Of Common Sense – Volume VI

The Words and Wisdom of Keith Lionel Brown

In the early morning of our lives, our school is our home, the students in the classroom are our siblings, and our teachers are our parents and grandparents. In the afternoon of our lives, our school is a building outside the home, the students in the classroom become our friends and confidants, and our teachers are those who have themselves studied and prepared to impart knowledge to us that we will use as we continue on our journey through life. In the evening of our lives, we continue learning in the school of life with the world being our classroom, and life itself being our teacher.

Each new day of life is an opportunity for us to learn some new and interesting things. The wise man gleans as much as he can from his life experiences and with his new found knowledge and wisdom is able to chart and navigate his course in life. With all of his learning, he also learns that some obstacles in life can be overcome by using a little common sense.

What you are about to read are some of the gleanings from my personal life experiences and the lessons that those experiences have taught me to help me chart and navigate my course. I believe that many of these thoughts are merely common sense.

From Whence We Came

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to climb up the ladder of success in life so long as we remember not to crush the fingers of those who help steady that ladder as we climb from rung to rung. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to move from one station in life to a different station in life so long as we remember to thank the Conductor of the “train” for getting us to the new station unscathed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to cross a bridge to get to the other side so long as we do not attempt to dismantle the bridge as we are crossing it in hopes of using its wood as logs and kindling to build a fire in celebration of our crossing over. There is absolutely nothing wrong with closing one door behind us and opening new doors of opportunity so long as we remember not to slam any door in the face of the ones who helped open those new doors in our lives.

We cannot live productive and successful lives if we continually focus on those things that are behind us, and never gain sight of those things that lay just before us. By the same token, as we press forward in life, we should not obliterate our past from our memory, for it is things of our past that help to bring us to our present, and ultimately bring about our future. Let us continue to forge ahead, but in our progression, let us never forget from whence we started.

With A Child’s Heart

I should hope that I never grow so old as to forget what it is like to laugh and play as a child, enjoying the simpler things of life. I hope that I shall never grow so old that I spend my life living enclosed in a box, wearing blinders, and having obscure vision, but that I may still be able to view the world through the eyes of an innocent child as a place of beauty and wonder as God created it to be. I pray that I shall never grow so old that my heart becomes cold and calloused, shutting out the world and only thinking of myself, but that I can be as accepting as a child who has a warm heart and open arms to welcome in everyone he meets. But most of all, I sincerely pray that I shall never grow so old as to forget what it is to be loved, but even more importantly, to love unconditionally as with the heart of a child.

What is Hope?

Hope is the song of the heart that soothes the troubled mind and the weary soul enabling the belief that although things may not be as expected at this particular moment, all is not lost, for there does shine a light at the end of a seemingly dark tunnel. Hope invigorates the mind and gives vitality to an otherwise doleful life. Hope develops within a person the realization that the well of life has not run dry, but rather the pump just needs to be primed with the water of faith, and then, once again the cool refreshing water of life can be drawn from the well. Hope gives a person the courage to continue to press forward at times when it may seem that there is nothing worth pressing forward for. As long as hope can remain alive, life has a whole new meaning and purpose. It is when a person begins to lose hope that his life begins to cease to exist.

The Grass is Not Always Greener on the Other Side

As we journey down the road of life we find that there are times when we will need to stop and take a respite. As we sit and ponder about our life, looking out over the horizon, from where we may sit at any given station in our life, we envision that the pastures over yonder are much greener than any pastures that we have ever come across.

At times, as we travel along we may feel that our wagon wheels are turning, but it doesn’t ever seem that we are making much ground. It seems that our life is stuck in a rut, and that we have been traveling down the same old dusty road for far too long. Even the pastures that we do come across in our travels seem more like dry, barren desserts. We grow weary and yearn to be able to get to those luscious green pastures just over yonder, convincing our self that life would be much sweeter if we could just get from here to there.

In time we may arrive at those pastures that we envisioned. When we do, we find that we feel much better about our self because our long and arduous journey is finally over. We believe that our life has finally taken a turn for the better, and that the roads ahead will proffer us much smoother travel. However, though the pastures that lay before us seem inviting, we may find over a period of time, after we have been able to bask in the sunshine as it were, that these pastures are really not any greener than the pastures that we left behind, and the roads that we travel down are not any smother than the roads that we have been used to traveling on. We begin to realize that some of the same troubles that we had to face and deal with back where we came from are the same troubles that we have to face and deal with now with perhaps some new ones added to the seemingly ever growing list.

