You Lie, You Die

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Samuel 1-2; Luke 14:1-24

Compulsive Liar

“How do you know,” David asked the young man who brought the news, “that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”

The young man who brought the news replied, “I just happened to be on Mount Gilboa and Saul was there, leaning on his spear, with chariots and horsemen closing in on him. He turned around and saw me, then he called to me. ‘Yes, sir,’ I answered. ‘Who are you?’ he asked, and I told him, ‘I’m an Amalekite.’ He said to me, ‘Please come over here and kill me, because convulsions have come over me but I’m still alive.’[a] 10 So I went over to him and killed him, because I knew he couldn’t survive after being wounded like that. I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and I’ve brought them here to you, my master.”

11 Then David grabbed his clothes and ripped them—and all his soldiers did the same. 12 They mourned and cried and fasted until evening for Saul, his son Jonathan, the Lord’s army, and the whole house of Israel, because they had died by the sword.

13 “Where are you from?” David asked the young man who brought him the news.

“I’m the son of an immigrant,” he answered. “An Amalekite.”

14 Then David said to him, “How is it that you weren’t afraid to raise your hand and destroy the Lord’s anointed?” 15 Then David called for one of the young servants. “Come here!” he said. “Strike him down!” So the servant struck the Amalekite down, and he died.

16 “Your blood is on your own head,” David said to the Amalekite, “because your own mouth testified against you when you admitted, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed.’” (2 Samuel 1:5-16, Common English Bible)

The television character House, on the television show by the same name said, “Everybody lies and Everybody pays a price.”  It is essentially a true statement. But, in my limited knowledge of House, he seems pretty cynical to me. First of all, I am not convinced that everybody lies. That being said, I am convinced that everybody who does lie pays a price for it.

In today’s lesson from 2 Samuel we see David, for the first time, as King of Israel. No, he has yet to be crowned but, the people will quickly make it clear that David is King. The people of Israel could make the age old chant, “Long live the King!”

David becomig king was not the problem in this story. The problem is a young man who wants to build himself up in the eyes of the king so he tells a lie, not knowing he would die for the effort. David, unknowingly kills the young man because he believes, by what the young man said, the young man himself, killed King Saul, the Lord’s annointed.

Much of the scriptures that end 1 Samuel feature David hiding from Saul. But, though Saul trys to kill David, David never really raises a hand in anger at Saul. Why? Saul was the Lord’s annointed, and that annointing was something David believed he should respect.

One more thought occured to me as I was writing. The young man disrespects Saul, Jonathan (who he also found dead), David, and the actual crown of Israel, the office of the king.

The young man learned an eternal lesson. You lie, you die. In reality our in our society you don’t really have to worry about losing your head as it were just because you lie. But, the lie can ruin a profession, and it can ruin relationships. When we lose our profession and our relationships, we may be physically alive, but we lose our life as we know it.

I pray for all of us that our nose won’t start growing and we learn the tough lesson, the truth, as the old saying goes, will set you free.

Have a great day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

The Race: On Your Mark

Trying something new this week. Instead of the manuscript version of Sunday’s sermon, here is the video of Sunday’s service. Let me know what you think in the comments.

12 So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:1-2, Common English Bible)

18 As Jesus walked alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, because they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” 20 Right away, they left their nets and followed him. 21 Continuing on, he saw another set of brothers, James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father repairing their nets. Jesus called them and 22 immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-22, Common English Bible).

The video below is the full worship service. If you desire to see only the scripture and sermon you can forward to 23:35.

Leave No Man Behind

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1Samuel 30-31; Luke 13:23-35

LeaveNoManBehind

When the Israelites across the valley and across the Jordan learned that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. So the Philistines came and occupied the towns.

The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons lying dead on Mount Gilboa. They cut off Saul’s head and stripped off his armor, and then sent word throughout Philistine territory, carrying the good news to their gods’ temples and to their people. 10 They put Saul’s armor in the temple of Astarte, and hung his body on the wall of Beth-shan.

11 But when all the people of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 the bravest of their men set out, traveled all night long, and took the bodies of Saul and his sons off the wall of Beth-shan. Then they went back to Jabesh, where they burned them. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days (1 Samuel 31:7-13, Common English Bible).

