Can’t Go Against God

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Numbers 23-25; Mark 7:14-37


10 Balak was angry with Balaam. He pounded his fists. Balak said to Balaam, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but now you’ve given a blessing these three times. 11 Now get out of here and go home. I told you I’d greatly honor you, but the Lord has denied you any honor.”

12 Balaam said to Balak, “Didn’t I tell your messengers, whom you sent to me, 13 ‘If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I wouldn’t be able to break the Lord’s command for good or ill by my own will. I’ll say whatever the Lord says’? 14 So now I’m going to my people. Let me advise you what this people will do to your people in the days to come” (Numbers 24:10-14, Common English Bible).

I told you yesterday the story of Balaam and his donkey was one of my favorite stories in Scripture. I find it really funny. And, also telling. We too often abuse those who are trying to help us most.

In today’s blog lesson things are pretty serious for old Balaam. Balak had been working hard to get Balaam to Moab. The King of Moab, Balak, wanted Balaam to place a curse on the Israelites who were advancing on Moab, the king feared that Israel would move in and overwhelm the Moabite army. Balak takes Balaam three different times to have him place a curse on Israel. Each time, Balaam warns Balak that he can only do that which God commands him. Balak keeps asking for a curse and Balaam ends up sending them a blessing. Of course, that is not at all what Balak wanted. He wanted help to push the Israelites back.

For his part, from the very beginning, Balaam has said it has to be God’s way. It is difficult to understand why Balak would become angry. What he was asking for, after all, was to go against the will of God. When Balaam couldn’t deliver the goods a different way.

Yes, especially after the third time Balaam has attended to get cursing action from Peter. That wasn’t what Balak had in mind. But, then again, Balak was not the guy at the wheel, God was.

For his part, Balak worked hard in an effort to defeat the Israelites. Just days before our last school shooting, more people bought guns. The public outcry for a common sense approach until it can be acted upon by Congress

God is here and God is love. God provides for us and there is nothing about more we should expect.

When we think of the Sacraments we say we feast on the body and blood of Christ, helping us to better navigate the world around us. It is Jesus’ presence with us that helps us to maintain.

When we come to the table we come to receive something that was so precious to God. It is God’s giving, even to people like you and me.

We also say that God is the primary actor in Baptism. Whether a baby or a full-grown adult with the ability to orchestrate all these things. We may stand in the water, I may read aloud the words. God does the baptism.

God is here. God is leading us. God is at work. God is in charge. Anything else will always fall short.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, 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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