Indeed the pastures may appear to be greener, and we may envision life being sweeter over yonder, but that is not always the case. Sometimes we may find that once we get to those “greener pastures”, what we had was really not as bad as what we had thought. Let us not be so hasty to always want to get to “greener pastures” over yonder, but let us take time to be thankful for those pastures that we have right before us. We may soon discover that any pastures that we come across in life are as green as we make them out to be.

Using Things and Loving People

It simply boggles the mind to realize the number of people in this world who seem to think that everything in life is gratis. In their finite minds they envision a sea filled with oysters, and inside any oyster that they pick is a pearl of entitlement to have whatever they want, whenever they want it. These are those who live their lives under the preconceived notion that they can petition the services of any person at any given time, and that person should be willing to render service without any expectation of compensation for their time and efforts. Oftentimes these people do not even voice their gratitude with a “thank you”. They assume that everyone is indebted to them; therefore, they do not feel that they owe the world anything, but rather the world owes them everything.

This way of thinking can lead a person to believe that others are nothing more than merchandise on a shelf in a store that is purchased when wanted or needed, and when its usefulness is expended, it is tossed into the garbage never to be thought about again. However, people are not merchandise and should not be treated and used as such.

The hard cold reality; however, is that some people love their material possessions more than they love their brothers and sisters. They love things and use people, when they should be loving people and using things. This only leads to a life of misery and woe because at the least expected hour those people whom were used often become the ones who are needed the most. And oftentimes, just like the merchandise that is tossed into the garbage never to be thought about again after its usefulness is spent, those people may feel that their usefulness is spent, and hence are nowhere to be found.

We cannot live our lives under the assumption that everything is ours for the taking to use as we please, whether it be material things, and especially if it concerns people. We do not have a free license to use people at will and take advantage of them at every turn. We must learn to reciprocate any act of kindness that we are blessed to receive with acts of our own charity and kindness. We must learn that people are not things to be thrown away when their usefulness is exhausted, but rather they are to be nurtured and loved.

How do I “love” you?

There are two four-letter words in the English language that both begin with the letter “L”. One of the words ends in the letter “t”, and the other ends in the letter “e”. There are many people who use the words interchangeably when expressing their intimate feelings for someone. They treat these two words as if their meanings were one in the same, but in reality there exist a chasm between the two. The two words are “Lust” and “Love.”

There are those who feel that their lustful desires are an expression of their “true love” for someone. They base their entire relationship with a person on the supposition that the most important element in that relationship is having those desires fulfilled, and nothing else matters. As a result they find themselves forever in search of “true love” but never finding it because their concept of “true love” is only superficial. For them, “true love” is not enduring, but rather is fleeting, lasting only for the duration of the fulfillment of their lustful desires at that moment.

True love does not always seek to fulfill the lustful desires of the flesh, but rather it is pure and genuine in intent, and finds its pleasure in being with and supporting another. True love comes from the heart and realizes that fulfilling the desires of the flesh is an additional part of a relationship, and not the entire basis for a relationship. True love seeks not to satisfy self, but always seeks to please and to be pleasing to another. True love does not ask the question, “What is in it for me?”, but rather the question that is asked is, “How can we work together, and grow and mature together, to make this an enduring relationship based on our genuine and true love for one another?” When true love is at the forefront of a relationship, that relationship is destined to become a bilateral relationship.

Lust, on the other hand, only seeks self-gratification for that is all it knows and really cares about. It is always in a state of flux, continuously moving from one relationship to another, always wanting to fulfill its desires, but never finding true happiness or real satisfaction in any relationship that it is a part of. Lust always wants to know, “What is in it for me?” Nothing else, or anybody else ever matters. It is shallow, cold-hearted, and callous by nature. It seeks to fulfill its pleasures, but never truly finds lasting pleasure for itself in the fulfillment of those pleasures, for it always begs for more and the more that it gets, the more it wants. When lust is the sole basis for a relationship, that relationship is destined to become a unilateral relationship.

“How do I ‘love” you?” is a question that each individual must answer for themselves through self-examination of their true intent and motives. When a person enters into a relationship he needs to ask himself if he is seeking something that will be enduring, or is he seeking something that is fleeting like the wind. The main word in the vocabulary of lust is “me”. The main words in the vocabulary of true love are “you and me.” Lust stands alone. True love joins together with another to create a harmonious relationship.

