Food for Thought

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

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God is Still in Control

Good morning family and friends! This is not a political rant nor is it the intent to turn it into one. However, I awoke this morning with these thoughts on my mind and felt impressed to share them with all of you.

With all of the hatred, tumult, and confusion that exists in our nation, nay our world, at this daunting hour, there remains one important fact that so many people seem to have forgotten or overlooked. That is that God Almighty is still on the throne and in total control. He did not relinquish His power or authority to any individual or group of persons on Inauguration Day or any day for that matter. He is still God Almighty – the Lord God Jehovah.

He is the Alpha and the Omega. That is to say, He is the First and the Last – the Beginning and the End. In Hebrew, He is the Aleph and the Tau. He was from the beginning, and He will be in the end. He wrote the beginning chapters of this story, and only He knows what the ending chapters of this story will say. He spoke all things into existence. Therefore He alone knows the end to all things. He is the Author and the Finisher.

When all is said and done, it will not matter who I voted for, who you voted for, or if there were those who did not vote at all. Lest we forget, those who have human authority over us have only been dealt the measure of authority and power that God will allow them to have and not one thimble full more. Lest we forget, they, like you and I are mortals. And like you and I, they will one day stand before the Eternal Judge and give an account.

Therefore, as for me and my house, we are not going to use what precious time we have to worry and fret about the things that are happening at this moment. Why? Because we are leaning on the Everlasting Arms – Jesus Christ – and not the arms of flesh.

No President, Vice President, nor even the Supreme Court justices or any other elected officials of the land will have the final say. The Lord God Almighty and He alone will have the LAST word. And as long as I have my complete trust, confidence, and faith in Him, I know that everything is going to be alright. Amen!

Standing Firm in What You Believe

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These are my final comments. Before I begin, I want to humbly apologize to anyone who for whatever reason felt that they had been offended by a few of the things that I wrote in my post on 21 January 2017. The post in and of itself seems to have created a “fire bomb” as far as some are concerned, and that was never the intent.

In re-reading what I wrote this morning, I made the following comments, “Honestly, I know kindergarten children who act more mature than some people are behaving at this moment. Some people need to grow up and act their age and not their shoe size.” These statements were analogies and general comments. Nevertheless, I have been accused of mud-slinging, calling names, and causing divisiveness among people. Again, that was never the purpose nor the intent.

I did not call anyone a kindergartner. I was merely making the comparison that some little children act more mature than some adults have behaved throughout this whole election and inauguration process. I find it astounding that people only read and hear what they want to read or hear when they are angry and frustrated.

The acts that were done on the streets of Washington, D.C. even on inauguration day by supposed protesters were deplorable and inexcusable. That was not a protest by any stretch of the imagination. That was a riot. If anyone believes or feels differently, that is your prerogative, but I do not, cannot, and will never support your views.

There were more peaceable ways of showing their dissatisfaction with the new administration than what was displayed.That is my stand on the matter, and I will not back down from it. Hence, my analogy and general statement based on what my dear departed parents and grandparents used to tell me, “Act your age and not your shoe size.” Again, if anyone felt offended or that I was degrading them in any way, I humbly apologize, but that is what YOU read into it as it was never the intent. I have far better things to do with what precious time I have than to insult, degrade, demean, or otherwise belittle other people.

I still believe and will forever stand firm in the belief that hatred only begets more hatred. I still affirm that the hater often suffers more than the hated. You cannot extinguish a raging inferno by continuing to fuel the fire and fanning the flames. I still believe that peaceful resolutions are not wrought through obscenities and acts of violence. Whenever acts of violence are introduced, it is no longer a protest but rather a riot, and riots, if not brought under control, can quickly become war-torn blood-stained battlefields. I believe that if there is something worth fighting for that we should speak up and let our voices be heard but do so in a rational, calm, and civil manner. People will be able to understand you better and be more willing to listen to you when you are not screaming and shouting at them or using accusatory tones in your elocution.

I made the statement in another comment last evening, and I make it here again. It appears that the nation is in a terrible state of tumult, confusion, and unrest. Too many people are walking around like ticking time bombs that could explode at any moment. That is scary to me. There needs to be more understanding and compassion from both sides of the aisle, and sadly I don’t see that happening at this moment in time.

