Blessed… The Gathering of the Chosen

“Now immediately after the suffering of that time the sun will become dark, and the moon won’t give its light. The stars will fall from the sky and the planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken. Then the sign of the Human One will appear in the sky. At that time all the tribes of the earth will be full of sadness, and they will see the Human One coming in the heavenly clouds with power and great splendor. He will send his angels with the sound of a great trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from the four corners of the earth, from one end of the sky to the other (Matthew 24:29-31, Common English Bible).

When I was in the Navy I stood many night time watches up on the ship’s signal bridge. Because we were far from any other light sources, on a clear night you could see stars by the thousands. I never attempted to count their numbers. I remember being on the bridge during a meteor shower and talking about how different the sky would look if all the stars became like these “shooting stars” and they all fell from the sky. I wasn’t familiar with Matthew 24 in those days. I didn’t realize it was a sign of the end times. Neither did my Navy buddies. The discussion never turned theological.

I am far from the best around when it comes to knowing apocalyptic literature even today. I am far from a fan and most of us don’t generally deal with things we don’t enjoy unless something makes us. That something for me right now is this blog. Sure, it is self-imposed. I could probably skip this and few, if any, would say anything. The thing is, I said I would work my way through Matthew. I will honor what I said. So, here goes.

I am not sure if this is something Jesus intended for us to read literally. There are places Jesus does not intend us to read literally. Dr. Ted Campbell, a professor at Perkins School of Theology, SMU reminds us that Jesus came to set the prisoners free but few if any of us will be heading to a prison with the idea of tearing down the walls and literally setting the prisoners free. Jesus didn’t intend us to read this literally.

I do believe we will see Jesus in all his power and splendor. It may be that we see him hear on earth. It also may be that we see Jesus in the Kingdom that is to come.  And, I believe Jesus will gather the chosen, the ones who answer the call to follow. If we have those things, is anything more really necessary?

And, I believe Jesus will gather the chosen, the ones who answer the call to follow. We know the promise God has for us in Christ Jesus. What a great promise for we who believe.

If we and we believe that Jesus will return, and if we know the promise God has for we who believe, is anything more really necessary?

I really do believe we get too caught up in the end times.  Know what God has planned for you. Live for God’s promises. If we can do that, everything will come out just fine.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy 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

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