Peace in the Midst of a Storm

No one has ever promised us that we would be able to journey through this life on a bed of roses. Although there will be times when the roses in the garden of our life are in full bloom, there will be other times when it may seem that our roses have all but withered and died.

We must also realize that amongst the beauty of the roses there are thorns that can be very painful. We may wish that we could avoid being pricked by the thorns, but those thorns are a natural part of the bush. And although being pricked by them may cause mild pain and discomfort, the good news is that the pain only last for a short time.

The beautiful roses represent the times of peace in our life, while the thorns represent the storm-tossed billows that tend to roll in from time to time. None of us like to face the raging storms, for unlike the thorns of the rose bush, the storms of life cause pain and discomfort on many different levels. However, it is often in the midst of a storm that we realize our greatest strengths that are helping us to endure the storms. Even though, at times, they appear to last for an eternity, in reality they only last for a season.

In the midst of a storm, if we remain focused and stay our course, we can have peace and serenity realizing that the morning always follows the night, and that no matter how dark any night may seem, all is not lost, the sun will rise and shine again in our life, often shining brighter after the trial of the storm than before.

It Is a Matter of Priorities

At times we all can plead guilty to setting our priorities of life in an order that proves to be non beneficial. 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 seeming to be 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 be tuned 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 the things that in reality should be the least important in our lives, and deemphasize 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 proverbial forest as a whole. We will also be able to retune our listening frequency in an effort to squelch out the static of the world, and become more attuned to those things which beckon for us to be more sagacious in our 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 in, affording us the opportunity to stop and smell the roses along the way, and enhance our overall vision for our life.

The Myth of Superiority

I am neither better than nor superior to you. You are not better than nor superior to me. We were both created in the image of the same Divine Creator. However, when this Master Potter took a lump of clay to design each of our molds, He lovingly and meticulously worked at the potter’s wheel to shape each of us into something that is wondrously unique. Therefore, we are the same in that we are each masterworks, fashioned and designed by the hands of the same Master, but we are different in that each of our designs are intricately different.

Each of us was wonderfully made with a specific purpose and mission in mind. Included within the makeup of each of us are the talents and abilities that the Master saw fit to include to enable us to fulfill a purpose and mission which would bring us great joy and satisfaction, ultimately bring praise and glory to His name. Therefore, it proffers us absolutely nothing to harbor malice, envy, jealousy, or deliberate hatred towards others simply because we have not been blessed in our lives with the same things that they have been blessed with in their lives.

In short, instead of being overly concerned about the things that are growing in our neighbor’s fields and the crops that he will eventually harvest, we perhaps should spend more time tending our own fields and giving thanks for the crops that we will eventually harvest. When we learn to show our gratitude for the bounteous harvest that the Master blesses us to receive, He will in turn bless our fields to yield even greater harvests.

The Master is not a respecter of persons. He does not give a greater measure of blessings to any person because He has a more abiding love for that person. But rather, those blessings are meted to each of us predicated upon our faithfulness and obedience, as well as, the measure of gratitude that we show for those things which we have already been abundantly blessed with.

The Intelligence of Our Elocution

Intelligent people are able to hold intelligent conversations using other words than those that contain only four letters. Spewing forth four letter “expletive deleted” to express oneself does not by any stretch of the imagination make a woman appear to be more of a woman or a man more of a man. Using foul and offensive language does not rack up any points on the meter of intelligence, instead it does tend to peg the meter of ignorance.

The use of crass language is not only a sign of a lack of self-respect, but it is also an indication that the person who chooses to riddle his elocution with such deplorable expressions has little to no respect for humanity as a whole.

The very words that a person vocalizes can in essence bring about his own condemnation, or they can proffer him accolades and commendations. By his own words a person can send a message to the world that he is the friend of pigs and enjoys living his life wallowing in the pig pen, or he can send a message to the world that he chooses to live his life in the company of eagles soaring to new and majestic heights.

Are We Fire Starters or Firefighters

There are people in this world who seem to make it their life’s mission to continually fan the ever glowing embers of ignorance and hatred. Then when one little spark from those embers ignite into a flame, they will fan it turning that ember into one major fire. Once that fire is started, they will endeavor to keep it burning, fueling it with unrelenting ignorance and hatred.

