A Cause Worth Its Cost

A Cause Worth Its Cost

2 Samuel 5:1-10

Dr. Jim Denison

Red Rountree is a 91-year-old man who walks with a cane, is hard of hearing, and pled guilty recently to stealing nearly $2,000 from a bank. According to the Associated Press, this is his third such robbery in less than five years. He held up a bank in Abilene, but a bank employee got his license plate number as he left the parking lot, and authorities arrested him 20 miles outside the city. He first robbed at bank a week before his 87th birthday, and was arrested within minutes. Less than a year later he robbed another bank, and was sentenced to three years in prison. Now he faces another 20 years in jail. If he does get out, he needs another line of work—he’s not very good at this one.

George Bernard Shaw wrote, “This is the true joy in life…being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one…being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.…I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

This weekend our nation remembers the 1.1 million men and women who have died in the service of America and freedom. How do we honor their sacrifice and further their cause? How do we hold up the torch they have handed to us? Is your life dominated by a mighty purpose, by a cause worth its cost and more?

David the warrior king

When we last left David, he was a fugitive from King Saul and Israel. After hiding in the wilderness and among the Philistines, he gathered 400 other fugitives into a guerrilla army stationed in a remote part of Judea. His brothers and family joined him there, as his band of warriors protected wealthy farmers in the area in return for their financial support. They were mercenaries, a security force of sorts.

Saul continued to hunt David. Twice the shepherd could have killed the king, but both times he refused to strike God’s anointed. After Philistine warriors killed Saul, the nation of Israel was thrown into chaos. The Philistines would grow stronger, and soon destroy the entire nation. If the Kennedy assassination had occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis, we’d have been in somewhat the same situation.

So the tribe of Judah made David, the shepherd-guerrilla leader, their king. One of Saul’s sons claimed the throne in the north, but reigned only two years before two of his officers assassinated him. Then the entire nation made David its ruler (2 Samuel 5:1-3).

The Philistines immediately attacked this united kingdom. And David’s well-trained troops just as quickly struck back, defeating their enemies (2 Samuel 5:17-20). David then initiated assaults against the Philistines, something no Jewish army had ever attempted (2 Samuel 8:1f; 1 Chronicles 18:1). As a result, he was able to secure the first peace the nation had ever known in Canaan.

Seven years after he began to rule the country, David led his armies on the conquest of Jerusalem. This fortified city was one of the most formidable in the ancient world. Its high walls stood atop Mt. Zion, and had repelled the invasions of countless other armies.

But David and his men were successful where others had failed (2 Samuel 5:6-9; 1 Chronicles 11:4-8). Apparently David knew of a secret water tunnel, a shaft which led behind the walls. Joab and others climbed through this shaft and captured the city. It is called the City of David to this day.

Here David reestablished the worship of Yahweh by bringing the long-neglected ark and installing it in a shrine in Jerusalem. Here his son would build the Temple in the next generation.

From this base David then consolidated his entire kingdom. He subdued the hated Philistines, then conquered Moab, Edom, and Ammon to the south and east (2 Samuel 8:2, 13f; 10:1f) and Syria to the north (8:3-12).

At Saul’s death, the kingdom of Israel was a weak vassal of the Philistines and other surrounding enemies, with no certain future of its own. Its army was in disarray, its leadership in chaos, its borders controlled by its enemies. At David’s death, the kingdom had reached its highest military power and stature, and become a secure nation through whom one day the Son of David would come to save us all. He had found a cause worth its cost and more.

Lessons from a warrior king

On this Memorial Day weekend, what do we need to learn from David the mighty and victorious warrior king?

My father fought in the Second World War, and his father in the First World War. Both fought for freedom, for America, for our survival and way of life. Today, some 138,000 men and women are deployed in Iraq, and multiplied thousands more in other troubled places around the globe. More than 800 soldiers have died in this war against terror, and others will likely pay the greatest price in the coming weeks and months as this conflict continues.

They are fighting for the same causes: to preserve and promote the freedoms we exercise by meeting for worship this morning. To protect us. In this war against terror, the president explains that our soldiers fight in Iraq so we won’t have to fight in America. They fight in the streets of Baghdad so we won’t have to fight in the streets of Dallas.

