Blessed… Beloved

At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River so that John would baptize him. John tried to stop him and said, “I need to be baptized by you, yet you come to me?” Jesus answered, “Allow me to be baptized now. This is necessary to fulfill all righteousness.” So John agreed to baptize Jesus. When Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up out of the water. Heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on him. A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love; I find happiness in him.” (Matthew 3:13-17, Common English Bible)

Those scratched on words in the picture above and left are how so many of us feel during life. I can’t begin to tell you how many people have sat in my office over the past 25 plus years sharing their feelings with me and I heard some of the very words above in those conversations. It is truly heartbreaking.

I have heard stories that included physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I have heard stories of spouses leaving, not because there was anything wrong with the other spouse, but because they believed they found someone better. I’ve heard about the other spouse abusing the kids. There have been people who were wrongfully terminated from their jobs. I’ve heard tales of abuse from the kids. I have listened as people told me of having done some “wrong, bad things” and because of that, they were unlovable. All of these people shared something in common. They all believed they were at fault because of what happened to them. They also all believed because of what they had done or thought they had done, there was no way that God could possibly love them. Plain and simply put, they are wrong.

Imagine being at the Jordan River on that day some 2000 years ago when Jesus came to John the Baptist wanting to be baptized. John was there baptizing those who repented of their sin. Then along comes Jesus, someone John knew to be the Messiah, someone John knew had committed no sin, wanting to be baptized. John also knew his place as a sinner in the world. That is why John says to Jesus, “I need to be baptized by you, yet you come to me?”

John recognized something he had in common with those people, as well as many others I have talked with, he wasn’t worthy of what he was being asked to do. And yet, it was Jesus who was asking him to do this. Jesus was saying, in essence, “Hey, give me this one, baptize me today.” John realized that by His words, Jesus was making John worthy of the requested action.

When the baptism was done, Jesus heard God speak saying, “This is my Son, whom I dearly love; I find happiness in him.”

As we will see down the road, eventually Jesus will die on a cross. He died so we might have life. He died to make us worthy. God loves each of us so much, that God would die for each of us.

All those folks, whether they were right in the situation or not, whether they were the perpetrator or the victim, in themselves, because they are all sinners, just as we all are sinners, are in themselves unworthy of the love God has for them. But, at least for we who believe, Jesus makes us worthy. We are a beloved child of God.

I may not be right about this, but I like to think I am, when we accept God’s love for us, I think all of heaven hears, “This is my child whom I dearly love. With this child, I am well pleased.”

What have you done that makes you believe you are unworthy? Guess what, Jesus died for you too. Because of that death, you, a beloved child of God are made worthy.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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