In truth, I have no idea if the Israelites of Saul and David’s era knew concept of “No Man Left Behind). Many of us (I was one until I started researching from this post) believed wrongly that the saying had its origins in the various branches of the US military which in one form or another has held it as part of the policy (a part that, historically we haven’t done all that well in keeping over the years). Still the intentions are good. I first heard the saying while in Navy bootcamp. It wasn’t said for the Navy as a whole. I think everyone on a ship understood that if a ship goes down there is a pretty good chance we are going to leave some sailors behind no matter how valient the efforts to save them might be. I heard it said  tied to the Navy Seals. Years later, when my oldest son Wayne enlisted in the Marine Corps, I heard it again. It is a big deal for anyone in the militray but it is a huge deal for a Marine. It is also part of the Army and Air Forces’ creed that they will not leave a soldier or airman (respectively) behind. It is also in the DNA of Army Rangers.

In truth the saying probably has its roots a couple of thousand years ago, but could also have been aroun about as long as war has been around. We do know the Romans had a saying, “nemo resideo” or “Leave no one behind.”

What we do know is, when the Israelites heard the dispicable things the Philistines did to their king and his sons, they were not going to leave these men behind. The official mission could easily have been made because of the king and his sons. Still, knowing folks, remembering folks like my great-grandfather who served in World War I, my Uncle Jim who served in World War II, my dad who was in the Navy during the Korean conflict, numberous friends who were in the military during Vietnam and others who have spent more time in the Middle East than they care to recall, I believed the soldiers of Israel would have searched with close to equal determination for the guy fighting next to them as they were for the king and his sons.

Israel’s army of old was determined to not leave their king behind. Many since then have had equal determination to leave no one behind. Most of us do not face the opportunities or the hazards that go with such a promise and determination. We do, however, face the equal responsibility to leave no one behind, in a spiritual sense, when we leave this life. Solider’s, sailors, Marines, and airmen will risk their lives to leave no one behind. Will we risk looking foolish to hopefully leave no one behind for eternity?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

 

A Call to Repentance

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1 Samuel 27-29; Luke 13:1-22

Repent-TurnAround

13 Some who were present on that occasion told Jesus about the Galileans whom Pilate had killed while they were offering sacrifices. He replied, “Do you think the suffering of these Galileans proves that they were more sinful than all the other Galileans? No, I tell you, but unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did. What about those eighteen people who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them? Do you think that they were more guilty of wrongdoing than everyone else who lives in Jerusalem? No, I tell you, but unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did.” (Luke 13:1-5, Common English Bible).

When I read today’s passage, my first thought went to the idea of free will. Jesus keeps asking if it was because of sin that someone died. Then he quickly, before anyone has the chance to answer, “No I tell you.” Initially, my thought was, “No, they didn’t die because of their sin. It was free will.”

I was wrong. It was a call to repentance. It is a call to repentance. But, though I titled today’s post, “A Call to Repentance,” this is not going to be what you might think. It will not be a hellfire and brimstone saying things like, “REPENT LAST WARNING,” or “REPENT OR PERISH.” While both have Biblical standing and even application to this passage, I also know and believe in Paul’s words, “The greatest of these is love.” To use an old cliche, “You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

The word “repent,” we think means confession. It is that, but it is also more. To repent means to confess and turn around. To repent means not only do we confess but we also make a real and lasting change in our lives. If we are committing sin by slandering another person, not only do we confess our sin, that we slandered someone else, we also change our behavior, not only that we will no longer slander that person but that we will not slander others either. I could list sin after sin but it would be my hope that you get the idea.

Do Jesus’ words in our lesson mean if we fail to repent we are bound for hell? My job is not now, nor has it ever been, to determine who gets heaven and who gets hell. No, it isn’t my job. It isn’t the job of any pastor. My job is to proclaim the love of God in Jesus Christ. I know what this text, as well as other texts, say. I get it. But, what I also know is, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I also know that the one who hasn’t committed sin can cast the first stone. These are Biblical ideas just like the message of repentance that is our lesson today. I can’t ignore the other texts in order to uphold this lesson.

All that being said, I know and I do proclaim, for all of us, it is time to repent. When we repent, God who is love, “…will forgive our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Smile at Your Enemies

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1Samuel 25-26; Luke 12:32-59

Smiley

Abishai said to David, “God has handed your enemy over to you today! Let me pin him to the ground with my spear. One stroke is all I need! I won’t need a second.”