What must we do to continue the struggle so many have died to win? How can we live in a way which makes their sacrifice worthwhile? David would sound these notes of truth and challenge.

First, some of us are called to military service. God called David to be the commander of his armies, to win freedom and peace for his people. David was as called to be a military general as he was to be a king or a psalmist. If he had refused God’s call to arms, he would have had no nation to lead.

In the same way, some of us are called to arms today. I met a young lady on the shuttle bus last Sunday who has graduated from high school and our youth ministry to enter the Air Force. I pray weekly for a young man who graduated recently from our youth ministry and is serving our country at war today. It may be that God calls your children or mine to military service, to a mighty purpose, a cause worth its cost.

Some of us are called to political leadership. David was called to be a warrior, but also a king. He ruled the nation he defended. Some of us are called to the same challenge.

A dear friend in our congregation has asked me to pray for him as he considers his future in this direction. Others of you are engaged in various levels of public service in our community and beyond. God is likely calling still others to such leadership, to a mighty purpose, a cause worth its cost.

And all of us are called to spiritual warfare. David was a warrior, a king, but also a worship leader and psalmist. He fought for his nation on the battlefield and in the throne room, but also in the halls of worship. He led the nation to return the Ark of the Covenant to its rightful place, and led his people in the worship of the God of that Ark. He wrote some of the most moving and transformative worship literature in biblical history. He fought and he led, but all from his knees.

In the same way, we are each called to join the spiritual war which rages around us. Scripture teaches that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

How do we fight this war? Paul commands: “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (v. 18).

Pray with gratitude. Not just on an annual Memorial Day weekend, but each day. If America’s wars had ended differently, we would still be British subjects; or we would still live in a world of slavery; or German, Japanese, or Communist aggressors would rule our globe; or al-Qaeda terrorists would today determine the future of our nation and our faith. If the men and women we remember today had not defended our nation and our freedoms, those freedoms would not exist today.

Pray with urgency. As you thank God for their sacrifice, pray for the loved ones they left behind. Intercede for grieving mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. Pray for those who are fighting for our freedoms today. Fight at their side in prayer.

And pray for spiritual victory in the spiritual war for souls to which our church is called.

Paul adds: “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (vs. 19-20).

Pray that for me and for us. Pray for your church to take Christ to this community and beyond. Pray for God to empower our ministries and missions this summer, for him to draw lost souls to Jesus each weekend, for our people to become the ministers they are called to be. This is a mighty purpose, a cause worth its cost.


On this Memorial Day weekend, remember George Bernard Shaw’s words: “This is the true joy in life…being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.” Are you dedicated to a mighty purpose? One which is worthy of the sacrifices made by millions on your behalf? One which is worth your life and your all? A cause worth its cost?

Martin Luther King, Jr. was fond of saying, “If a man hasn’t found a cause worth dying for, he isn’t fit to live.” Nineteenth-century British missionaries found such a cause. As they departed England for Africa, many packed their belongings in long, narrow wooden boxes—their own coffins. They knew that, more than likely, they would return home in those coffins. Felled by disease and violence, many did. But their cause was worth its cost and more.

In the movie Chariots of Fire, the English runner Harold Abrams races against the Scottish champion Eric Liddell and loses. It’s the first loss of his life. The pain of his failure is so great that he tells his girlfriend he will never race again. “If I can’t win, I won’t run,” he insists. She wisely replies, “If you don’t run, you can’t win.”

Today we remember 1.1 million men and women who ran the race for us and won the freedom we celebrate this day. Now we must answer their sacrifice with our own. We are called to a mighty purpose, to a cause worth its cost. We can do no more to honor their sacrifice.

We must do no less.

Commencing Well

Commencing Well

1 Samuel 20:35-42

Dr. Jim Denison

Thursday evening we each had a second once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: the final episode of Friends aired, again. And in case you missed it, it will air again the following Thursday night. And probably each Thursday night for the next decade.

More than 51 million people watched the episode the first time, myself not among them. But I understand Ross and Rachel got back together, again. Apparently someone cares—ads for the show sold for $2 million per 30 seconds.

Now there’s more good news: a DVD of the entire last season will be available soon. For slightly less than $2 million.

