Of Common Sense – Volume V

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.

You cannot stand in the ticket line at the train station forever trying to decide where your destination will be and which train to take to get there. Sooner or later you have to make a decision and get aboard one train or another. As the old adage says, “Time and tide wait for no man”, and so if you are not careful, you will find yourself standing at the station long after the train that you needed has departed, leaving you to wonder yet again, “Where do I go from here?”

Missionary Work

Missionary work is exactly that – WORK. We cannot expect to help build up the Kingdom by sitting comfortably in our easy chairs of complacency and happily gliding along on the air of status quo. In order to help our Brothers and Sisters in need over there, it requires that we get up and move from here and go there.

When the Lord commissioned His disciples to go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel, it was not a polite request – if you feel like it today, if you can find time in your “busy” schedule, if it does not interfere with your “me” time, as long as you don’t have to travel any great distance to do so, or if you think it is really worth the effort to share the Gospel with certain persons. NO! He was giving them a command to GO and PROCLAIM the Gospel in the hedges and the highways, on mountain tops and in the lowest valleys, to the extremely rich and to the poor and desolate, to those who want to hear the Good News and especially to those who do not want to hear it. It does not matter – we are to GO and DO.

The only way that missionary work will ever get done is by the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ getting busy and DOING the work. The fields are white already to harvest and there is a great work to be done, and that work will not be declared done until the Great Jehovah Himself shall say, “The Work Is Done!”

As we journey through this land we leave upon the sands of time the footprints of our lives which our descendants will retrace in their efforts to piece together the life story which we wrote and left for our posterity. As they follow our footsteps that lead them to paths unknown, what will they discover about the legacy that we left behind? Will they find a heritage rich with wonderment and amazement as a result of a life that was lived to its fullest measure by one whose glass was always found to be half full regardless of the circumstances that he faced, or will they find a heritage that is void as the result of one whose glass was always found to be half empty, and who as a consequence gave in to the adversities of life, never trying to better things for himself, or caring to leave any landmarks behind?

Now Is the Time – The Hour Has Come

For far too long so many of us have traveled down the rough and dusty highways of life with our heads hanging down, and our hearts heavy with the doubts and fears of there being any hope in the world.

For far too long some of us have listened intently to the voices of all the naysayers and ne’er-do-wells of the world who have not only tried, but in many cases have succeeded in thoroughly convincing us that we are just a bunch of worthless nobodies, going nowhere. They have convinced some of us that what might have once been are the way that things will always be. And so, feeling all alone, rejected, depressed, and defeated some of us have chosen to live a life of seclusion and to slowly drown in a sea of deafening silence.

The hour has now come when we must arise from the ashes of life, lift up our heads, and raise our voices to let the bearers of negativism know that they are nothing more than perpetual liars. Now is the hour to serve them notice that although they may think or believe that they represent the majority voice, they are indeed the minority whisper. Now is the hour to let them know that what might have once been, no longer has to be, nor will it be.

We need to pull ourselves up by the proverbial bootstraps and with clarion voices lift the rafters as we proclaim in jubilation, “Henceforth and no further!” Now is the time to rise up and send a very distinct, succinct, and clear message to those who would otherwise try to keep us down and kick us around that we are not just a bunch of nobodies, going nowhere – we are children of Almighty God, and therefore we are somebodies going somewhere.

We are not in this world to live in servitude to any man, or to bow down to any man as if he were our king. It is high time, and indeed the hour has come, when we need to lift our voices together, like the three Hebrew children that were thrown into the fiery furnace, and unashamedly and unequivocally declare that we have but one True Master – one True Lord – one True King – and it is He and He alone whom we will bow down to and worship and none other.

