Trapped by Words

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1Samuel 19-21; Luke 11:29-54


47 “How terrible for you! You built memorials to the prophets, whom your ancestors killed. 48 In this way, you testify that you approve of your ancestors’ deeds. They killed the prophets, and you build memorials! 49 Therefore, God’s wisdom has said, ‘I will send prophets and apostles to them and they will harass and kill some of them.’ 50 As a result, this generation will be charged with the murder of all the prophets since the beginning of time. 51 This includes the murder of every prophet—from Abel to Zechariah—who was killed between the altar and the holy place. Yes, I’m telling you, this generation will be charged with it.

52 “How terrible for you legal experts! You snatched away the key of knowledge. You didn’t enter yourselves, and you stood in the way of those who were entering.”

53 As he left there, the legal experts and Pharisees began to resent him deeply and to ask him pointed questions about many things. 54 They plotted against him, trying to trap him in his words. (Luke 11:47-54, Common English Bible)

When I was a kid, probably fifth or sixth grade, I was being a stereotypical guy and harassing this girl I knew. I don’t remember her name so we will call her Jane. She had a small clutch bag. I don’t know that it was actually a purse but it could have been. I grabbed Jane’s bag and a friend of mine and I started playing keep-away with it. At one point, I took off running and hid the bag. Then I went home. Jane, apparently, because even though she lived further away, got home before I did. My dad was waiting….

Dad asked me about Jane’s bag. I knew better than to outright lie. I had paid the price for that a couple of times. So, being the smart guy I thought I was, I would employ some misdirection. “Dad, I don’t have her bag.” Then he asks, “Did you have it?” Here I showed that I wasn’t quite as smart as I thought I was. It never dawned on me that my dad was already on to me and was trying to trap me in my words. He didn’t even have to try very hard. “Well yes, sir,” I said. “We were teasing her and playing keep-away with it. I had it then.” I don’t remember now how he trapped me in my words but suffice it to say, he did. When he did I tried to tell my dad I didn’t lie to him. He then, in less than a calm tone of voice explained to me that because I wasn’t being honest, I might as well have been lying. It wasn’t long after that when the rather extensive punishment began with me having to retrieve Jane’s bag and walking it to her house and returning it and we will just leave it there. It was the best part of my afternoon and evening.

When the Pharisees tried to do to Jesus what my dad did to me, unlike my dad, the Pharisees never did trap Jesus in his words. Jesus then and he continued on, calling them and the things they did into question. Jesus was pretty successful with the tactic. For their part the Pharisees continued to try to trap Jesus in something he said. A good example of this is when the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking him if it was lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not. If he says yes, he losses credibility with the Jews who believed to even have the coin used for the tax was to be in possession of a graven image. Yet if he said no, he could be declared a subversive enemy of the state (for more on the trap and Jesus’ resolution see my post from last July “Blessed…The Ah-Ha Moment“). Jesus comes out unscathed but it does show how the Pharisees kept trying to trap Jesus.

They plotted. They tried to set a trap. Jesus never fell in. Oh, if only that were us. In truth, we do fall into traps. Often, we never see them coming. But, there is also grace. Though we don’t deserve it, God will pick us up, dust us off, and get us moving down the road again.

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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