Return to Me… Don’t Cheat

10 Isn’t there one father for all of us,
        one God who created us?
Why does everyone cheat each other to make the covenant of our ancestors impure?
11 Judah cheated—
        a detestable thing was done in Israel and Jerusalem.
    Judah made the Lord’s holy place impure, which God loved,
        and married the daughter of a foreign god.
12 May the Lord eliminate anyone who does so from the tents of Jacob,
        anyone awaking, testifying,
        and making an offering to the Lord of heavenly forces.
13 You should do this as well:
        cover the altar of the Lord with tears, weeping, and groaning
            because there is still no divine favor for your offering or favorable regard
            for anything from your hand.
14 But you say, “Why?”
    Because the Lord testifies about you
            and the wife of your youth against whom you cheated.
    She is your partner,
            the wife of your covenant.
15 Didn’t he make her the one
and the remnant of his spirit? What is the one?
        The one seeking godly offspring.
You should guard your own spirit.
        Don’t cheat on the wife of your youth
16         because he hates divorce,
says the Lord God of Israel,
            and he also hates the one covering his garment with violence,
says the Lord of heavenly forces.
        Guard your own life, and don’t cheat (Malachi 2:10-16, Common English Bible).

Several years ago, probably not too many years after Google became an available web search engine, a friend told me, “If you want a surprise Google yourself.” I didn’t think I would actually see something that would surprise me. I was wrong. What I found was not what my friend thought would surprise me. I am not sure what he thought I would find but it wasn’t there.

At that time I had a personal website where I would post manuscript versions of my sermons for family and friends to read. I would guess at that point I had about 40 sermons on my site. I didn’t think they were anything spectacular, but some of my favorites were there.

That my website showed up on the Google search wasn’t surprising either. I would have been more surprised had it not been there.

What did surprise me was that two of my sermons showed up on another website. It was a website where preachers could go and buy a sermon someone else had written. My permission had not been asked about including any of my sermons. If it had been a website that didn’t charge for the sermons I probably wouldn’t have been upset. That wasn’t the case. The owner of the website was potentially making money from my sermons. In other words, he was cheating me.

I confronted him via email (I wouldn’t know the guy if he knocked on my door). He replied back saying he didn’t have any of my sermons that all he had on his site were his sermons. I went back and checked and he had taken my sermons down. And still, I saw sermons not written by him.

All this is to say, I was being cheated, and I didn’t like it. Who does like it. When someone cheats us, it is no fun and we usually resent it. I know I did that day.

Malachi, in our lesson today, talks about cheating. As I read this passage I can’t help but think the first half addresses cheating in general but in the second half, he specifically addresses cheating on one’s spouse.

The short answer to both is, don’t do it because God doesn’t like it. For so many, cheating is a way of life. No, it would be better to say, dishonesty is a way of life.

When I was in the Navy, it was generally considered that a thief was the lowest life form on the planet. Why a thief? If you would steal from your shipmate, you would lie to or about your shipmate. If you can’t trust someone with something like honesty, you can’t trust them with your life either.

I would actually expand on that, if you lie to someone, you would steal from them. And, if you can’t trust them with being honest, you can’t trust them with anything.

Further, if someone can’t trust his/her spouse to be faithful, they can’t trust them at all.

In my research for today’s blog I ran across a very short poem I want to leave you with today. I think it sums things up pretty well.

Don’t Lie
Don’t Cheat
Don’t Make Promises
You can’t Keep.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, 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. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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