One Nation Under God

Yes. We are a nation under God. Whether we act like it or not. Whether we live like it or not. God is still and always will be in control.  Oh. We’re living in troubled times. That’s for sure. Racial injustice. Unnecessary killings. Mob violence. Anarchy. Selfish demands. Pandemic. Unemployment.

But we are still a nation under God. He is in control. He is allowing this mess to happen. He knows exactly why these things are taking place. And he is letting us run rampant in our sin.

We’ve done this to ourselves. You know that.

Oh. This country was founded on religious freedom. Our forefathers left one country to find a place where they could freely worship God. How far we’ve come from that. It seems that now we worship anything but God. Anything and everything has become our god.

Will we ever learn? Will we ever fall on our knees and repent? As a nation, will we ever put God first? When was the last mass revival of people repenting and turning to God? We keep digging our nation deeper and deeper into sin.

We are warned in the Bible that there will be all kinds of trouble in the last days. The thing is. The people who lived in Bible times thought they had it bad. They were sure that Jesus was coming back soon. And look. It’s been how many years since that time? Thousands of years. And the times are even worse now.

You should know that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

2 Timothy 3:1-5


The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love. Numbers 14:18


Israel was also a nation under God. And they disobeyed him time and time again. Look where it got them. They were torn apart. Two separate kingdoms. Yes. There were times when God gave them what they wanted. They wanted their own king. Why? Because they wanted to be like all the other nations. Instead of being content with serving God and listening to the prophet’s words, they wanted a king. So God gave them a king. And that king failed them.

God had promised to bless the nation of Israel for generations. He doesn’t renege on his promises. But they lost faith in him. They turned to other gods. They lived for their own pleasure and not for God. And after a time, their neighbors attacked them. Took them prisoner in their own land. Made them pay heavy taxes. Made them slaves. And finally. Finally. They remembered the times of their ancestors. When life was good. They knew the stories of how their ancestors lived in peace with themselves and with their neighboring countries and with God. So they turned back to God. Repented of their sins. He heard their cries and forgave them. They regained their freedom and their good name. Aahhhh. Life was good. Again.

But as time went by. The cycle repeated itself. Over and over. They walked away from God. Thought their fake idols were better than the real God. They ignored God’s leading. They did their own thing, because it was easier than obeying God. So, here we are today. The sins of the fathers have crept into every generation.

No. We’re not the Israelites. They were God’s chosen people, but they chose not to stay faithful to him. We in this country feel special. We feel chosen. We believe we’re the greatest nation on earth. We’re only great if we are following God’s leading. But no. We removed prayer from schools and called it separation of church and state. We kill unborn babies and call it freedom of choice. We approve every form of lifestyle and call it pride. We’ve disregarded morals and call it authenticity. We worship created things rather than the Creator and call it good.

The thing is. God will not impose his will on us. He will not make us repent. Oh. He could. But he won’t. We have to want to change. We have to accept the outreached hand of forgiveness before it’s too late.

We can change.  One household at a time. One heart at a time. Let’s truly be one nation under God.

Breakfast is Served

Here’s what I wonder.

If your friend denied knowing you not once but three times, would you forgive him? If your friend hurt someone coming to arrest you for a crime you didn’t commit, would you heal the officer your friend injured and rebuke your friend? If you found your friend sleeping at the hour you needed him most, would you still trust him? If you had known your friend was going to desert you that very night, would you still call him friend? If that same friend later fervently promised that he loved you after all that, would you believe him?

Here’s the real story.

Early in the evening as Jesus was arrested, Peter fought back by cutting off the ear of one of the men arresting him. As Jesus was taken away, Peter followed from a distance. He stood in the courtyard watching from afar as the one he loved was tried for a crime he didn’t commit. Did he step up as a witness for his friend? Not at all. When asked if he knew the man, he denied it. He was asked three times by three different people. Each time, he gave the same answer. No. I don’t know him.

Then a rooster crowed.