The color of a man’s skin has never, does not now, nor will it ever, make the man. No man is better than or superior to another because of the color of his skin. And so, no man should ever have to feel that he has to live his life in bondage and servitude to another. We are all children of Almighty God uniquely and wonderfully made in His image. We are all special and beautiful in His sight and in our own way. God has meted to each of us, regardless of the color of our skin, a certain measure of faith, talent, and abilities. We cannot continue to discredit a race of people for the accomplishments that they have been able to achieve, but rather we need to rally behind them as brothers and sisters, and help to strengthen and encourage them to press on to higher aspirations. No man is a lone island in the middle of a vast oasis, but the reality is that we are all intrinsically connected in that there are some things that I can help you with and teach you if you would allow me, and there are things that you can help me with and teach me if I would allow you. I am not necessarily more intelligent than you, nor are you necessarily more intelligent than me. We are simply different and view the world from different perspectives. Instead of always arguing and disputing over the things that seemingly make us different, we need to tear down those walls of division and begin to build bridges of unity based on our commonalities. If we are to remain warm from the coldness of the world, we must come together and reason together, realizing that we can all share the same blanket of love.

The Measure of True Love

True love knows no limits or boundaries. It is not governed or ruled by the dictates and potentates of men, rather its governance is according to the affairs of the heart. The roadblocks that are seemingly placed in its path to detour it from reaching its full fruition are not viewed as brick walls, but its genius is able to turn those obstacles into stepping-stones.

True love is not as a ship that passes silently in the night trying to reach its destination, for it has already reached its destination and is safely anchored in the harbor. No matter how strong the winds of adversity may blow, or how hard the waves of trials and temptations may crash against its hull, it does not pull up its anchor and immediately rush back to sea seeking refuge from the storms, but it does whatever it takes to ensure that its anchor holds and that the ship’s infrastructure is built up strong enough to weather any storm.

True love is not something that dissipates with the fleeting moments of time, rather it is a rock of permanence that endures the test of time.

How will we be remembered?

It never ceases to amaze me that in this life a person can do 10,000 great and wonderful things for the betterment of the world and humanity, but being mortal and therefore flawless, is found to be guilty of a few misdeeds in his life, and it is those misdeeds that some people will continue to remember and dwell on, long after the person has departed this earthly life. Anytime that people try to remember the person for the good human being that they were, there are those who are quick to rush in and discredit the person under discussion and unearth “facts” that they claim “prove” that the person was not someone worthy of being remembered as a decent human being, but someone whose name should be forgotten and never mentioned again.

Even more interesting is that it seems that only certain classes of people tend to end up as being remembered by some for the bad things that they did while they were among the living, while all the good they did in the world become the things that are buried like hidden treasures never to be found again because even the map that could be used to locate those treasures is buried with the treasures. But yet, there are those who have lived in this world and literally turned it upside down through all of their shenanigans and foolishness. And because they managed to leave this world performing one great deed, they are long remembered as “unsung heroes”, and when their past is brought to light, that light is quickly turned off, the light bulb removed, and all electrical sources to the light permanently removed.

Why can we not remember that we are all imperfect mortals and throughout our lives we are all going to be found guilty of some misdeeds in our lives? Why can we not take a moment and step back and wonder how the world will remember us once we have departed? Throughout this life, every name will be had for good or bad, but may we all be remembered, regardless of our lot in life, for the good that we did as we journeyed through this land, and may those misdeeds that we had committed be forgiven and forgotten.

Have you ever noticed that those who always claim that they don’t have anything to say are the very ones that always seem to have the most to say? Have you ever noticed that those who claim that they don’t want to talk about a matter are always the first ones to keep bringing the matter up? Have you ever noticed that those who say that they don’t care are always the ones walking around offended and their feelings hurt? If they claim that a matter does not matter one way or the other to them, then why are they always talking about the matter or harboring anger and hurt feelings regarding the matter?

I have found that one of the hardest things in life for most of us to do is to forgive – not others, but ourselves for the wrongs and misdeeds that we may have committed. The Lord forgives us, and others forgive us, but so often we remain locked inside a proverbial prison with the key to open the prison door at our ready use. Because we refuse to use the key, we remain prisoners with the only charge against us being that we refuse to forgive ourselves. It is when we finally decide to use the key and open the prison door that we truly become free.

There may be some people in this world who may think that they are perfect, but the truth of the matter is that none of us are perfect. As mortals clothed in earthly bodies of flesh we are all imperfect beings in need of a Perfect Savior. Without the Lord Jesus Christ, becoming perfect, or being perfect is impossible. There is nothing that we can do of our own merit to be considered as being perfect. However, because of the Savior’s great love for each of us, and all he has done for us through His atoning sacrifice, we can become perfected in Him. It all begins and ends with Him. Without Him we can do absolutely nothing.