Today our church joins thousands of others across the nation in honoring our graduates. Since the Middle Ages, we’ve been graduating students through an exercise called “commencement.” I’ve been given five diplomas, and don’t remember a single commencement speech, including the ones I’ve given myself. I know that the best ones are always the shortest. And that the speaker usually comments on the fact that “commencement” comes from “commence,” meaning “to begin.” Not the ending of high school, or college, or whatever—but the beginning of what comes next.

So, what comes next?

In our series on relationships from the life of David, today I’d like to contrast television’s Friends with David’s best friend. Here’s the point: more than ever before in American cultural history, our graduates (and the rest of us) have two competing visions from which to choose. Two radically different views of the world. Where you get in determines where you come out. Commence wisely.

“Friends” and family

Let’s first look at the world of Friends, one of the highest-rated shows on television for ten years. Here is its message, as fairly and succinctly as I can describe it. Sexual activity is how we express our affection for each other. Marriage is optional, unnecessary to leading fulfilled lives. I read that Ross and Rachel, for instance, fell in love, got married, got divorced, had a baby, then got back together again. A second marriage remains to be seen. And given their issues with their parents, the “friends” taught us that friends are our real family.

A second top-rated comedy left the air the week after Friends. On Frasier we learned that relational decisions should be based on whatever makes you happy. Your own fulfillment is the key to “good mental health.” Frasier’s brother Niles taught us that marriage can get in the way of love. And so even though he was married to Maris, his unseen wife, we were pulling for him to get with Daphne, his father’s therapist. And millions of viewers rejoiced when he finally did.

Of course, Frasier got his start on the earlier television comedy, Cheers. Here we learned to laugh at Norm’s unseen wife, knowing that his real family is at the bar with him. Sam defined success by his previous life as a Red Sox pitcher, and now by his sexual exploits. And life was always good at a bar “where everybody knows your name.”

Going back still farther, John Ritter’s recent death caused many of us to remember his most famous television show, Three’s Company. Ritter’s character pretends to be gay so he can room with two female friends. The three must fool their intolerant buffoon of a landlord who wouldn’t let them live together otherwise. And Jack’s “lifestyle” is of course his own business—the show made that clear.

By contrast, a week ago we were treated to a reunion of The Dick Van Dyke Show. I’m old enough to remember the program—everyone was married, and no one slept with anyone who was not their spouse. How quaint.

Learning about life

So, what would Hollywood have us know as we commence on the next chapter of our lives?

Our friends are our family. So long as we have them, we have all we really need for life.

All moral standards are relative. So long as our actions are not illegal or harmful to others, they are legitimate.

All beliefs are equal in value. Our faith system is no more right than anyone else’s—it’s just our personal preference.

At its root, absolute truth does not exist. This is an absolute fact.

A new religious synthesis is emerging in this culture. Simply stated: God is whatever we see him/her/it to be. There is no uniquely true revelation, whether Scripture or any other source. We all share in the divine, so that enlightenment is possible within our own abilities and experiences. Because we share in the divine, no forgiveness for “sin” is needed (only 2 percent of Americans are afraid they might go to hell).

This new religious synthesis has been emerging for years. James Herrick’s new book, The Making of the New Spirituality, makes this transformation clear.

He quotes eminent psychologist Carl Jung: “We are only at the threshold of a new spiritual epoch.”

And author Wayne Teasdale: “We are at the dawn of a new consciousness, a radically fresh approach to our life as the human family in a fragile world … Perhaps the best name for this new segment of historical experience is the Interspiritual Age.”

And Harvard graduate and former Green Beret Gary Zukav, who speaks of “the evolution of our souls.” Zukav writes that science now suggests a new understanding of God, not as the personal Deity of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but as “conscious light” and “Divine Intelligence” that animate the universe. His books have sold more than five million copies.

Here’s Dr. Herrick’s evidence for this new religious synthesis:

12 million Americans are considered active participants in alternative spiritual systems, and another 30 million are actively interested.

1,000 to 2,000 new religious movements arose in the United States in the 20th century, almost all standing outside the Judeo-Christian tradition.

The Dalai Lama’s Ethics for the New Millennium sold more copies than business books by Bill Gates and Stephen Covey. In 1960, some 200,000 Buddhists lived in America; now the number exceeds 10 million.