If he was willing to fight for Jesus when he was being arrested, why not fight for him after the arrest? Did fear grip his heart so completely that he wasn’t thinking straight? Was he only thinking of himself? Trying to save his own life? Why wasn’t Jesus’ life worth saving? Jesus was being tried for a crime he didn’t commit. Peter knew that. He could have defended this man called King of the Jews. But if the King’s life was in danger, what did that say for his followers? It would be a death sentence to stand up for truth. Wouldn’t it? Is that why Peter denied knowing him? He was afraid for his life?

The miracle is that Jesus was raised from death to life. Oh sure. He was nailed to a cross and died. But on the third day in the tomb, the breath of life was breathed into him. The tomb where he was buried was empty. He had unfinished business to attend to. And rightly so.

And early one morning, Peter and some other disciples were fishing. Jesus came along and started a fire on the shore. He cooked breakfast for them. He was waiting for his friends. His followers. For those who believed in him. For those who knew him. For those who loved him.

But wait. He cooked breakfast for Peter after what Peter had done to him? How could he? Why would he willingly get up early and serve breakfast to a man who denied even knowing him? And he wasn’t just any man. He was a close friend. They had spent many hours together.


So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. John 13:34


Is this how I would treat a close friend who denied knowing me? Someone who lied about our relationship?

Would I go out of my way to serve a friend who had wronged me? Would I still call him friend? Or would I write him off? Forget him? How would I want my friend to treat me if I had done the same to him?

Am I willing to spend time with someone who has betrayed me? Or thinks differently than I do? If Jesus was willing and able to forgive Peter and still love him, can’t I do the same for you? Can you do the same for me?

And at that fateful fireside breakfast, Peter’s relationship with Jesus was restored. As they and the other disciples ate their fish and bread, Jesus asked Peter a question. Not once, but three times. Peter, do you love me? And each time, Peter said yes. But oh. Peter knew the significance of being asked three times. He thought back to another question he was asked three times as Jesus was being assaulted. You know him, don’t you? And he answered no all three times.

But this time was different, Peter was committed to Jesus at all costs. Peter’s relationship with Jesus was restored as they ate their breakfast by the sea. Jesus challenged him to love. and love deeply.

Do you accept the challenge to love deeply? Love the unloveable. Love the lonely. The hurting. Love those who don’t love you. Love those who have mistreated you. Those who are different from you. Are you willing? At all costs?

Forgiveness

He had killed her family when she was a child. Mother. Father. Brother. He was in prison. He asked to speak with her. To tell her that he had changed. So she met with him. He told her that he had tried to kill himself twice. But failed. He showed her the scarred attempts. Then he told her that he had found God. In prison. He told her his mission in life was to help other prisoners find healing and forgiveness. He didn’t expect her to forgive him. But he wanted her to hear how the wrongs he had done had impacted his life.

She was beside herself. The day before her wedding she was meeting with her family’s killer. Angrily, she said she would never forgive him. She told him the one thing he could do was try to kill himself again. and succeed this time. She was spewing with anger.

This was an episode of a tv show that I watched. It caused me to think. Seeing this beautiful young woman who had been wronged. Her families lives cut short. She was living with unforgiveness in her heart. The next scene showed her walking down the aisle. Beautiful. Composed. Elegant. Ready to meet her groom. As if her life was in perfect order.

But I wondered. Her heart was still full of anger and unforgiveness. If this were a scene from real life, how would that anger come out and respond to other events in her life?

I see it on the news from time to time. Someone has been wronged. They want to get even.  They want the offender to pay.  They are full of anger and hatred. They say they want justice to be served. 


And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins. Hebrews 8:12


Unforgiveness can eat a hole in your heart. It will cause you to strike out at someone who has committed a minor offense against you. And the other person may have no idea what they have said or done. You may not know either why you’re so offended. But lack of forgiveness will cause more damage than we realize. It will fester inside like an untreated infection until it causes irreparable damage.

And then I read of how God always forgives when we ask him. He never says no. No. I can’t forgive you. You’ve offended me too greatly or too many times. Instead he wipes our slate clean. Time and time again. Even though he knows we will continue to mess up.