It proves of no purpose for us to retaliate with our own ignorance and hatred. The end result of such actions is to put more fuel on the fire, keeping it burning. In time if someone does not combat that fire it will destroy lives and livelihoods

In such instances we need to be the “firefighters” instead of the ones who continually add fuel to the fire. Once such a fire has gotten out of control, the only way to bring it back under control is to repeatedly dowse it with a solid stream of the cool healing waters of brotherly love and compassion, and completely smother any remaining glowing embers with a blanket of human dignity, self-worth, and patient love. It is of a certainty that we cannot fight fire with fire. But, we can help to extinguish the fire by drowning it out in an ocean of love.

Please Be Patient, God Is Not Finished With Me Yet

Each of us is a continual work in progress. We are clay in the hands of the Master Potter who sits in His house at the potter’s wheel continually molding and shaping us into what we are to become according to the master plan which only He holds. Each mold that He creates is a unique work of art and is intricate in design. This Master Potter is meticulous about His work and carefully works with each mold to ensure that it is according to design before placing it in the kiln to dry and harden, producing the final desired product.

Think of the molding and shaping that takes place as a farmer who wants to plant his seeds in fallow ground, Before he can actually plant his seeds he has to work the ground and get rid of all the weeds and thorns that would eventually overtake and choke his crops, and plow and fertilize the soil in order that it has the nutrients that are needed to help his crops grow. After working the ground and planting his seeds, he still has to wait a certain period of time before his crops come to fruition and are ready to harvest. All the while he continually waters and cares for his field until the day of harvest arrives.

And so, God has a plan for each of our lives. He does not reveal His plan in its entirety all at once, but rather He moves us along in His plan one step at a time, nurturing, guiding, and loving us each step of the way, until the day we become the finished product that He desires for us to be for His purposes and for His glory.

Looking At Another’s Life From the Outside In

It is always easier to view another person’s life, and to oftentimes make rash judgments about that person, as an outsider looking in. From where we sit and the view which we have, we unfortunately only get the tip of the iceberg as far as really getting to know the person, and only a thimble full, if that, of knowing what makes that person the way that they are.

Every person’s life is uniquely different. We cannot make unmerited judgments about a person, or adequately vocalize our opinions as to how we think that person should be living their life, when we do not know nor fully understand all of the ramifications and consequences that govern and surround that person’s life.

We have no God given right to assume anything about a person until we have at least taken the time to get to know that person. In getting to know that person we may need to close our mouths and open our ears and listen to what that person has to say realizing that his or her life experiences are not necessarily comparable to our own. In other words there is a time to speak and a time to keep silent. There is a time to be the voice in a conversation and a time to be the attentive listening ears. There is a time to be teacher and impart knowledge and there is a time to be the student that is taught and takes careful notes.

In order to gain even a miniscule amount of understanding another person’s life we need to try walking a mile in their shoes, and viewing the world through their eyes, and then perhaps we will not be so quick to make undue judgments or formulate absurd opinions about that person.

We must learn to respect and treat everyone as we would want to be treated and respected. If we would not want other people to make hasty judgments or formulate undue opinions about us, then we should not do so to them.

Facing Our Goliaths

It is my humble opinion the reason we often fail in life or feel like failures is because we are our own worse critics, and a majority of the time we fail because we fail ourselves.

Sometimes in life when we are faced with what seems to be insurmountable hurdles, instead of trying to get over them, we view them as “mighty Goliaths” and run and cower. As a result, many times we fail to see our dreams and aspirations come to fruition because we don’t have the courage to press forward and face the “Goliaths” that stand in our way. Oftentimes before we even make the first step we convince ourselves that we cannot defeat the “giant” in front of us, and so we give up and give in without ever trying.

The many roads that lead to success in life are filled with numerous obstacles and hurdles which we must get over, as well as, many manholes and potholes called failure that we need to try to avoid if we can, or at least realize that they are there and devise a plan to get around them without falling in.

No one ever promised us that life would be a rose garden. No one ever promised us that the road that we would travel would be smooth as glass. Life is full of many lofty mountains and many low and desolate valleys. There may be “Goliaths” which may cross our path from time to time, but we will never achieve anything in this life if we continually quit every time we come face to face with a “giant” who is blocking our way and daring us to go any further. We must learn to always carry a proverbial slingshot and a few smooth stones in our backpacks, and take courage like the little shepherd boy David, and face the “Goliaths” in our lives head on with the determination that we will defeat them, and not allow them to defeat us.

