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.

Day Lilies

I look out the dining room window and see the row of day lilies below.  They seem to bloom later in the season than other day lilies in the neighborhood.  Could it be because mine were planted in a shady area?  I see several blooms that will open in the next few days.  But today.  One flower has opened.  It is a beautiful rust color.

I’m surprised the flower had a chance to bloom.  In years’ past, the deer have eaten all the blossoms before they ever had a chance to open.  Maybe this is my lucky year.  Maybe this year, all the flowers will get their chance to shine.  Maybe they’ll be able to open.  If only for a day.  But they will make that day count.  Oh.  These flowers do make their one day of beauty shine.  They are breathtaking.

These day lilies have a short lifespan.  One day.  But in that one day, they can bring a smile to one’s face.  One look at the beauty of God’s handiwork will send hope for the flower that blooms tomorrow.  For this one day, though, this open flower has the power to spread cheer and excitement.


The faithful love of the Lord never ends.  His mercies never cease.  Great is his faithfulness.  His mercies begin afresh every morning.           Lamentations 3:22-23


I’m reminded that there is also another part of God’s beauty that lasts only for a day.  God’s mercy.  Oh.  He promises mercy for each day.  He promises just enough mercy for this one day.  And this day alone.  Tomorrow another bud of mercy will bloom.

Just as I see the row of day lilies waiting their turn to bloom, so I think of God’s row of mercies lined up for me this week.  I can’t use those mercies yet.  I must wait until tomorrow for God’s new mercy to hold me through tomorrow’s worries and troubles.  I consider that today is still new and fresh with plenty of mercy waiting to sweep over me.  Whenever I call on God to pour out his mercy on me today, he won’t disappoint.  He will shower me with enough mercy for the moment.  For the hour.  For the day.  He never fails.  He never disappoints.  At times, I feel the worries and fears begin to creep in.  But they slip away as mercy rains down on me.  God is faithful and showers me with mercy when I need it.

So when I think of my troubles, I know the mercy maker is waiting to pour a fresh batch of mercy over me whenever I call.  I think of the worry deer eating away at my budding hopes.  I know the worry may threaten to destroy my peace and faith.  But I also know another thing.  My God is the giver of life and the renewer of mercy.  So for today, I have all the mercy I need.  For today, the one day lily that is blooming is enough.  Tomorrow is on the horizon.  I don’t know what it will bring.  But this one thing I do know.  There will be a fresh outpouring of mercy waiting for me.  All I have to do is receive it.

Mercy for the day.

God Have Mercy

It’s all over the news.  Hugh Hefner died.  Natural causes.  We know how he lived.  We know what he stood for.  We know what his god was.  What we don’t know is if he ever confessed his sins and became a Christ-follower.  Oh.  It could have happened.  On his deathbed, he could have called out to God and asked for forgiveness.  He could have asked God to have mercy on his soul.

After all.  He was a pimp and a pornographer.  That’s what I read this week.  His goal was to change the world’s view of pre-marital sex.  He accomplished that.  Is that even an accomplishment?  God is his judge.  And he has been judged.  Hugh Hefner is in eternity.  Right now. Forever.  He misguided far too many people down a seemingly attractive fun-filled road.  He may be paying for that right now.  He may be paying forever.

I’ve read several articles and heard news reports about his life.  Some applauded him.  He encouraged people to live their dreams.  To disobey God’s commands of purity and faithfulness.  Why did he do it?  Oh, he was raised in a conservative home where values were taught.  He felt he had been repressed as a child.  He rebelled.  He decided to forsake the teaching of his parents.

He was pronounced a stunning success.  Progressive.  Revolutionary.  An architect of the sexual revolution.

The thing is.  God loves Hugh Hefner.  God created him.  He knew Hugh Hefner before he was even born.  He even knew what Hugh would do on this earth.  He still loved him.  He loved Hugh so much that he died for him.  He had plans for the man.  Plans that never materialized.  Not by Hugh Hefner.  Perhaps God had to find someone else to achieve what Hugh Hefner would have had he not lusted after sin.

All we can hope now is that God has mercy on Hugh Hefner.


As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be zealous and repent. See! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.  Revelation 3:19-20


I’ve never started a revolution.  I’ve never created an empire.  I’m not a pimp or a pornographer.  But I have sinned.  I think of the times this past week when my attitude was bent way out of shape. I think of how my negativity could start a revolution of sorts.  I think of how my frustrations led me to say things I can’t take back.

Too often lately, I find myself leaning toward the negative side of things.  I’d like to blame it on the actions and intentions of others.  But deep down, I know I can do better.  Sure, it’s easy to get frustrated.  No one is perfect.

Frustration.  Negativity.  Annoyance.  Bitterness.  Aggravation.

Why is that the first place my mind goes?  I work for God. I live for God. Why don’t I act like it?  Why am I such a failure at this? How does a person stay positive in a negative world?

I can’t help myself.  Or can I? Sometimes I think I enjoy being negative. Sometimes I want to lash out. Sometimes I want to get even.  If I do, though, then I feel foolish.  Immature.  Petty.  Unchristian.  I feel like a failure. Being negative isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Being human is tough. We were made in God’s image. Why is it so hard to be like him? Why do I fail so often? Will l I ever get it right? I hope he sees that I’m trying.