If we try to harm ourselves and fail, he doesn’t say try again and this time be successful. He doesn’t harbor ill will against us even though we continue to sin against him. He forgives each time we ask.

Forgive someone even when it hurts. It will take time. It will be hard work. 
It will produce a clear conscience. A good night’s sleep. It will result in a healthier life.

The act of forgiveness takes work. Hard work. It takes effort. It requires a change of attitude. The letting go of strong emotions. The working out of past hurts. Replaying conversations in your mind. Releasing the loss of what could have been and replacing it with a new normal. Letting go of unfounded fears.

Oh. It isn’t easy.  But it is possible.

The Best of Me

We were asked to fast. Fast. As in give up food for 24 hours. What kind of request is that? Why would I give up food? Why? Here’s the thing. I love food. I. LOVE. FOOD. It’s my thing. I’m always planning my next meal. Even as a child, I hated to be hungry. I always wanted to eat when I wanted to eat. I still do. Some people eat to live. I live to eat.

And now. We’re being asked to give up food for 24 hours. I just don’t know if I can do that. Honestly. I don’t want to. Oh. I’ve done it before. And I didn’t like it. But everything isn’t always about me. So maybe I should shift my focus.

I think of the reason we’re being asked to fast. Instead of eating, it’s the turning to God and his word. To dig deeper in the well of God’s love. To recognize the sacrifice of a beloved Son whose sole purpose in life was to save my soul. To prepare our hearts to receive communion representing the broken body and spilled blood of our Savior. What am I willing to sacrifice?


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16


When Solomon built the temple, he used the best wood and gold that money could buy. He didn’t skimp on anything. That temple was elaborate and ornate. He built that temple to last for many years. It was the house of God. The place where God lived.

When Solomon became king, he was a humble man. God told him that he could have whatever he wanted. Do you know what he chose? Wisdom. He asked God to make him a wise man. So God did just that. Solomon wanted to have God’s heart. So God honored his request.

But then. Life got in the way. Solomon married women who didn’t believe in this one true God. They served lesser gods. They worshiped idols. They offered sacrifices to fake gods. They pulled Solomon’s eyes off of the God of the universe. Solomon stumbled. His priorities shifted. He fell out of step with God. He lost his way. He quit offering his best to God.

I see myself in Solomon. Oh. I’ve never built a temple. I’ve never been the wisest person. But I do ask God for wisdom. I do seek God. I start off with great intentions. But life gets in the way. There are times I find myself looking away to lesser gods. To momentary pleasures that take my eyes off my Lord and Savior. I look to other things for comfort. For fulfillment. For happiness. But those things leaves me wanting more.

I must ask myself. Where is my best effort going? Is it going to God or to myself? If I’ve given myself to live for God, then he is living in me. Am I giving my best self for him? Right now we’re celebrating our Savior risen from the dead. And I can’t even give him my best. Why do I reserve the best part of me for things that don’t matter? 

Jesus gave his best for me. Why can’t I do the same for him? I know I’m not worthy. But he paid the ultimate price. For me. Can’t I offer the best of myself? Can’t I offer my simple sacrifice? Can’t I spare a day’s worth of food?

It’s in the breaking of the bread. The drink from the cup. In remembrance. We do this. We offer our humble, simple best. It’s all we have. Mixed with the brokenness of our humanity.

Perhaps my hunger. My empty stomach is just the turning point. Maybe in the surrender of the fast, I find that I do turn to this God who gave his only Son for me. My focus must shift to higher things. To unworldly things. To the one who died on that cross for me. He gave his life. Can’t I give up food for one day?

Sinful Nature

It started out so innocent. Or so it seems. They want their child to go to an elite college. So they find ways to beat the system. They find ways to bump kids who have earned their way into that school. Bump them off the list by paying for a slot for their own trust fund child. Forging college entrance exams. Posing for fake sports photos. Slipping money under the table. For what?

For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all. Luke 8:17

We think we’re above the law.  At least, we hope we’re always one step ahead of the law. More than anything, we hope we won’t get caught by the law.

The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. Genesis 6:5

I know someone who is quick to lose his temper. He says words others hope he later regrets. He speaks out of turn. He has a high opinion of himself. He walked out of work and didn’t return for a week. No word on when he’s coming back. Just walked out. Then walked back into work the next week as if nothing had happened.

Oh. He did it more than once. But on the third try, it backfired. He is no longer employed. He pulled the same punch one too many times. Now he is facing the consequences. Shame. Regret. Remorse. Embarrassment.

What is it that causes a person to be unkind or untruthful? What is it that causes someone to bully or hurt others? Why can’t we be good? Are we born that way? Are we born to naturally be selfish and hurtful? Can we change?


He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15


I got her text. She was asking for personal information about a former coworker. Information I didn’t know and wouldn’t share if I did. She was scheming to find out the scoop on everyone she worked with. Gossip is the name of her game. And I decided I wasn’t playing.

What is it that causes people to naturally turn toward pleasing themselves? What causes someone to want to do wrong? Are we doomed to be this way? Are our souls totally corrupt with no chance for redemption?

Oh. We are born with the desire to please ourselves. From day one, we are bent on getting our way. That one bite of fruit by Adam and Eve turned our hearts away from God and onto ourselves. Their disobedience caused a world of hurt for everyone who came after them. And boy, have we continued down a path of wrongdoing.

But that one bite doesn’t have to send us to hell. We have a way paved to heaven for us. We have a path that is narrow but it is open for all. And on that path, our sins are washed away. And that desire to sin. That desire to have the world revolve around us can be removed. If only we choose life in Christ. If only we repent and ask forgiveness of our sins.

Oh. It’s not a one man fight. It’s not a fight you can win on your own. It’s a fight fit for a king. It’s a godly fight. Really. A fight for your life. Your eternal life. And it’s a fight that has already been won. We can claim the victory in four simple steps.

  • Confess your sins to God
  • Ask God to forgive you
  • Accept his love, forgiveness and mercy
  • Reject sin and live forgiven

Oh. When we confess our sins, we don’t have to name each one. Believe me. There isn’t enough time. And God already knows them anyway. He’s just waiting for us to come clean and repent. Then he erases those sins away. As if they never happened. 

We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. 1 John 5:18-19

Thank heaven for God Almighty.

Come As You Are

Shepherds first learned the news.  An angel appeared to them in the dark of night.   They were frightened.  The angel said not to be afraid.  But it’s not every night that an angel appears in the sky.  He said he had good news.  What kind of good news do angels share with shepherds?  The Savior of the world has been born.  Go to Bethlehem and find a baby lying in a manger.  You will recognize him.  They searched until they found the stable. They saw the babe lying in that dirty manger.  He’s the one they searched for.

The shepherds themselves were dirty.  Out in the fields for days on end.  No place to clean up.  No chance to bathe.  No time to throw on fresh clothes.  Dirt and worse was caked under their fingernails.  Dried sweat coated their bodies.  Those shepherds.  They had no time to trim their hair or oil their beards.  They were smelly.  Sure.  They smelled like sheep.  

They came as they were.  Unruly.  Loud.  Dirty.  Outcasts.   Able to lead sheep, but unable to lead men.  

These shepherds were the first to see the Savior.  That newborn babe.  Fresh from the womb.  Lying in a manger.  So they went out and spread the news.  They told others what they had seen and who they had met.  They were unlikely messengers sharing the greatest message the world has heard.

That encounter with the babe wasn’t a random occurrence.  It was ordained by God Almighty.  He had that moment planned since the beginning of time.  Those shepherds honored and worshiped the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  


For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  John 3:17


I’m like those shepherds.  When I came to Jesus, I was coated with sin.  I had disobedience caked under my nails. My skin had greed written all over it. My heart hid selfish pride.  I didn’t have a chance to clean up before meeting the babe in the manger.  But my uncleanness made the cleansing more meaningful.  All these years later.  I still find uncleanness wedged in places I thought had been cleaned.   I still need a daily washing in the love and forgiveness of this King.  I still need to keep the stain of wrongdoings  and bad attitudes washed in the blood.