But David said to Abishai, “Don’t kill him! No one can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and go unpunished. 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” David continued, “it will be the Lord who will strike him down, or his day will come and he will die, or he’ll fall in battle and be destroyed. 11 The Lord forbid that I lift my hand against the Lord’s anointed! But go ahead and take the spear by Saul’s head and the water jug and let’s go!” 12 So David took the spear and the water jug that were by Saul’s head, and he and Abishai left. No one saw them, no one knew they were there, and no one woke up. All of them remained asleep because a deep sleep from the Lord had come over them.

13 David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of a hill with considerable distance between them. 14 Then David shouted to the army and to Abner, Ner’s son, “Abner! Aren’t you going to answer me?”

“Who are you to shout to the king?” Abner asked.

15 David answered Abner, “You are a man, aren’t you? And you have no equal in Israel, right? Then why haven’t you kept watch over your master the king? One of the soldiers came to kill your master the king. 16 What you’ve done is terrible! As surely as the Lord lives, all of you are dead men because you didn’t keep close watch over your master, the Lord’s anointed. Have a look around! Where are the king’s spear and the water jug that were by his head?” (1 Samuel 26:8-16, Common English Bible).

“Smile at your enemies, it will drive them crazy.”

“Smile at your enemies, it confuses them.”

“Smile, it irritates those who wish to destroy you.”

“Smile, your enemies will hate it.”

“Smile at your enemies, you reveal what kind of God our God is?”

I could go on but that seems lke a really good place to stop but I feel certain Saul wasn’t thinking about what kind of God David’s God was while standing in his camp wondering what just happened.

David has the opportunity to completely destroy the man who was trying to destroy him. Make no mistake. Saul wanted David dead. Saul was so jealous of David for the way the people loved and respected David. David was hero. Saul was, well Saul was a pretender. The man who was afraid to become king continues to show the fear deep in his heart and the fear he had that one day David would supplant him as King of Israel.

As we know, because we have the benefit of the whole story, David did eventually become king, but not while Saul was still alive.

Can you imagine when Saul woke up and realized his spear and water bottle was gone? And then, David admits he is the thief but Saul really doesn’t seem too upset about it. Perhaps he realized that for the second time, David could have killed him and didn’t. Or perhaps he was putting on a good show because he was trying to convince David to come within arm’s reach so the tables could be reversed. Of that, we will ever know this side of eternity.

But, what we do know is, David was smiling at his enemy (so to speak) and it was driving Saul crazy!

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

No Worries!

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1Samuel 22-24; Luke 12:1-31

no-worries-boat

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23  There is more to life than food and more to the body than clothing. 24  Consider the ravens: they neither plant nor harvest, they have no silo or barn, yet God feeds them. You are worth so much more than birds! 25  Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?[d] 26 If you can’t do such a small thing, why worry about the rest? 27 Notice how the lilies grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. 28 If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, how much more will God do for you, you people of weak faith! 29 Don’t chase after what you will eat and what you will drink. Stop worrying. 30 All the nations of the world long for these things. Your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, desire his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well (Luke 12:22-31, Common English Bible).

One night several years ago, Cindy and I went out for dinner with friends. My friend and Cindy started talking about worry. I am not sure these days how the subject of conversation ended up there, but it did. My friend said he worried about everything. We said he was worried about how and when he would get his student loans paid off. He was worried about where he and his wife would live when he retired. Would he be able to get a part time appointment so he could focus on other stuff instead of being worried constantly about the family budget.

Cindy told him she didn’t worry about anything (not a completely true observation). While Cindy worries less about things than anyone I have ever known, she does worry on occasion. She said if something is going to happen, it’s going to happen. Worrying about it isn’t going to change the facts as they are playing out so why worry.

My friend then said, in words dripping in sarcasm, “Gee thanks Cindy. Now I’m going to worry that you don’t worry.”

For many of us, yours truly included, lorry is just a way of life. How am I getting the bills paid? Who will take care of the kids if something bad happens to me? When can I retire? Those and probably 500 more things exist that we can worry about.

Worry, however, isn’t good for us. Here are four effects of worry that aren’t good for any of us:

  • Worry communicates to friends and family that everything might not be Okay.
  • Worry is heavy and uncomfortable.
  • It is bad for you as you feel terrible.
  • You force the burden of your worries onto other people. *

The list of the negative effects of worry is not an exclusive list. We can just look at it as a reminder that worry isn’t good for any of us.

I once heard it said that worry is the opposite of faith. If you are worried, you are failing to acknowledge that God is in charge and looks out for any of us. We all need to let God be in charge. That starts with me.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Trapped by Words

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

Talking-Heads-Talk-It-Up-or-down-e1453903669757

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,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved