If… Then… Else…

For some reason, this didn’t auto-post today!!!

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1 Kings 6-7; Luke 20:27-47

 

11 The Lord’s word came to Solomon, 12 Regarding this temple that you are building: If you follow my laws, enact my regulations, and keep all my commands faithfully, then I will fulfill for you my promise that I made to your father David. 13 I will live among the Israelites. I won’t abandon my people Israel. (1 Kings 6:11-13, Common English Bible)

Prior to ministry, I made my living as a programmer/analyst with the FDIC. The IF-THEN-ELSE statement was an essential part of my daily work. Essentially it was IF this condition exists THEN do this ELSE (do this). It might look like this:

10 IF counter = 10
20 THEN GOTO 50
30 ELSE counter=counter + 1 .
40 GOTO 10
50 END

This little piece of BASIC computer code (though this is simple BASIC does not mean simple. It is acronym standing for Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) for a counter loop. The computer looks at a variable, in this case, “counter” does the variable equal 10? If it does then it is to go to line 50 and end the program. If not, the computer is to add 1 to the variable and return to line 10 and look at the variable and follow the path again. It is basic (not the programming language) boolean logic.

I think it might be better to call it basic divine logic. After all, God told Solomon IF you follow my commands THEN I won’t abandon Israel ELSE (implied) I will, many centuries before George Boole laid down the foundations of the logic bearing his name.

God’s statement to Solomon, simple logic though it may be, had far greater consequences, consequences with effects lasting for years that impacted the real lives of a real nation. God gave them a simple pathway to follow. If this THEN that ELSE you are just in trouble.

God was just saying to Solomon what God had said before and would say again to the kings that would follow Solomon. Be faithful to me then I will remain faithful to you else I will leave you on your own and you will be in trouble. It is a simple statement that the Israelites just couldn’t find it within themselves to follow.

We are often hard on the Israelites for not learning from their own history of being obedient and having God’s blessings followed by being disobedient and having God’s consequences. You would think they would have learned. What we see, however, is the nation repeating the same foolish behavior again and again.

But before we are too hard on the Israelites, we really need to take a look in the mirror. We aren’t much better. God tells us to be faithful and we still fall short. All too often, we think, “I’ve got Jesus. That’s all that matters. If I go too far, I confess and ask forgiveness, then God will forgive me and life goes on.” The flaw in that logic is, just because there is forgiveness does not mean the consequences of our choices go away. If you choose to run a red light while driving and say as we enter the intersection, “Lord forgive me.” God will forgive. But, the eighteen-wheeler bearing down on you probably will occupy the same space as you in pretty short order. We have forgiveness, we also have consequences.

The key is more than forgiveness, it is obedience.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" 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. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have 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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