Blessed… Fill ‘er Up

“When an unclean spirit leaves a person, it wanders through dry places looking for a place to rest. But it doesn’t find any.  Then it says, ‘I’ll go back to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the place vacant, cleaned up, and decorated. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself. They go in and make their home there. That person is worse off at the end than at the beginning. This is the way it will be also for this evil generation” (Matthew 12:43-45, Common English Bible).

That there is evil in the world should be beyond question. Watching the evening news on any given night gives a pretty clear indication of the reality of evil in the world. Terrorists often seem to have the upper hand. ISIS chopping off people’s heads because they affirm belief in a different understanding of God than the Islamic State. We have governments who think nothing of turning illegal (by international law) chemical weapons on their own people. Not to mention those who are willing to go to war rather than to sit down and talk about each nations interests and differences like rational thinking human beings.

Beyond the world scale, even here in our own country, in our own neighborhoods, we have pedophiles molesting children, drug dealers pushing their wares, people who think nothing of taking someone else’s property or even someone else’s life. We also have people who don’t necessarily seem evil but they are so self-consumed, their own interests always take precedent over the interests and needs of others. The symptoms could go on and on. But, I think you get the point.

When I read the lesson for today the thought occurred to me, we are the house Matthew talks about. Because of original sin, we are filled with sin. We may think we are a “good person,” but within every good person there is the possibility and perhaps even the presence of evil.

As we develop our relationship with God, that evil can be pushed from our lives. But, if that is as far as we carry it, I think Matthew is saying there is a void that is left behind. We are empty. And, what is empty will be filled. We have a choice to make. Will we allow the void to be filled with the things of God? Or, will we open ourselves to evil, perhaps, some may even say probably, more pervasive evil than we faced before.

As I did a little study on this particular text, several commentators, not all but some, talked about the ties between the prevalent thought of evil spirits in the Biblical era against the more modern ideas of mental illness. And, when a person relapses with mental illness it can often be much worse than the original situation.

There should be no doubt, these ideas do have some support in the text. Still, at least for me, that makes this text applicable to a select few, the mentally ill, while evil can rest within any of us and is part of the reality of the world for all God’s children.

We all can feel empty. What will you us to fill you once again? It’s time to “fill ‘er up.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

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

One thought on “Blessed… Fill ‘er Up

  1. When the unclean spirit leaves a man seeking dry places and finding none, he returns bringing seven demons more wicked than himself and they enter into the man finding him swept and garnished in a reprobate mind. These are normal looking people we see every day. Church people. City councilmen. Mayors. Governors. Business CEOs. Outwardly normal everyday people. Adulterers. Fornicators. Murderers. Blasphemers. Sodomites. False witnesses. Deceivers. Sorcerers. Atheists.

    Now there are many antichrists.

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