What Am I Grateful for Today…The Saints

26 In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. 27 The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will.28 We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 We know this because God knew them in advance, and he decided in advance that they would be conformed to the image of his Son. That way his Son would be the first of many brothers and sisters. 30 Those who God decided in advance would be conformed to his Son, he also called. Those whom he called, he also made righteous. Those whom he made righteous, he also glorified (Romans 8:26-30, Common English Bible).

Yesterday was (the day I actually wrote this post) All Saints Day and I am grateful for the saints of my life. When we think of the word “saint,” the first thought coming to most of our minds are the great Saints of the Church, Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint John, Saint Adrew, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, St. John Paul II to name only a few.

The second way we tend to think of the word “saint” applies to people who are no longer with us. It is the way we most often celebrate “All Saints Day.” These are folks the Church may not have canonized. That being said, the Bible makes it clear that those who live in the faith are saints. Paul says, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus…” (Ephesians 1:1, NRSV, emphasis mine). It is a reasonable assumption to move from Paul’s understanding to a conclusion that would state, that those who were saints in earthly life would remain saints in the heavenly realm. I generally think of people like Martin Luther, John Wesley, and Francis Asbury. This list would be even longer than the list of canonized Saints of the Church.

The third way we should think of saints would be one I just alluded to, real, life living folks in the Church (and not necessarily the New Orleans Saints). This would include folks like Billy Graham and Beth Moore. But, it also includes average everyday folks like you and me. Those who love God, follow Jesus and are in fellowship with the Holy Spirit are Saints.

As I watch game seven of the World Series I can’t help but wonder how many on each team would Paul consider “saints.” I would love to think it was all of them but I am not naive. I doubt it would be anywhere near all.

I also have thought of a lot of my relatives who are in the Communion of the Saints today. My father-in-law, Mearl passed away a couple of years ago. He was the first person I knew that every time I was in his home (when Cindy and I were dating) always prayed before a meal. My Dad died a little over a year ago. He didn’t understand the nature of calling when I entered the ministry. He asked me if I had lost my mind. Later he told me he was proud of me for standing by my calling and he knew I had made the right decision. Just about a month ago we buried my mother-in-law. In the funeral sermon for her, I referred to her as “Wonder Woman.” There was no physical resemblance with the super-hero of comic book, television and movie fame. But, she had the ability to work wonders in difficult situations.

There are so many in each of these categories of saints for whom I am thankful, especially people like my grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, and uncles. Some I remember, some I never knew. Still, I am grateful.

This is what I am grateful for today. How about you. What are you grateful for today? Write it down (or type it) in your journal and then share it with someone today.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
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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