Why wouldn’t God choose the smelly?  The unbathed?  The social outcasts?  This baby was born for them.  He later died on that cross for them.  He said everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  

Here’s the good news. That babe lying in the manger is in the cleaning business.  Oh.  He begins the cleanup immediately once he’s invited in.  The sins that have coated your heart with darkness are completely washed away.  It’s a power wash.  Your heart is instantly painted pure white.  No stains.  But other cleaning can take longer.  Bad habits may take years to overcome.  Branches of greed and roots of bitterness must be pruned and uprooted.  The cleanup actually takes a lifetime.  

Mission Field

The ones I work with cheat.  They speak ill of others.  They don’t respect authority.  They speak with crude words.  They lie.  They steal time from the company.  They look out only for themselves.

I wonder why I have anything to do with them.  Then I remember.  I’m one of them.  I’m no better than them.  Oh.  I work hard.  I do my best.

They are my mission field.  The ones I am called to serve.  To love them as Jesus does.  To care for them.  This is my battlefield.  To fight off Satan’s advances in a place where his ways are popular.  If I don’t fight Satan there, who will.  If I don’t share God’s love with them, who will.

I’ve worked with this type throughout the years.  It’s nothing new.  But I find that I must stay close to my Heavenly Father so I don’t become one of them.  Oh.  I’m not better than them.  I’m just like them.  But I’ve found the One in whom my soul delights.  I want to please Him rather than myself.  I want to serve Him rather than myself.

They’re lost to the truth.  They don’t know that God loves them.  They don’t know he’s the one true relationship they’ve been searching for all this time.  But I know it.  I know the truth.  I know the One they seek.  I can lead them to him.  I can help them find him.

After all.  Jesus didn’t turn away from those who weren’t like him.  He loved the unlovable.  He had dinner at the cheating tax collector’s house.  He struck up a conversation with a woman who was shunned by her community.  He stood with a woman caught in adultery.

Jesus didn’t spend time only with those who followed him.  He sought out others who needed what he had to offer.  He made himself available to those who didn’t know they needed him.


You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept.  Matthew 5:14


He saw the tax collector sitting in a tree.  Jesus knew this man had gotten rich by cheating others of out large sums of money.  But he still invited himself to the man’s house for dinner.  This man turned his life around and gave half his wealth to the poor and returned money to those he had cheated.  All because Jesus took time for him and showed him the way of  love and forgiveness.

Jesus started a conversation with the woman with the questionable past.  He spoke first, asking for a drink of water.  He told her things about herself he shouldn’t have known.  He loved her in spite of the fact that she had had five husbands and was living with another man.  This woman who was shunned by her community ran to tell them about this man who knew everything about her.  She and her village were changed because of the simple message of love and forgiveness.

The woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus.  Her accusers were trying to trick him, but he didn’t play their game.  They wanted her stoned to death.  So Jesus suggested the one in the group who had never sinned should throw the first stone.  One by one they quietly walked away.  The woman’s accusers were guilty of sins, just as she was.  But Jesus didn’t condemn her.  Instead, in love he told her to leave her life of sin.  He showed her love and forgiveness.

So.  Who do I think I am that I shouldn’t spend time with those who don’t believe as I do?  Why should I surround myself only with those like me?  Why do I think I can ignore those I come in contact with who have sin written all over their face?  For I’m just like them.  I have sin written all over my face, but it’s been washed clean in Jesus’ blood.   I’m no better than them, but I’ve accepted the gift of eternal life.

Yes.  I must be Jesus to those I work with.  Perhaps they can turn from cheating.  From their gossip.  From self-centeredness.  But not only them.  I think of the one who delivers my groceries every week.  Does he need Jesus in his life?  I think of the one who cuts my hair.  My massage therapist.  What about my neighbors?  The people at the dog park.  Who can I be Jesus to today?