Self-professed belief in astrology, reincarnation and a non-personal divine energy characterizes 30 percent of Americans. One popular astrology website created for Time Warner Electronic Publishing attracts 1.3 million visitors every month. AstroNet, established with the support of America Online, attracts 300,000 visitors every day.

David and Jonathan

Now, let’s contrast the world of Friends and its friends with the biblical world-view. We are told in Scripture that a sovereign and personal God intervenes continuously in human history; the Bible is his uniquely true revelation; fallen humanity is incapable of correcting our spiritual predicament; and forgiveness is grounded in the divine act of redemption given to us by Christ on the cross.

Watch that biblical world-view unfold with David and his best friend, Jonathan. Four decisions will challenge us as we step into the next chapter of our lives.

First, believe that God is sovereign. In Jonathan’s first appearance in the Bible, he and his armor-bearer are preparing to attack a much-larger army of Philistines. Jonathan proclaims, “Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6). And he and his armor-bearer killed 20 men (v. 14). There is but one God, and he is in control of the world.

Second, accept God’s will, whatever it is. God made clear to Jonathan that David was to inherit the throne of his father. How did he react?

“After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself” (1 Samuel 18:1). He proved that love with his actions: “Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt” (vs. 3-4). The robe represented the kingdom itself, given by Jonathan to David in acceptance of the will of God.

Third, follow God’s will at all costs.

Earlier, Saul sent Jonathan to kill David. He could have done so and gained the throne for himself, but instead Jonathan talked his father out of such sin (1 Samuel 19:1-6).

Later Saul tried again, but Jonathan rose to protect his friend again. Saul knew the sacrifice Jonathan was making: “As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he must die!” (1 Samuel 20:31).

When Jonathan refused, “Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David” (v. 33).

So he warned him to flee: “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’ Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town” (v. 42). Again and again, Jonathan risked his life to follow the will of God.

Last, trust God’s will to make your life significant.

After Jonathan was killed in battle by the Philistines, his best friend immortalized him: “How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights. I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. How the mighty have fallen!” (2 Samuel 1:25-27).

And through David, Jonathan’s faithfulness would live on. If Jonathan had not protected his best friend from Saul, the Old Testament would have ended with Goliath. No King David, Solomon, the Temple, the line of David leading to the Messiah. We owe our Judeo-Christian faith and heritage to this unsung hero who lived in the will of God.


Now you have a choice as you commence the next chapter of your life. You can choose Hollywood’s Friends, or David’s friend. You can trust the lie that there is no truth, that all beliefs are equal, that the only will which matters is yours. Or you can believe that God is sovereign. You can believe therefore that living in his will, at all costs, is the key to significance.

As you make your choice, remember that long after Ross and Rachel have faded from fame, Jonathan’s life and faith will matter to the world. God used this friend of David to help bring the Son of David to the earth as our Savior and Lord. The Lord of the universe made his life valuable beyond description. If you will live in the will of God, you will have the significance of God.

I’ll close with a personal word. When I was preparing to graduate from high school, choosing God’s will or my own was the major issue before me. My dream was to be a professional trumpet player or tennis player. My parents, being a bit more realistic, would have preferred that I become a doctor. I knew God wanted me in the ministry of the Word. But I wanted my will to be done.

Finally, through a series of events, I chose to submit my life to God’s purpose as I understood it. Looking back on that decision made 28 years ago, I will always be grateful I chose his will over my own. Always.

And so I can make you a personal promise: if you will choose David’s friend over Hollywood’s Friends, God’s will over your own, you’ll be glad you did. There will be hard days and good days, valleys and mountains, rain and sunshine. But there will be an abiding sense of God’s purpose and significance through it all. I can testify that it’s so.

Let’s close with this prayer by Sir Francis Drake:

Disturb us, Lord, when

We are too well pleased with ourselves,

When our dreams have come true

Because we have dreamed too little,

When we arrived safely

Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when

With the abundance of things we possess

We have lost our thirst

For the waters of life;

Having fallen in love with life,

We have ceased to dream of eternity

And in our efforts to build a new earth,

We have allowed our vision

Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us Lord, to dare more boldly,

To venture on wider seas

Where storms will show your mastery;

Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back

The horizons of our hopes;

And to push into the future

In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain Jesus Christ.