What is your conundrum?

I am beginning to realize and understand more and more each day that there are some people in the world who are not totally against what you stand for, believe, or the ideas that you are endeavoring to convey, but at the same time they are not necessarily in agreement with you either. Their conundrum is that sometimes they find themselves having to make a decision as to whether to get on board with the ideas that you have presented, continue searching for an alternative plan which may not be readily available, and if such a plan is available, it may lack in its ability to achieve the same necessary objectives, or to forgo any further thoughts on the matter.

I liken this to a person who is in a small secluded town where the fastest means of transportation to get to the next little town which is some distance away is by train. The person wants to attend a big event that is taking place in the next town. If he rides the train he will be able to get to the event earlier and spend more time doing some of the things that he had hoped to do while there. However, he may not be in favor of having to travel by train to get to his destination. But, at the same time he really has nothing against trains as a means of transportation. His conundrum is that he has to decide whether he is going to get aboard the train that can certainly get him to his destination in the shortest amount of time, look for an alternate means of transportation to get him to his destination with the foreknowledge that he will not be able to spend as much time at the event as he had hoped, or simply forgo the trip.

Being of Service to Others

There are some people who simply go through the motions when it comes to serving others. It is apparent in some cases that their heart is not in the service that they render. Oftentimes they do things to appease the one who is in need of the service, or to gain some type of vain glory and recognition from their peers.

If we do not have a genuine love for our brothers and sisters, and have a true desire and intent to be of humble service to them in their time of need, but instead we merely do things to appease someone, or to gain recognition from or the favor of men, then the only rewards that we will ever receive for our labors are earthly rewards.

We do not obtain the blessings of Heaven and eternal rewards through selfish acts. The windows of Heaven are opened; however, and eternal blessings are showered upon us, when our minds are stayed, our focus is clear, our hearts are fixed, and our desires and intents to be of humble service are genuine, selfless, and pure.

The Company That We Keep

Very often you can tell a lot about a person by the company that they keep and the crowd that they choose to be a part of.

If a person desires to keep company with people who are amoral, egotistical, critical, and dilettante, in time those traits will become a part of his own character. If a person chooses to constantly run the streets with the wild dogs of the neighborhood, though he may start out as just a little noisy feisty dog, in time he may find himself becoming one of the big bulldogs, and even people who once respected him will turn and run away from him.

If a person desires to keep company with people who have high moral fortitude, are not critical, but are astute and benevolent, in time, even if those are not some of the character traits he may currently possess, he will begin to acquire those traits and make them an integral part of who he is. If a person chooses to soar with the eagles, he will be more prone to have higher standards for the goals and objectives that he sets for his life, and he will not be stymied by every little wind of adversity, but will fly into the wind and soar to new heights enabling his dreams and aspirations to become realities.

The Measure of A Christian

Being a member of a particular religious faith and/or denomination does not make a person a Christian any more than a person being educated in a religious institution of learning and receiving a degree in theology makes him a Christian. There are many good, kind hearted, faithful, loving people who are members of various faiths and denominations, but that does not signify that they are all “Christians.”

Just because a man stands at the pulpit on Sunday morning and pounds the pulpit and raises his voice under the declaration of “preaching” the Gospel, it does not imply that he is a Christian either. Sadly, in our world today there are a lot of things happening under the guise of “Christianity” that are not “Christian” to include some of the many “churches” that are being erected. There appears to be quite a bit of lip service about what people claim to believe, but not much heartfelt service to put those beliefs into action.

Being a Christian, or taking on the name of Christian, implies that a person has a personal relationship with the Savior – the Lord Jesus Christ, and is willing to be His disciple and obey His commands and His will for his life. Just knowing the name of God and Jesus Christ is not enough. Satan knows who God and Jesus Christ are and he trembles at the sound of their name. Being a “Christian” implies that a person KNOWS Jesus Christ. He KNOWS that Jesus Christ lives because He lives in his heart.