How Blissful Is Our Ignorance?

There are some people who appear to be blissful in their ignorance. They seem to be snug as a bug in a rug in not knowing about, or even attempting to learn about, certain things. Then, there are those who become so enveloped in other matters that they often neglect the tasks at hand, or the things that really matter the most because of their blissful ignorance.

We are all ignorant of some things, but we have the choice to increase our knowledge and enhance our understanding of those things which we are ignorant of, or we can choose to continue to wallow in our ignorance and be blissful. The same applies to placing our priorities in life. We can turn our focus towards those things which matter most, or we can continue to journey through life being blissfully ignorant and allow life to completely pass us by.

Some may find comfort and solace in accepting how blissful they are in their ignorance. Others may excuse their actions as blissful ignorance on their part. In either instance, unless a person makes the choice to abandon ignorance, they may eventually find themselves forever stuck in a quagmire without any hope of ever getting out.

The Power of Our Words

There is a lot of power in the words that we use in our everyday communications. Words are likened to a double-edged sword in that they can be complimentary in one sense, and demeaning and degrading in another. Therefore, a person must exercise caution in the formulation of his thoughts which eventually become the words that he vocalizes.

For example, if you use the right words, and use the right tone and inflection in the articulation of your elocution, you can communicate to a man that he is nonsensical, and because of his lack of comprehension of what has just been suggested to him, he may just compliment you on the eloquence of your diction.

On the other hand, with the use of the right words a person can become a virtual Picasso as his words become his paintbrush, filling his canvas with vibrant colors, thus allowing him to transpose something that is bleak and dismal into something that is beautiful and auspicious.

Words can be used to fortify and to edify, or they can be used to weaken and to cofuse which can ultimately cause a debacle.

The True Measure of Tithing

When 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 offfering? Are they to be denied the blessings of Heaven? I say nay.

The 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.

The Christian life is not all about us rceiving the blessings, but rather being a blessing to others. The Lord is not so much interested in the quanity 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.

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.

Definition of a “True” Father

As a single man, and the son of a father, I would like to be so bold as to send out a message to “fathers” everywhere. I would like to go on record as being one to set the record straight that just because a male is biologically able to play a part in the creation of a new life, that does not constitute him being a “father.” Being a true father is more than having the title of “father.” The title of “father” is not a God given right, it is a title that is earned. Being a father means more than seeing a new life come into the world, and then going happily on your way to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. The major part of being a father is BEING THERE.

A true father needs to be there to do his part in taking care of and raising his child, and helping to guide that child’s footsteps on the path that he should go. A true father sets the proper example to help his child to mature into a well behaved, respectable and responsible adult that will be a viable contribution, versus a menace, to the society in which they live. A true father knows what he believes, and stands firm in those beliefs. A true father is a man of courage, a man of discipline, a man of principle, a man of moral fortitude.

Line Upon Line, Precept Upon Precept

When it comes to understanding and teaching the Gospel, we must realize that different people are on different spiritual levels at any given time. We cannot expect a person to be able to digest the meat of the Word when they are still nursing on the milk of the Word.

It is likened to weaning a baby off of milk and baby food and introducing him to solid food. We cannot place a full course meal in front of a baby and expect him to ingest and digest it all. Instead, we introduce him to solid food – bite by bite, spoonful by spoonful, a little of this and a little of that. In time he will begin to be able to eat and enjoy a full meal, and as he grows and matures, he will be able to enjoy even larger portions.

And so it is with understanding and teaching the Gospel. There are people who are mature enough in the Gospel to be able to handle the meat of the Word, while there are others who are still babes in the Gospel who can only handle the milk of the Word. Those of us who are mature in the Gospel need to learn to be more patient and compassionate and more willing to nurture and help those who are still babes to become mature in the same manner in which we have achieved our maturity – line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. In time their level of understanding will begin to increase and they too will be able to partake more from the banquet table of the Good Word and prayerfully teach others those things which they have learned to help them mature in the Gospel as well.

Others Deserve a Restbit

There are some people who always seem to feel that everybody else should be doing more and giving more of their time while even the small things that they themselves could do to help lighten the load often go by the wayside because they always seem to have some excuse as to why they cannot do something, or are always exclaiming that they simply don’t have the time to get involved with helping to do anything.