Controlling the Anger Within

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Control Your Anger

Each of us become angry at times for one reason or another. It is a part of human nature. I make no claims to know what causes anger inside of a person as I am by no means a therapist. There are different triggers for different people depending on circumstances and situations. To a degree, however, I believe that anger is a choice. If we allow every little thing that happens to us or said to us or about us, to upset us, then something or someone will always trigger our anger.

We need to realize that there are people in the world who pride themselves on pushing other people to their limits. Hence they incessantly cause strife and contention. The sad commentary is that we are the ones who become upset and angry, all the while, 99.99% of the time the person who triggered our ire doesn’t care one iota. In fact, they mock us. It is a lot easier to say than do at times, but we must learn to laugh at some things even through the hurt and the tears.

When people attempt to annoy me or make me angry, here is what I do to make light of the situation. I imagine them either standing on their deceptive soapbox wearing nothing more than their underwear making a spectacle of themselves or standing on a stage before the entire world stark naked (I do not mean to come across as being gross or crass) as they deliver their soliloquy of insincerity, rudeness, and ignorance. Quite honestly that image can be funny. In other words, I believe that it is far better to let the foolish wallow in their folly than to entertain their diabolical behavior by becoming infuriated.

When someone is rude, arrogant, or annoying, we should try responding with a smile. Most people who are trying to make us angry cannot deal with us not reacting (getting angry) as they would expect. Therefore, we must find a way to defuse any situation. We have to make the conscious decision that we will be happy in any given situation – we will focus on the positive, and not the contrary. Remember also that we cannot resolve bitterness and anger by fueling an already raging inferno with more pain and anger.

Family and TRUE (I emphasize the word TRUE) friends can also help by not continually bringing up the past. The past is the past – LEAVE IT THERE! We also have to get to a point where we let things from the past go. Let’s not pitch our tents in the lands of the past and attempt to dwell there. That in and of itself can be poison to our soul and spirit. Also, if we know that we are prone to become angry or hostile in certain settings or situations, then we have to disassociate ourselves from those settings or situations if possible.

Remember, it is the poisonous venom of the rattlesnake (anger, hostility, hatred, unkind words, rage, etc.) that causes death. However, it is the anti-venom (kind words, kind deeds, happiness, smiling, making wise choices, etc.) which if administered appropriately and promptly brings healing and restoration to life.

These are just a few of my thoughts on the matter. I would love to hear what you have to say.

The Aftermath of 11 September 2001

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11 September 2001

What happened to the American attitude and spirit of unity after that tragic day on 11 September 2001?

What happened was that after the shock of 9/11 was over, Americans fell asleep and soon dismissed from their minds that the unthinkable and unfathomable had just taken place on our shores. We resolved to bond together in the midst of the crisis, but once the night had passed, and as soon as the air of despair began to dissipate, we went about business as “normal” convincing ourselves that nothing like it would ever happen again.

We soon forgot about how important it is to stand together as a nation, and once again turned our focus on ourselves, forgetting about others. It never ceases to amaze me how we as a country can become close brothers and sisters in the time of a tragedy such as 9/11, and how quick we are to revert to our ways of treating each other once we feel that the trauma is over.

To those who lost their lives on that somber morning, we will always remember you. You were gone too soon, but will never be forgotten.

Let us also bear in mind that if America is to stay the great nation that it is, it will take the efforts of the many, not just a few. We are all in this together. America is our country. Let her flag forever wave in the breeze and may we always be the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Keith Lionel Brown
ET1, USN Retired

No Man is An Island Unto Himself

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A Walk Along the Beach

What a wonderful, beautiful world this would be if we could learn to set aside, or at least, put less focus on the differences that seem to divide us, and put more focus and emphasis on the commonalities that could and should unite us.

We do not have to agree totally with everything that people do or say, but by the same token, we should not allow our disagreements and differences to make us mortal enemies.

May God speed the day when we learn to bury our weapons of pride, egotism, self-righteousness, prejudice, hatred, bigotry, racism, and the like, and vow to war against one another no more. May God hasten that day!

Call me a dreamer, but I dream of the long-awaited day when all of God’s children – ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN – can sit down together at the banqueting table of brotherhood and sisterhood. I dream of the day when all of us will be able to join hands across the table with the full and complete realization and understanding that hatred only begets more hatred, but LOVE conquers all.