Another Chance

I had scheduled the massage a few weeks earlier.  I even got a confirmation the day before reminding me of the appointment.  But when I arrived at the appointed time, my massage therapist wasn’t there.  He wasn’t in when he should have been.   He was at a training class in another city.  But no one told me.

Oh.  I was upset.  I was very unhappy.  To find out I wasn’t going to get the massage I desperately needed felt like an insult.  A hard slap in the face on an early Saturday morning.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to tell them I would never be back.  Don’t ask if I want to reschedule.  But I didn’t.

How many chances do you give someone when they mess up?  How many times do you say.  Oh.  It’s ok.  No problem.  How many times do you let someone disappoint you before realizing they’re not good for you?

The thing is.  I liked him.  Oh.  I liked his work.  He has strength in his hands that I’ve never experienced.  And with each massage, I would get a lesson in massage therapy and anatomy and physiology.  Even if I didn’t ask for it.  He’s passionate about his work.  He tries to work out all the tight spots in the small amount of time he has with me.  Oh.  It’s never enough time.  I have too many tight muscles.  Too many issues.

He talks to me about the muscles he working on.  Deltoid.  Biceps.  Quads.  Minimus.  Hamstrings.  He talks about foot stretches.  He mentions fascia and flexibility.  Don’t look down so much.  He says.  He gives advice on how to care for my body.

So I’ve given him a second chance.  A chance to prove himself.  The thing is.  I don’t know if the scheduling problem was his fault or someone else’s.  So why wouldn’t I give him a second chance?

I rescheduled with him.  He was there at the appointed time.  He didn’t say a word about the jumbled schedule.  But toward the end of my massage, he said the words I wanted to hear.  Do you need to be anywhere?  Because I can keep working on you.  Twenty-five minutes later, he finished the massage.

Disappointment a couple weeks earlier turned into an extra long massage.  His generosity won me back.  His work is great.  His technique is effective.  I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t given him another chance to prove himself.  He is worth it.


I have loved you with an everlasting love.  I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.  Jeremiah 31:3


Sometimes I don’t understand how God works in my life.  I don’t know why He allows bad things to happen.  I don’t know why He lets me wait on things that seem to be good.  I don’t know why He doesn’t answer some prayers.

I do know that God hears my every prayer.  He knows my pain.  He knows my hurts and longings.  Oh.  He doesn’t take them away just because I ask.  But he does stand with me through the ups and downs of life.

How many times does God forgive me when I sin? He always forgives me. Never once has he turned his back on me.  Each time I stumble in my desire to be godly, God forgives me when I ask.  He brings me back into his arms of love.  Oh.  There are times he disciplines me.  There are times of pruning the dead branches when there is no growth.

He talks to me about acceptance.  Kindness.  Generosity.  Don’t be so negative.  Help others.  He reminds me that I’m not perfect.  I’m forgiven.  He asks for my trust.

He teaches me lessons about life and love and contentment.  Even when I don’t ask.  He shows me everlasting love even when I don’t deserve it.  He blesses me when I least expect it.  He never gives up on me.  He’s always available when I need him.  He always out gives and out loves me.

But then again.  I don’t understand why God would choose to bless me with a great life.  I’m thankful and I’m loved.  I’m chosen and I’m forgiven.

Mercy for Sinners

David had sinned.  Horribly.  It was the type of sin that has brought down giants.  And David had slain giants.  Bears.  Lions.  While he was a boy tending his father’s sheep.  He had even killed a man giant.  A man so large that the other soldiers were dwarfed by him.  Yet David stood up to him.   And David won.  David killed the giant with a stone and sling.  Shot him right square in the forehead and then cut off his giant head.  Oh.  David had won that battle.  He had saved his country.