These same people are quick to rush in, and seem to have absolutely no problem, with placing the lion’s share of the load on someone else’s shoulders, or mandating how much time they feel that a person should be willing to give in order to accomplish a task at hand, yet they themselves are never willing to take a portion of that load to help make the burden lighter, or part with some of their own precious time to help accomplish the task.

Why is this? I have come to the foregone conclusion that some people feel that as long as they can get everyone else to shoulder the load and do all the work, then they don’t have to do anything except sit back and watch the work being done. The sad commentary on it all is that often those who are not willing to do anything to help are usually the first ones who want to take all the credit for a job when it is finished.

As the old adage says, “Many hands make light work!” If we are not willing to use our hands as “working” hands to help get the job done, then we should not use our lips to sing praises and accolades unto ourselves when the job is done either. The man, who steals the credit for something that he had no part in bringing to fruition, is no better than the thief who breaks in and steals those things which he has not expended any labor to obtain.

I further humbly submit that instead of always expecting some people to do more and to give more of their time, we need to learn to be thankful and appreciative of the things that they do, and be willing to give them a much needed respite and take upon ourselves some of their load, and free up some of their time to do some of the things which they may have been unable to otherwise do.

Being Willing to Mature

There definitely comes a time in our lives when we are no longer infants – a time when we need to begin to mature and get past the point of constantly whining, crying, or throwing temper tantrums because we cannot get our way. If we feel that the scales of justice and fairness are unbalanced, leaning more to one side than another, than it is high time that we stop sucking on our pacifiers, drinking milk from our “Sippy cups”, and eating pablum. It is time to start manning-up by ingesting and digesting solid food and doing that which is necessary to help bring about change and to balance the scales.

Change has never been brought about in this world by people wanting to remain seated in their easy chairs of status quo, accepting the unacceptable, while all the while on the inside they are wallowing in a slime pit of misery and woe. In order to bring about change, we have to be willing to get off of our “blessed assurances” and take action to ensure that the desired change comes to fruition.

If we are not willing to mature, but desire to always act like infants, then we can expect, and should learn to accept, that some changes may never occur; therefore, we should continue to do nothing, just continue sucking on our pacifiers, crying for our milk, eating our pablum, and be content.

More Precious Than Gold

Some of my most prized earthly possessions are the things which I was able to obtain after the passing of my beloved parents. These things are treasured values not because of their monetary worth, but rather because of their intrinsic value. Each treasure has its own history and story to tell. It is that history and those stories that have become an integral part of who I am today. Those few earthly treasures are more precious to me than all the silver and gold in the world. I would never sell them, for what price tag could ever be placed on such precious memorabilia?

Perpetual Lies vs Absolute 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; whereas, absolute truth seems to be too boring and too concrete.

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

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

Making a Noteworthy Change

If any person, regardless of race, color, creed, or national origin, never stands up and speaks out against the flagrant wrongs and grave injustices that he sees, or that he has had happen to himself or others, change will never come, and those who are guilty of causing such impositions will continue to comfortably lounge in their easy chairs of satisfaction, enjoying the cool breeze of status quo, believing that things as they are should be accepted as the norm, when in reality that belief is a deplorable fallacy.

The Wisdom Of a Man

Blessed is the man who is wise enough to acknowledge the hand of Almighty God in all things. Only a fool could believe that all things are wrought by his own hands.

Blessed is the man who is wise enough to be willing to be teachable and to learn from that which he is taught by precept and experience. Only a fool could believe that he himself knows it all. Instead of appearing to be wise, such a man appears to be a fool.

Blessed is the man who acknowledges the value of others and learns to treat each person with dignity and respect – just as he himself would want to be treated. Only a fool could endeavor to isolate himself from the help of others. His empire will crumble under the weight of his own self-righteousness, egotism, and pride.

Blessed is the man who is wise enough to stand for what he believes and to know that he is right without lording over his adversary. Only a fool becomes crass and overbearing in making his stand, reaping disharmony and contention, and destroying whatever potential his position might have offered.

Being True Disciples Of Christ

The problem that I observe that some Christians face is that they tend to run the race of life in the same manner that a horse runs a race – with blinders on. They can only see what is in their direct line of vision and no more. Sadly, there are some Christians who prefer and enjoy things being that way, but if we are to be true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and are willing to take the message of the Glorious Gospel to the entire world, then we need to take the blinders off and begin to widen our vision. We need to learn to step outside of the box and leave our comfort zones and GO and DO the work that the Lord has commanded us to do. There are a world of people waiting for someone to bring them the message of GOOD NEWS and hope. Will that someone be YOU?