The truth of the matter is that I need you, and you need me. If we are to continue to survive as the human race, we must begin to realize that no man is an island unto himself. TOGETHER WE SHALL STAND. We shall be victorious TOGETHER, regardless of our race, our culture, our background, or any other wall that seemingly is a barrier between us. However, if we choose to remain divided, our “little islands” will soon be washed away by the passing winds and waves of time.

10 Important Things I Would Teach My Children About Racism, Bigotry, and Hatred

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Children of Different Races

1. Never label any particular “race” of people as being stupid, ignorant, or bigoted. Stupidity, ignorance, and bigotry comes in all shades.

2. “Race” is a man-made term used to divide groups of people and often to build walls of division, derision, degradation, belittlement, and even hatred.

3. Accept all people for whom God created them to be, and always try to build bridges of hope, love, peace, and understanding.

4. To judge a person by the color of his or her skin is to prove your level of misguided ignorance, and not necessarily your level of intelligence. Intelligent people do not allow the color of a person’s skin to create walls of division, but rather they work together, regardless of “race,” to build bridges of hope, love, peace, and understanding.

5. Never make rash and hasty decisions or opinions about any person until you have tried to walk a mile in his or her shoes, and have strived to make some effort to at least understand what makes him or her who they are. In other words, at least try to view the world through their eyes and not always your own.

6. Never be quick to criticize another person, or quick to point out their shortcomings and faults, unless you have seriously taken the time to look carefully at the individual who looks back at you in your mirror and can honestly declare that person whom you see as being “perfect.”

7. Judge no person by the color of his or her skin, but only by the content of his or her character. The color of the skin has nothing to do with intelligence levels or anything else for that matter.

8. Be quick to show love, patience, and understanding, and slow and careful to despise or reject another because of supposed differences. Strive to find the commonalities that can bind you as brothers and sisters, and focus less on the differences that supposedly cause division between you.

9. Treat all humanity as persons of dignity and self-worth, and strive to eradicate the words “hate” and “hatred” from your vocabularies. For to hate another often, in turn, leads to more hatred, which eventually leads to a bloody battlefield of contention and strife. Always remember, hatred only begets more hatred. We need not be at war with one another, but should try to find ways to live together as brothers and sisters.

10. Those who are incessant to use the “race” card for every situation, or to judge another person according to the color of his or her skin or “race” are in and of themselves racist and bigots regardless of the color of their skin. Beware of being numbered among their ranks.


Where do you place your priorities?

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What are your priorities?

At times we all can plead guilty to setting our priorities of life in an order that proves ineffective. Sometimes we become so entangled in the web of the mundane things of the world that we find ourselves hopelessly trapped in an abyss, always groping for the proverbial rope to pull us out, but never seem able to find it or gain a hold on it.

We have a tendency to become so ensnared in the clamor and continual chatter in life that our ears become deafened to the things that they should listen to. We often find ourselves running into proverbial walls of trivial matters that vie for our time and attention, diverting our focus away from the more weightier matters of life. As a result, we begin to overemphasize things that are the least important in our lives and devalue those things that implore us to give our immediate consideration.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and if necessary revise and revamp our priorities. By so doing we will be able to sharpen our focus and look beyond the proverbial trees that often block our view, thus gaining a broader view of the entire proverbial forest. We will also be able to adjust our listening frequency to squelch out the static of the world and become more attuned to those things which beckon us for sagacious considerations of what is important and what is not. Additionally, we will be able to escape from the dismal abyss in which we may presently find ourselves, affording us the opportunity to stop and smell the roses along the way, and enhance our overall vision for our life.

Don’t Judge This Book by Its Cover

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Bookshelf of old books

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. – Matthew 8:1, 2

One of my favorite pastimes is spending time browsing through the different books in a bookstore. Even as a boy there was always something about a good book that fascinated me. To this day, for me to spend time in a bookstore is like a little child spending time in a candy store. Like the little child knows that he cannot have all of his favorite candy and has to choose which candy he really wants, I too find myself having to make the choice of which book or books I really want to buy at that time.