Commence well.

How To Pray For America

How to Pray for America

Matthew 9:35-38

Dr. Jim Denison

It was 1945. Spencer January, a lifetime resident of Dallas, Texas, was a soldier in the U. S. Army’s 35th Infantry Division, 137th Infantry, Company I. They were pushing through the Rhineland region of West Germany toward the Elbe River to meet the Russian troops.

On March 9 the American troops were ordered to move into Ossenburg, Germany, where a factory that had once manufactured soap was now producing gun powder and other war products. As Spencer and the rest of Company I were cautiously making their way through a wooded area, word came that the company ahead of them had been hit hard and they were to replace it.

When his company arrived at the scene, Spencer was appalled at what met his eyes. Only a handful of badly wounded soldiers, hiding behind a stone house at the edge of the woods, had survived. Straight ahead a 200-yard stretch of open field, bordered on the far side by thick woods, was covered with the bodies of dead American soldiers.

Three nests of German machine guns had mounted the fierce assault. To try to cross that flat, open field meant suicide, yet there was no other road into the town. As the order was given to advance, Spencer prayed desperately, “God, you’ve got to do something.” Thinking of his wife and tiny son back home, he pleaded, “Please, do something.”

Their advance began. Just as the soldier at the front took his first step, something to the left caught their eye. A cloud, a fluffy white cloud, appeared out of nowhere and settled on the ground, completely obscuring the Germans’ line of fire.

Taking advantage of this miraculous turn of events, Spencer and his fellow soldiers bolted into the clearing and ran for their lives. Safe in the sheltering woods on the other side, his heart pounding in his ears, Spencer hid behind a tree and watched as the last American soldier raced to safety. He will never forget what happened next: the instant the last soldier scrambled to safety, the cloud vanished!

The Germans, thinking they still had the American soldiers pinned down behind that stone house, radioed its position to their artillery. Within minutes the house was blown to bits.

But that’s not the end of the story. Two weeks later a letter arrived from Spencer’s mother back in the States. “Son, what in the world was the matter on such and such a day,” she asked, pinpointing the very day and time that Spencer and Company I had faced such grave danger.

“You remember Sister Tankersley from our church? Well, she called me that morning and told me that the Lord had awakened her at 1:00 in the morning and said, ‘Spencer is in serious trouble. Get up now and pray for him.’ Sister Tankersley said she prayed for you until 6:00, when she had to go to work. She told me that the last thing she prayed before getting off her knees was, ‘God, whatever danger Spencer is in, just cover him with your cloud.’”

Andrew Murray said, “Most churches don’t know that God rules the world by the prayers of his saints.” John Wesley was even more specific: “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” And E. M. Bounds claimed, “The church upon its knees would bring heaven upon the earth.”

The best way to know Christ is in prayer. We know any person best by spending time with him or her, talking together, listening to each other, being with each other. So it is with Jesus. The more time we spend together in prayer, the more we grow to know him and be like him.

This focus is especially urgent for this patriotic day, because the greatest gift you and I can give our nation is to pray for her. To pray for her leaders, her people, her spiritual life and God’s divine blessing.

So today we’ll look at the life of prayer, and focus that life on our nation and her needs this day.

See something

Our text finds us in the midst of the Galilean ministry of Jesus. Matthew tells us that he went “everywhere,” to all the villages in this northern part of the Holy Land. Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian, records the fact that there were no less than 204 such villages in the time of Jesus. Jesus goes to them all, teaching, preaching, healing. Touching their lives. And when he does, he sees something.

He sees that they’re “fainting”—the Greek word originally meant to be flayed or skinned. Here it means that they are distressed, hassled, worried. They’re “scattered”—cast down, wounded, lying around. Abandoned by their shepherds.

And seeing their enormous pain, their terrible need, he is moved with “compassion”—this is the strongest word in the Greek language meaning pity and tenderness to the depth of one’s being. They’re hurting, abandoned, lost, and he feels their pain and suffering. He sees their need.

And so he calls his disciples to pray.

The life of prayer begins with the need for prayer. If we don’t think we need to pray, we won’t.

Do you need God’s help with your marriage? Your kids? Your parents?