Yet when it came time to slay the giant of lust, David lost.  He couldn’t conquer the desires of his mind and body.  He had allowed the sight of a beautiful married woman to undo him.  Oh.  He had every right to walk on the roof of his house in the middle of the day.  And she had every right to bathe in privacy on the roof of her house.  It just so happened, that both events took place at the same time.  And David couldn’t control his desire to have this woman.  To make her his own.  At any cost.  Possibly without her permission.  Oh.  He wasn’t thinking of the cost at that moment.  He was thinking of how great it would be to conquer yet another beautiful woman.  Never mind that he had many wives at his disposal.   Never mind that she was married to one of his top warriors.  One of the men who would fight faithfully to the end for this king.  For the king who took advantage of his wife while he was at war.

The woman later returned to David with news of her pregnancy.  You see.  Her husband was at war, so he wasn’t the father.  Everyone would know of the charge of unfaithfulness.  Even if they didn’t know who the father was.  How could David come forward and claim the child as his?  There was punishment for adultery.  Death.  So David did the unthinkable.  Again.   He stooped even lower to hide his adultery.  He made sure this woman’s husband, a mighty warrior, was killed in battle.  Put him on the front lines and then withdraw.  Make sure he is killed.  That was David’s command to General Joab.  And the General obeyed.  Did he really have a choice?  He made sure Uriah the Hittite was killed.   And he made sure that King David knew the man was dead.

After the pregnant widow’s mourning period was over, David did the honorable thing.  He took her into his home and made her his wife.  His wife who was already pregnant with his child.  But no one would be the wiser.  Right?

Perhaps David was too busy in his backslidden condition to remember that God sees everything.  God knows everything.  God is everywhere.  And what is done in secret is still seen and judged by God.   We can’t escape the all-seeing eye of God.

Oh.  How the mighty have fallen for lesser things.  But sin starts small.  And it grows into uncontrollable urges and desires.  It grows into believing that consequences are for others.  Not for me.  I deserve to have whatever I want whenever I want it.  Or so thought David.

But the consequences were great.  And oh.  How he fell.  Perhaps not publicly.  But privately, David fell.  It took a brave man named Nathan who provided wise counsel to open David’s eyes to see how he had lost control of himself.  He knew there would be severe punishment.  In some instances, it would mean death for the offender.  But God had mercy on David.  God spared David’s life when he didn’t have to.  You see.  God wasn’t finished with David.

But the baby who was conceived out of lust and passion was doomed to die.  He only lived for seven days.  And in those seven days, David was a broken man.  He fasted.  He prayed.  He begged God to save his son.  But no.  This baby would not live to be a reminder of the adultery and murder that one man’s lust had caused.  This baby would not survive.

Oh.  During those seven days, David wept and pleaded with God to save his son.  He humbled himself before God.  He asked for God’s forgiveness.  God heard his prayer.


Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.  Because of your compassion, blot out the stain of my sin.  Psalm 51:1


God is merciful.

God forgave David of the horrible sins of adultery and murder.  Oh.  When the mighty fall, they can be picked up.  Shined up.  They can be forgiven.  But they will be scarred.  They will be bruised and bumped around.  There will be consequences.   But their sins will change color.  They will turn from scarlet to white as snow.  Their sins will be forgotten.  As if their sins were never committed.  As if David had never considered adultery or murder.  As if he had never done those things.  Because when God forgives, he forgets.  And that’s what we usually forget.  We forget that God forgets.

Oh.  We are unworthy.  Our sins are many and are hearts are so human.  We fail so often.  But God will forgive us each time we sin.  If we ask him to forgive us.

Who knows if David ever forgot that son who lived for seven days.  Somehow through the bumpy start of their marriage, David and Bathsheeba moved on.  God gave them more sons.  Their next son was Solomon.  And God loved Solomon.  His name means “beloved of the Lord”.

It’s hard to imagine biblical history without Solomon as the next king of Israel.  It’s hard to imagine who would have worn the title of wisest person who ever lived, if Solomon hadn’t been born.  It’s hard to imagine who would have built the temple of Jerusalem, if not for Solomon.  You see.  If David and Bathsheeba hadn’t been together, all of Solomon’s accomplishments wouldn’t exist.  But because God showed mercy on Solomon’s father, David, Solomon existed.  He ruled the nation of Israel.  He built the temple that King David only dreamed of building.  He was the wisest of all men.  If not for God’s mercy, would Solomon have ever existed?