Making the choice of which books to buy and which ones to leave behind until another time is not always an easy one. I may look at several books, and even put them in my shopping basket, but when it is time to check out, I look at the books that I have selected and make my last decision of which to buy. Usually I base my decision on the information that I can glean about the book from its front, inside, and back covers. Sometimes it is the title of the book that will spark my interest about what the book is about. Sometimes it is the short synopsis of the book that can be found on the inside or back cover of the book that interest me enough to want to know more about the book. Whatever the case, I find that my judgment as to which book or books to buy becomes based solely on the covers of the particular book.

Just as the cover of a book does not tell us everything we need to know about the book, neither can the outward appearance of a person tell us everything we need to know about that person. Just as we must open the cover of a book and read its contents to learn more of what the book is about, we must take the time to get to know a person to learn more about him or her. The cover of a book can give us some insight about what the book might be about, but it is the actual contents of the book that tell the true story. In the same way, our “covers” or outward appearances may disclose somewhat of who we are, but the thing that reveals who we truly are is the content of our character.

We live in a world where people find it easy to judge others for one reason or another. Oftentimes they base those judgments on what they see on the surface and not on actual facts. Some people find it easier to criticize and condemn another than to understand and help lift another. They are quick to point out the faults in others, but become blinded to the fact that they have faults of their own.

In Matthew 7:1-5 we learn:

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Luke 6:37 teaches us, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” And John 7:24 reminds us to “judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

In a talk given on 1 March 1998 at Brigham Young University titled “”Judge Not” and Judging”, Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught that “there are two kinds of judging: final judgments, which we are forbidden to make, and intermediate judgments, which we are directed to make, but upon righteous principles.”

Concerning intermediate judgments, Elder Oaks taught that, “these judgments are essential to the exercise of personal moral agency. Our scriptural accounts of the Savior’s mortal life provide the pattern. He declared, “I have many things to say and to judge of you” (John 8:26) and “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see” (John 9:39).”

Elder Oaks further taught that “the Savior also commanded individuals to be judges, both of circumstances and of other people. Through the prophet Moses, the Lord commanded Israel, “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour” (Lev. 19:15).”

We all make judgments every day in the exercise of our moral agency. We make judgments in choosing our friends, in choosing our profession, in choosing how we will spend our time and money, and in choosing our eternal companion. However, we must exercise caution and ensure that our judgments of people are intermediate and not lasting, and that the judgments we make are righteous judgments. Righteous judgments are guided by the Spirit of the Lord, not by anger, revenge, jealousy, or self-interest. The Book of Mormon, in Moroni 7:15-16  teaches:

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

In John 16:8-13 the Savior taught that one of the missions of the Comforter He would send would be to aid in judging the world by guiding the faithful “into all truth”:

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Doctrine and Covenants 1:10 reminds us that the day will come when “the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man.” Therefore, the criteria we use in judging others may be applied by the Lord in judging us. Thus, we may actually be judging ourselves when we judge others, in the sense that we are establishing the measure of justice and mercy that will be measured to us in the final judgment. Further clarification of this is given in the Book of Mormon as recorded in Alma 41:12–15:

12 And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?
13 O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again aevil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.
14 Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
15 For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.

If the Lord uses His own criteria for judging us, we are assured of a just and merciful judgment (Psalms 103:8; John 5:30). Are we confident enough with the criteria we use in judging others that we are willing to have the Lord judge us according to our criteria rather than His own? Do we want Him to judge us in the same way we judge others? If not, then perhaps we should be hesitant to criticize and condemn others.

The summation of the matter is this: “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” (Romans 2:1-3) “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” (James 4:11-12)

Let Hatred Be Your Foe

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No Regrets, Only Love

Hatred towards another is a builder of walls and barriers that cause undue strife and division. It stifles any chance for reasoning and understanding and alienates love completely. It receives its nourishment from unrelenting anger and pent-up frustration and has a disdain for people in general.

At all cost, hatred should always be our foe, and never our friend. We must learn that we can never combat hatred with more hatred. The only thing accomplished in so doing is that the hot, glowing embers are kept ever-burning, and at any given moment could burst into a raging fire that becomes out of control. The only way to combat hatred is through love and a genuine understanding which in time tears down the walls and barriers which hatred has built.

Hatred causes nothing but pain and misery, but love brings about final restoration and reconciliation. In any case, hatred does far more damage to the hater than it does to the hated. It is a cancer of the soul. It gives no peace and demands continual justification. Therefore, as for me, I resolve to hate no more forever.