Give Us Barabbas

There are many kind and honorable people in the world who are knowledgeable of the difference between right and wrong, but for fear of rejection and retaliation from the masses for standing up for what they believe, they cower and consent with wrongdoers.

They are likened to some of those who may have been in the crowd the day Christ stood before Pilate, and agreeing with Pilate that there was no fault to be found in Him, they nevertheless consented with the masses and cried, “Crucify Him!” And when Pilate asked who they wanted to see released, Christ or Barabbas, they cried, “Give us Barabbas!” Although they may feel the pain and remorse of their decisions afterwrads, for sake of being accepted by the crowd, they will always cry, “Give us Barabbas!”

The Ruin Of a Nation

As I consider the state of our great nation, not to mention the state of the world at this moment in time, I can only surmise that any nation who denies the existence of Almighty God who is omnipresent, or pushes away His omnipotent hand of favor by placing themselves on a proverbial pedestal, thinking themselves to be wiser than He who is omniscient, is destined to follow suit of, and suffer the same dire consequences as, every nation and empire that preceded it and behaved in like manner. A nation or an empire may be considered great, but once it starts to disintegrate, its ruin is far greater.

We Are More Than Conquerors

If we profess to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we constantly walk around in an attitude of defeatism, always speaking of those things that we cannot do, we actually pay our Savior, the One whom we say we love with all of our heart, a dishonor. If we profess to be the Lord’s disciples, we need to learn to restructure and realign our attitudes and thought processes, and live our lives according to the words found in the Bible, in Philippians 4:13 which read, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” And when we begin to govern our lives according to that thought pattern, we will also be able to say, like the Apostle Paul, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). And what follows from that attitude is that we will become empowered with the persuasion that, “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39).

Every Voice Deserves To Be Heard

Absolutely there is a time when silence can be considered golden – a time when saying less can be considered more, and perhaps saying nothing at all can be considered best. The man who insists on rushing in headlong and voicing his opinion on a matter does not necessarily do so because he is the most intelligent or the most knowledgeable about the subject under discussion, but a majority of the time he does so in hopes of being recognized by his peers as such. For him to speak out of turn about that which he has no knowledge or comprehension of makes him to appear as no more than a circus clown who entertains the crowds, or even worse, a braying jackass.

Every person has a voice, and certainly every voice deserves the chance to be heard. However, sometimes it proves wiser to remain silent in the shadows and listen carefully to the oration that is being presented in order to gain a richer understanding of that which is being articulated. It is during that time of studious listening that we can commence processing the information that we are taking in, and formulating our thoughts, ideas, and opinions in a more rational manner.

Once we have gingerly collected our thoughts and have with reservations prepared the words that we might say concerning the matter under discussion, then are we able to speak with clarity, certainty, and a voice of intelligence. If we are still branded a fool after our enunciation, at least we can walk away with the satisfaction of being considered an intelligent fool and not a nonsensical one.

A House Is Not Necessarily A Home

It has been said that a man’s home is his castle. But, I humbly submit that before a man crowns himself king of said proverbial castle, it may prove of necessity to first have an understanding of what a home is.

How many times have we in conversation when departing from someone’s house said, “I think I will go home now”? The word “home” as used in this particular instance defines the place where we dwell or reside. Perhaps we would be more precise by saying, “I think that I will go to my house now.” I say that because the truth of the matter is that every house is not a home, and a person can be a part of a home without physically living in a house or some similar dwelling.

A house is a place where one resides. They may partake of their meals there, perform some of the necessities of life there, and even lay their head to rest at night there, but it is still just a house. There may be other people who live in the “house”, but even that does not make that house a “home.”

Home, as has been said, is where the heart is. Home is not merely a place where people cohabitate, but they live together and share in the joys and heartaches, the laughter and the tears, the sunshine days and the dark and dreary nights of adversity. All hearts are conjoined as one, and everybody is a somebody of self worth and importance.

There are no little islands or a desert in the home where the unfavorable are banished, but the home is a virtual community of love, hope, and understanding. It is a place where the universal language that is spoken is love. The home is the place where everyone understands that the internal infrastucture will only be as strong as the cohesive bond that holds it together. When that infrastructure is breached, they quicky join forces to perform damage control and repair the breaches to prevent a total collapse.

