “half-truths” hold more merit because they have a tendency to vacillate the mind and stimulate interest for wanting to know more; where, absolute truth seems boring and too concrete.

The danger of “half-truths” is that over time, if the other half of the truth is never sought out to get absolute truth, the “half-truth” eventually perpetuates into becoming a whole lie.

Perpetual lies and “half-truths” are built upon a sandy foundation which begins to erode as the seas of time continually beat upon its shores, but absolute truth stands firm upon a solid foundation which is able to prevail the seas of time.

~ Keith Lionel Brown

We Are All Uniquely Wonderful and Special

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Human Race

At 57 years of age I will never comprehend the need for placing labels upon a race of people. In my short lifetime I have been called the infamous “N” word, Colored, Negro, Black, African-American, and a person of color. Along with that I have been called some off-color, hurtful, and shameful names that don’t bear repeating. Why is it that people feel a need to label any person in such a way? Why can’t I just be called an American, or even more importantly, a child of Almighty God? After all, it is not the labels that adequately describe a man, but rather the character of the man is the true test of who he really is.

I will forever be grateful that my parents did not raise me in a black and white world, but a world full of color and diversity. I am glad that they taught me from an early age that no one person is better than another, but we are all different in our own way, and that is what makes each of us uniquely wonderful and special. I will always be thankful that they taught me to never let cultural differences cause a great chasm, but to use those differences as a reason to come together and to learn from one another to help build bridges of love, hope, peace, and understanding. I am grateful that they taught me that I should never judge any man by what I see with my physical eyes, but rather by the content of his character. They taught me that I should try walking a mile in another man’s shoes, and seeing the world through his eyes, and then I might better understand him. I am especially grateful that they taught me that we are all God’s children and that He is no respecter of persons. He loves all of us equally and unconditionally.

~Keith Lionel Brown

What are your thoughts?