Intelligence does not have a price tag; therefore it cannot be sold or purchased in any store. There are no institutions of conventional or higher learning that can impart to a man, or instill within a man, any measure of discernible intelligence because intelligence is not to be found in a textbook, or received via a dissertation given by a professor in a lecture hall, or a lesson taught by a teacher in a conventional classroom. Intelligence is wrought through hard work, trials, failures, faith, sweat, and perseverance. He who has learned his lessons well in the classroom is not necessarily the intelligent one, but he who is able to take those things which he has learned in the classroom ad life itself, and is able to put those things to practical use for the betterment of his own life, as well as, those around him.

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

I am not as naive or foolish as to think that I am knowledgeable of all things. There are so many things in this life which I wish I knew and understood, but alas I find myself ignorant of those things. The truth of the matter is, if the Lord allows me to see yet another day, I will still be ignorant of certain things.

Being ignorant of certain things in and of itself is not a totally bad thing. However, we begin to tread on dangerous ground when we choose to wallow and bask in our ignorance. Choosing to be ignorant just for the sake of being ignorant is a futile and nonsensical thing. Those of us who have been blessed with the ability and capacity to learn should strive to learn and understand new things in an effort to eliminate some of our ignorance.

Many people are deprived of knowledge and live in ignorance, not because the knowledge is not obtainable, but because they have no desire or make any effort to obtain that knowledge which could bring about enlightenment in their lives. It is likened to the man who has electricity in his home, but yet he sits in a dark room when all he has to do is get up and turn the light switch on and allow the light to illuminate the room.

R E S P E C T

Respect is a process of reciprocity. It is never demanded of anyone; it is always earned. Men will follow a great leader into battle, not necessarily because they respect him, but they do so out of a sense of duty. Any respect that the leader merits is obtained through the trust and confidence that his men have in him, and is also reflective of the respect that he has for his men.

We cannot expect others to show us, or to give us the respect that we think we deserve if we constantly disrespect them at every turn. The only one way streets called “Respect” are those that only exist in the minds of self-centered, egotistical people. True respect is found on two way streets where the traffic of love, understanding, and mutual respect flows in each direction.

The bottom line is this: if we want to be respected, we must learn to show respect for, and give the respect that is due to others. We get in return whatever we give out. If we do not give respect to others, we should not expect any respect in return.

In Need Of a Physician

If I am in perfect health, I do not need to rush to a doctor’s office and have him take valuable time examining me for an ailment that doesn’t exist, or have him write me a prescription for medication that I don’t need. If I am not sick, I don’t need to rush to the emergency room and ask to be admitted to a room and take up a bed that is much needed by someone who really is sick. Yes, doctors and hospitals are there to help anyone and everyone in time of need, but specifically they are there to treat those who are in need of a physician at this very moment.

Let’s apply that same analogy to the Church. Certainly anyone is welcome to attend worship services at Church at any given time. However, we need to keep in mind that the Church is neither a social club, nor is it a museum for putting Saints on display. We do not go to Church to demonstrate how holy and how righteous we are or think we are, but we go to Church as an outward expression of our humility and our willingness to be obedient to His laws and His commandments, and His will for our lives.

The scriptures clearly teach us that they who are whole do not need a physician, but they who are sick. Therefore, the Church is a hospital for the hurting, the wounded, and the broken – those who are in need of spiritual healing. So, in reality the Church is indeed for everyone because we are all imperfect sinners in need of a Perfect Savior who can make us clean and whole again, for He is the Master Physician.

Will You Come Aboard?

At the beginning of 2012 I boarded a train called determination that is bound for a station called success. The train is already roaring down the tracks at full steam ahead.

I would love to have others come aboard and join me for the journey; however, they need to realize that this train has a definitive schedule to keep and the conductor will not wait too long at any one station for anyone to decide if they want to get on board. Also, those who do decide to board this train need to already have their minds set that they are going to remain on board until the train reaches the final station, and not want to get off at the first little town called indecisiveness hoping that maybe the train will pass through again, and they will have another chance to ride.

No one will be begged, coerced, or made to feel obligated to ride this train that I am on. The only thing that I ask is that if you have no desire to get aboard, then please clear the tracks and step aside and allow this train to come on through and be on its way. In short, if you cannot support me on this journey that I am on, then please stay out of the way and don’t become a hindrance either. Thank you and God bless you.


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