His Name is John!

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Joshua 13-15; Luke 1:57-80


57 When the time came for Elizabeth to have her child, she gave birth to a boy. 58 Her neighbors and relatives celebrated with her because they had heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy. 59 On the eighth day, it came time to circumcise the child. They wanted to name him Zechariah because that was his father’s name. 60 But his mother replied, “No, his name will be John.”

61 They said to her, “None of your relatives have that name.” 62 Then they began gesturing to his father to see what he wanted to call him.

63 After asking for a tablet, he surprised everyone by writing, “His name is John.” 64 At that moment, Zechariah was able to speak again, and he began praising God (Luke 1″:57-64, Common English Bible).

I am a Broyles. I am the son of Johnnie and Janice Broyles. I can make contact online with agencies like Ancestry.com and buy their DNA test kit. I can sit around the house with their test tube, filling it with my spit, as I sit and watch TV. Then, in a few short weeks, they can tell me what my nationality might be. Regardless of what comes back in that report, it will probably give me more than I could imagine regarding where my roots might be. That being said, I will still have the DNA of the Broyles clan. I can go to court and legally change my name to Oquinn (Cindy’s maiden name) or Slobberknocker. I won’t have the DNA of an Oquinn or a Slobberknocker because I still have the DNA of a Broyles. I could be adopted by Bobby and Marylou, and I would still be a Broyles, (at least by blood). No matter what, I will always be a Broyles. Being a Broyles is in my DNA.

In ancient times, it was a common practice to use the father’s name (not unheard of today) or some other name in the family for the baby rather than a name that comes from thin air. All the last names with the word “son” attached to them are names coming from that tradition, for example,  “Johnson,” son of John. Another is, “Erikson,” son of Erik. To give you one more example,  Davidson,” son of David

In our lesson, God speaks to Zechariah. Over the years I have come to know when God speaks we need to listen. And, God did speak and Zechariah did listen. When Elizabeth gives birth, everyone wants to know what name will be given the child. When Elizabeth tells them, John, all the folks around are shocked. They seem to try to talk her out of the name and when she doesn’t respond as they believe she should they go to the now mute Zechariah. Surely he will have some sense in this matter. He simply writes down, “His name is John.”

Regardless of the name given John the Baptist, he would still be the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. With his divine name, his DNA wouldn’t change.

There is a piece of DNA we share with John the Baptist. We are all children of God. Science may not have found a “God marker” (my idea). Still, I believe there is one. Beyond being the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, John the Baptist was also the son of God.

Like John the Baptist, I am a child of God. My DNA may show I am the son of Johnnie and Janice Broyles, it may show I am a Broyles, but I am also a son of God and as such, God is in my DNA.

You too are the child of your birth parents but you are also a child of God. I may not know that from a DNA test, but I do know it in my heart.

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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