I’m no Hugh Hefner. But I am a sinner. In God’s eyes, sin is sin. Oh. Some may say there are degrees of sins. I don’t know.  Some may say there are different levels of hell.  I don’t know.  What I know is that sin is sin.  If I disobey God, then I’ve sinned.  The Bible says that everyone has sinned.  Everyone has fallen short of God’s plan.  You.  Me.  Hugh Hefner.  Any unconfessed sin will send a person to hell.

The thing is. I don’t want to go to hell. I don’t want anyone to go to hell.   I have asked God to forgive me.  I hope Hugh Hefner did.  I hope and pray you do, too.

All I can ask is that God will have mercy on me.  and on you.

Available: Forgiveness

She trusted them.  They stole from her.  They thought they had fooled her.  They didn’t.  They created a story of untruths.  What started out as an act of goodwill ended up with stolen treasures, lies, loss of trust and possible loss of friendship.  Was it worth it?  Was it worth the risk to take things belonging to another?  Things that weren’t yous?  For what?  A few dollars?

Now when they see each other, and they will, they’ll remember.  They both will.  The thief and the victim.  They’ll avoid each other.  Unable to look each other in the eye.  They’ll both be uncomfortable.  For different reasons.  Ruined friendships for their children.  All because of greed.  All because of wanting more.  All because of wanting what others have.  Was it worth it?

Then there’s the punishment.  What’s appropriate?  Confront them?  Press charges?    How do you really prove guilt without finding the stolen objects?  Deep down, you know who took the items.  You just can’t prove it.  How do you confront an injustice when you can’t really prove it?  But deep down, deep down you know.  And they know you know.

Imagine the fear of getting caught.  Imagine the stories the guilty have had to create.  Imagine the strain on relationships of those who are guilty.  A mother and child.  Both involved.  Why would the mother put that stress on her child?  Why would she lead her child down a path of wrongdoing?  Were they that desperate?  If so, don’t they know help is available?  Would they accept help?  Wouldn’t the fear of getting caught and being punished be more embarrassing than asking for help?

Have they done this before?  Perhaps this wasn’t the first time they had taken from others.  Perhaps they have a history of unpunished wrongdoing.  Have they taken advantage of others’ kindness in the past without being confronted or punished?

All the victim wanted was to get her possessions back.  No police.  No arrest.  Just right the wrong.  She offered mercy to those who had taken from her.  She chose forgiveness. She decided there was too much at risk to publicize the wrong that was done to her.  Going public with the offense would cause embarrassment to the guilty.  Perhaps.  Going public could break up the guilty family.  Perhaps.   Going public would end the friendship.  Perhaps.  But was it right to stay silent?  Is offering forgiveness and mercy enough?  Should all wrongdoings be punished?


I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.                Isaiah 43:25


The Bible tells us that everyone has sinned.  We were born sinners.  We need to right our wrongs.  We need to ask for forgiveness.  If not, we will be punished.  It’s an eternal punishment in the depths of hell.  Who wants that?

We have a forgiver.  One who offers forgiveness for all our sins.  No questions asked.  Mercy is offered for admitting guilt.  Sure.  There may be consequences because of our actions.  Wrongs will have consequences.  Some consequences and punishments are private.  Others public.  But forgiveness is always available.  Always within our reach.  All we have to do is ask.

His name is Jesus.  The forgiver of our sins.  He will wipe our sins off the map.  He will drop them into the depths of the ocean.  He will remove our sins as far as the east is from the west.  He will forget we ever sinned.  Once he has forgiven us.  We’re made new.  New creatures.  Go and sin no more.

What Brings Me to Tears

There are certain events and experiences that bring me to tears.  Events that make me proud.  Actions that show respect to power and authority.  Experiences that are personal and meaningful.

I think of a bride.  Walking down the aisle on her father’s arm.  See the white dress.  The bouquet.  The veil.  The vows.  The kiss.  The anticipation of a life together.   The respect of the sanctity of marriage.  My eyes well up with tears.

I hear the national anthem.  The Star Spangled Banner.  I see the flag rise above the crowd.  People stand.  Right hand over their heart.  Pride in our country.  Thankful for freedom.  Respect for the courage of battles fought.   My eyes well up with tears.

I have served on jury duty.  I have been a juror.  People in the court room stand each time the jurors enter and exit the court room.  All conversations and activities cease.  All eyes are on the jury.  The group of twelve who will decide someone’s fate.   They know the power of this group.  They respect the sacrifice the jury is making to perform their civic duty.  The weight of the decision is in their hands.  My eyes well up with tears.

I have driven in a funeral procession.  Loss of a loved one.  Near and dear to my heart. People standing along the street.  They stop and pay respect.  Remove their hats.  Stop mowing their lawn.  Stand still for someone they’ve never met.  Traffic stops and lets the stream of cars interrupt their busy day.  They respect the loss of a loved one.  My eyes well up with tears.

I think of the man who died on the cross.  For me.  For you.  I think of his sacrifice.  He died willingly.  To save every sin everyone born on this earth has ever committed.  So we can enter heaven’s gates. So we can see Him face to face.  His mercy is new every day.  His love and compassion are never ending.  His sacrifice is our eternity.  My eyes well up with tears.

In Christ Alone.