Do you need his guidance for your future? Your job? Your money?

Does our church need God’s power for our future? Our ministry? Our people? Or, are we self-sufficient enough that prayer is an activity we practice, not a relationship we need?

Does America need us to pray? Beneath the surface of our prosperity and blessing, is there a deep chasm of need and pain? In a country where half our marriages end in divorce, where suicides are higher than ever in our history, where teenage pregnancy is at an all-time high, were drug and alcohol abuse now starts in our elementary schools? Do we need to pray for our country?

Pray something

Jesus sees their crushing need, and so he says, “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field” (v. 38). “Ask.” In the King James, “Pray ye therefore.”

And here we come to the problem of prayer. When there is so much to be done, so many needs to be met, why pray? Why not just go? They know what to do, and they have Jesus’ example of how to do it. Why pray?

I cannot speak for any of you, but I will confess to you that this has been a problem of mine for years. Why pray?

My problem looks like this: does my prayer convince God to do something he would not otherwise do? If so, then am I talking God into doing the right thing? Am I more good than he, and must convince him to do what is right? On the other hand, if my prayer does not change God and his work, then why pray?

I know that some say, “Prayer doesn’t change God, prayer changes me.” It’s true that prayer changes me, but what do we do when what needs changing is not us? A child to be healed? A lost person to be saved? A nation in need?

If I pray, do I convince God to do something good? If I don’t, why should I pray? Do you see the problem?

James said that we have not because we ask not (James 4.2). I think one of the chief reasons we don’t ask more urgently, pray more passionately, is that we’re not sure why we should. Why it matters. Why it changes things. And when we do pray, we’re not sure our praying really makes a significant difference.

We pray for rain, but do we bring our umbrellas? We pray for healing, but do we really believe it will happen?

A young man concerned about his preaching once asked Spurgeon why he was seeing so few respond to his sermons. Spurgeon asked, “Well, you don’t expect someone to come every time you preach, do you?” “No, of course not.” “That’s why they don’t,” Spurgeon concluded.

This is even more true of praying. The obvious problem of prayer is that the modern church does so little of it. The underlying problem is that we’re not sure why we should.

Here’s the answer which has helped me enormously: prayer doesn’t change God, it positions me to receive what he already wanted me to have. When we ask God to move, we give him permission to move. When we ask him to heal us, we admit that we need him to heal us and we want him to. Then he can.

Every parent here knows what it’s like to want to help your children more than they will let you. You can solve their math problems, or fix their toys, or help them decide where to go to school, but they must let you. Their request for help doesn’t change your heart, but theirs. Then you can give what you already wanted them to have.

This is why we pray: to know God. To know his heart, his mind, his Spirit. And to receive from him what he already wanted us to have. Not because our prayer earns God’s favor—it simply receives it. It receives what Almighty God, our heavenly Father, wants us to have.

If you agree that America needs God’s favor, God’s power, God’s help, then you must ask. Not to change God, but us.

Do something

Here’s the outcome: “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness” (10:1). After they prayed, they received God’s power. His power to heal, to preach, to minister. Luke’s version tells us that they went through these towns, preaching the gospel, healing everywhere. They were given power which literally “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6 KJV). Power for ministry all across their nation. But the power to touch their nation came from the power of prayer.

I once heard Chuck Swindoll say at a Texas Baptist Evangelism Conference, “You can do great things for God after you pray. But you cannot do anything for God until you pray.” He’s right. When we pray we will receive God’s power. Power to work, to witness, to minister, to evangelize. Power to touch America. Power to touch the world.

Jonathan Edwards, the leader of one of America’s Great Awakenings, was asked the secret. He said, “Promote explicit agreement and visible union of God’s people in extraordinary prayer.” Andrew Murray explains why: “The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to the world’s evangelization in history.”

Do you agree?

What’s your prayer life like today? How close are you to Jesus right now? How committed to the life of prayer, of communion with him? Is prayer an activity or a relationship for you?

Do you pray regularly for your country? For your president and other leaders, as Scripture commands us? For the salvation of our people?

And are you willing to be part of the answer to that prayer? By beginning where you are, with the people you know and the needs you can touch today? By helping hurting friends, and showing them Jesus’ love in yours? By telling them that God loves them?