Standing on its own, a house is merely a house. However, when that house is filled with love and there is a unity that creates a cohesive bond, that house then becomes a home.

Lust vs Love

There are two four-letter words in the English language that both begin with the letter “L”. One of the words ends in the letter “t”, and the other ends in the letter “e”. There are many people who use the words interchangeably when describing their intimate feelings for another. They treat these two words as if their meanings were one in the same when in reality there are vast differences between the two. The words that I speak of are “Lust” and “Love”.

There are those who feel and believe that their lustful desires are an expression of their true love for someone, and there are those who base their entire relationship of supposedly loving someone on the supposition that the most important element in that relationship is having their lustful desires fulfilled.

True love does not always seek to fulfill the lustful desires of the flesh, rather it is pure and genuine in intent, and finds its pleasure in being with and supporting another. True love comes from the heart and realizes that fulfilling the desires of the flesh is an additional part of a relationship, not the entire basis for a relationship. When true love is at the forefront of a relationship, that relationship becomes a bilateral relationship.

Lust, on the other hand, is selfish and only seeks self-gratification. It is very unstable and continually moves from one relationship to another always searching to fulfill its desires, but never finding true happiness or satisfaction. When lust is the sole basis for a relationship, that relationship oftentimes is destined to be a unilateral relationship.

I’m Sorry!

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.

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. “Just take a spoonful of this medicine, or rub a little of it into your wounds, ” they tell their proverbial patients, “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 desire to once again inflict the inflicted?

I humbly submit that there are times when simply saying “I’m sorry!” is not enough, especially if it is only rendered as a half-hearted apology so as 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.

You can attract more flies with honey than you can with vinegar

Certainly there are times in all of our lives when we become angry, irritated, frustrated, and tired of certain situations. There are times when we may feel the need to retaliate by voicing our opinion about the situation either through spoken word or via pen and paper. I humbly submit that sometimes we need to take a step back, breathe a little, calm down, and reassess what is really happening. Instead of reacting to every situation by rushing in headlong like a runaway bull in an antique shop, sometimes we need to handle situations with kid gloves like an archaeologist handles a rare and precious artifact. If we feel the need to speak out about a situation, we should formulate our words with careful thought, and either in speaking, or in writing those words on paper, we should strive to be tactful in our elocution and delivery of our message to whom it is intended. As the old adage says, “You can attract more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.”

The Wonder OF Words

The dictionary and the thesaurus have now become two of my closest and dearest friends. I am thoroughly enjoying testing my new discovered words in some of the things that I write. I was telling a friend of mine just the other day that words are amazing things. There is so much power contained in words. I mentioned that with the right words you could tell a man that he is an idiot, and because of his lack of understanding of what you just said to him, he may compliment you on your eloquent elocution. By the same token, with the use of the right words you could paint a picture of a dark and dismal swamp as appearing to be a beautiful luscious green pasture. Get the picture?

Sometimes Advice Is Easier to Give Than to Follow

It becomes easy to look at a man and tell him that whatever happened in his past happened, and he should just forget about it and move on, but when the weeds and thorns of our own past begin growing in our backyard, we often find that it is not so easy to get control over them, and that it takes more than just a little weed killer to get rid of them.

It is likened to a man who goes to a restaurant and orders a steak dinner. When the waiter arrives at the table with the meal it smells and looks delicious. As the man begins to eat his meal, he finds that his steak is tough to cut and even harder to chew. Wanting to signal the waiter to ask him to take the steak back and cook him another, his friend who has now joined him for dinner encourages him and convinces him that he should just eat the meal and not cause a big scene over it. “After all,” says the friend, “it looks delicious so it can’t be all that bad.”

The friend also decides to order a steak dinner, and when his meal arrives, and he begins to eat it, he too finds that his steak is tough to cut and even harder to chew just as his friend had experienced. Suddenly the meal that looked delicious and couldn’t be that bad, does not seem as palatable and delectable as he tried to convince his friend it was. Now, the tables are turned, and he is the one who wants to signal the waiter and lodge a complaint.

Why didn’t he just eat his meal as he had encouraged his friend to do without wanting to lodge a complaint? The reason is because it is oftentimes easier to serve a meal of advice to a friend and convince him that it is delectable and easy to digest than it is to partake of that same meal which upon tasting is not as palatable or as easy for us to digest.

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