We can never out-give or out-forgive God.  He is merciful when we least deserve it.

Heart Guard

There are families.  Oh.  At one time, they were loving.  They spent time together on a regular basis. They laughed together.  They cried together.  They ate together.  They celebrated together.  They spent holidays together.  Then something happened.  One family member upset another family member.  And that was it.  Or maybe it was a slow fade.  Perhaps over time, enough was enough.  Whatever the situation.  Someone decided they had had enough.  And that was it.  No more holidays together.  No more laughing together.  No more eating together.  No more celebrations.  There was definitely crying.  But not together.

And they call themselves Christians.

Oh.  There was plenty of talking.  About the other person.  But not with the person.  It happens in more Christian families than anyone would want to admit.

I’m not judging.  I’m asking.  How can Christians on different sides of the argument say they love each other but then not be willing to share time?  Family members or friends.  Does it really matter?

I once asked someone the question.  How can a Christian family who won’t spend time together talking out their issues.  Forgiving each other on earth.  How will they all be in heaven together?  How can souls spend eternity together in heaven when they couldn’t spend time on earth together?  It doesn’t add up in my book.

There were two men who did not see eye to eye.  They had harsh words for each other.   Harsh public words.  They weren’t friends.  Perhaps they could have been close colleagues, if they had tried.  Oh.  If they had tried, they would have discovered they had things in common.  They would have also found they disagreed on other topics.  Nevertheless.  They never tried to close the gap.  Several days ago, one man died.  He was called a war hero by some.  The other is called the leader of the free world.  The one who died asked for the other not to attend his funeral.  His request was obliged.

I try to imagine the possibilities that could have been achieved if both men had set aside their differences.  If they had agreed to disagree on some things, and then work together on common ideas.  But no.  They chose to stand their ground and not come together.

What happens if both these men end up in heaven?  Will they be able to come together and celebrate the wedding feast side by side with their Lord and Savior?  Will they be able to welcome and celebrate each other’s spiritual rewards?

Can’t we be better than that?  Can’t we as adults agree that we can still work together.  Can’t we still be colleagues or comrades?  Can’t we still be friends?  Can’t we still be family even if we disagree?


Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  Proverbs 4:23


I ask the question because I now find myself in a similar situation.

I felt she had wronged me.  Done me dirty.  Not once.  But twice.  I thought I could call her friend.  I trusted her.  But she hurt me again.  So I’ve let her go.  I’ve let her go as in I can’t see her anymore.  I can’t communicate with her again.  She hurt me and I don’t want to be hurt again.  Oh.  I’m sure I’ll be hurt again.  But I don’t want to be hurt by her.  Ever.  Again.

Does that mean I haven’t forgiven her?  Does that mean I’m holding a grudge?  I don’t have angry thoughts about her.  I don’t wish harm to come to her.  I don’t harbor any ill will against her.  But I don’t trust her.  That’s it.  Plain and simple.

Oh.  We don’t run in the same circles.  Our days are not mixed together.  Our lives aren’t in the same location.  So I have no reason to see her.  If I saw her, it would be accidental.  Unless it was planned.  But I have no plans to see her.

I know healing takes time.  I’m healing.  Slowly.  Very slowly.  Perhaps, in time I would welcome the thought of a conversation.  I don’t know.

But I know my judgment day is coming.  I’m planning to go to heaven someday.  I know she’s planning to go there, as well.  So what happens when we both get to heaven?  When I see her for the first time, how will I respond?  How will I feel?  Will I run to her with arms wide open?  If I can’t do that on earth, can I do that in heaven?  And if I can’t do that on earth, what does that mean?  For me and my eternity?

I have to examine my heart.  Very closely.  Is it ever ok not to reach out?

Search me, O God, and know my heart.  Test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  Psalm 139:23-24