We begin the life of prayer by deciding to make Christ our personal Lord and Savior. We ask him in prayer to forgive our mistakes and take charge of our life. I invite you to make that commitment right now.

Then we determine to enter into the life of prayer, more fully and intentionally than ever before. This is how we know Christ. This is how we make him known to our nation, by his power. I invite you to make this commitment with me today.

Take this moment with me, and tell Jesus that you want to know him better. That you want to practice the life of prayer even more earnestly. That you need his power for your life and your nation, right now. Pray for your president and your leaders. Pray for God to intercede for the needs of our people. Do what Jesus asks his disciples to do: “Pray ye therefore.” God is waiting to hear from you, right now.

Measuring Success As God Does

Measuring Success As God Does

2 Samuel 12:24-25

Dr. Jim Denison

The Pythagorean theorem in mathematics can be stated in 24 words. The Model Prayer takes 66 words to recite in English. Archimedes’ Principle requires 67 words. The Ten Commandments (in the King James Version) comprise 179 words. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was composed of 286 words. The Declaration of Independence was written in 1,300 words. And United States government regulations on the sale of cabbage require 26,911 words.

But if you had to pick one word as your favorite, the one word which creates in most of us the strongest emotional reaction, the greatest immediate warmth and gratitude, you would likely pick “mother.”

It has been so for a long time. Mother’s Day was first celebrated in ancient Greece. In the 17th century, England began “Mothering Day.” Mothers who worked as servants lived in the homes of their employers, but were allowed to go home to their families on this one day. Most mothers would still say they work as servants in the homes of their employers. Not much has changed. But the rest of us are grateful.

In our David series we have watched his greatest victory and greatest failure. Today we’ll consider his greatest legacy. Here’s the one simple point of the message: God measures our success as parents by our faithfulness to him. Not by our society’s definitions of our children’s achievements. By our faithfulness to our Father.

Here’s why: our children typically become what we are. For some of us, that’s not necessarily good news. But God can redeem anyone and any family who will measure success by faithfulness to him. We’ll prove it today.

The story of Bathsheba

No one names their daughter Bathsheba. Last week we revisited the sin with which her name is most frequently associated. Today let’s take a moment to remember the rest of her story.

After her first child with David died, the Lord gave her a second son they named Solomon. But the Lord gave their baby a second name, “Jedidiah,” meaning “loved by the Lord.”

And indeed he was. Through his life and work, Israel reached its zenith of significance and wealth. Through the family line he continued, the Messiah would one day come for all of humanity.

After bearing Solomon, Bathsheba would later save him. His older brother Adonijah tried to claim the throne. If successful, he would have killed Solomon and any other threat to the crown. But Bathsheba alerted the dying king David, and he guaranteed Solomon’s ascension (1Kings 1).

According to Jewish tradition, Solomon later wrote the beautiful Proverbs 31 in honor of his mother. This text, so often read from Mother’s Day pulpits across the land, closes with words which are ironic, given Bathsheba’s earlier story: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate” (vs. 30-31). Despite the way her story began, her son knew her to be “a woman who fears the Lord.”

No matter how our story reads today, this is how it can end. And should.

Others in the family line

Now, let’s continue the story of mothers in the family of David. Matthew’s genealogy gives us four others, each worth remembering on this Mother’s Day.

Here is the first in his list: “Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar” (Matthew 1:3). Her first husband was put to death by God for wickedness, as was his brother, her second husband. When the third son grew to marriageable age, Judah was afraid for his boy’s life and refused to give him to Tamar. So she pretended to be a prostitute and slept with her father-in-law. The result was twin boys, Perez and Zerah, children of incest. But she’s in the story.

Second comes “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab” (v. 5a). Rahab was the town innkeeper and prostitute in Jericho. You already know her story.

Third is “Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth” (v. 5b). While her courtship with Boaz is a story of romance and beauty, her heritage was anything but.

Ruth was from the Moabite race, located east of the Dead Sea. Moab was the son of Lot (Genesis 19:36-37). Lot’s daughters got him drunk, and became pregnant by him. Moab’s name sounds like the Hebrew for “from father,” a perpetual reminder of the incestuous beginnings of this nation.

Later the Moabites led the Jews into sexual and spiritual immorality, so that 24,000 of Israel died in the wrath of God.

The Jewish people never forgot what Moab had done to them: “No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, even down to the tenth generation” (Deuteronomy 23:3). Further, the Jews were to remain perpetually at war with them: “Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them as long as you live” (v. 6).

And so we find in David’s family line a woman whose history should have barred her forever from such inclusion. Imagine a German descendent of Hitler as the mother of the Jewish prime minister, and you’d have a situation no less shocking than this. A woman forbidden by her race and history from ever entering into the worship of God, now an ancestor to the very One we worship.

Last we read, “Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” (Matthew 1:16).

She is today the most famous mother in all of history, but things certainly did not begin that way. Mary was a young teenager, a seventh-grader if she were alive today, when Gabriel called her to be the mother of the Messiah. The Jews had taught their girls to pray every night that they might be chosen for this honor. But they all expected the mother of the Messiah to be chosen from the royal family in Jerusalem, or the powerful among the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Sanhedrin. No one would have expected a peasant teenager living in the country hills of Galilee.

Measure success by obedience

And so we have five mothers in the line of David. What do they have in common?

They were all outsiders, foreigners of sorts. Tamar was a Canaanite (Genesis 38:1-6), as was Rahab (Joshua 2:1). Ruth was from Moab (Ruth 1:4). Bathsheba was married to a Gentile, which made her one in Jewish eyes (2 Samuel 11:3). And Mary was from Galilee, the rural hill country despised by the sophisticates in Jerusalem and Judea. They were each outsiders to proper society.

Theirs were troubled families. Incest in Tamar’s family, and Ruth’s race; Rahab a prostitute, Bathsheba an adulteress. Mary became pregnant before she was married to Joseph; while she was, of course, beyond reproach, her society didn’t see her that way.

And so all were unlikely choices to be useful to God. Matthew could not have found more scandalous names and stories to include in his genealogy. But matters were out of his hands. They were chosen by the Lord as ancestors for his only begotten Son, our Savior and Lord.

What’s the point? God measures success differently than we do.

I often think of the time Mother Teresa was opening a new ministry center in New York City. Of course, the media turned out in force for the event. A reporter asked the tiny nun how she would measure the success of this new effort. She turned, smiled into the glare of the cameras, and said, “I don’t believe our Lord ever spoke of success. He spoke only of faithfulness in love.” Do you agree with her?

Our culture says parents are successful to the degree that our children achieve status and social recognition. We are measured by their class rank, their sports achievements, their friends and popularity, the college they attend, the vocational success they attain.

But the Lord’s word to Samuel concerning David is his word of assessment for us all: “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

And so the Lord calls us successful to the degree that we are faithful to him, and teach our children to be faithful to him. They have freedom of will, and can choose to reject our example and teaching. But it is our responsibility to teach them the word and will of the Lord, whatever their response to his truth. This is not the job of the church, or the schools, or society. It is our job to teach our children the word and will of God. And to live what we teach.

With this knowledge ever before us: our children will do what they see. They will likely become what we are.

Aurelius Augustinus would have made the cover of People magazine, if it had been around in 354 AD. He had two mistresses, the first when he was only sixteen. He fathered an illegitimate child, and ran from one scandal to another. But his saintly mother Monica wouldn’t give up on her wayward son. Where he moved, she moved. While he sinned, she prayed. Finally, at 33 years of age, he came to faith in Jesus. He was ordained a priest, then a bishop; he wrote sixteen volumes of the greatest theology since Paul, and is considered the most brilliant Christian since the New Testament. To whom do we owe Augustine?

The mother of George Washington was known for her integrity and moral courage. And so her son “could not tell a lie.” To whom do we owe the character of the “father of our country?”

Susannah Wesley was the 25th child of her father and the mother of 19. She taught each of her children to recite the alphabet by his or her fifth birthday; when they turned six, she spent six hours each day teaching them Christian theology. Two of her sons, John and Charles, would in time found the denomination known as Methodist. John Wesley later said, “I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians of England.” To whom do we owe him?

Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Dwight Moody testified, “All that I have ever accomplished in life, I owe to my mother.” Charles Spurgeon agreed: “I cannot tell how much I owe to the solemn words of my good mother.”

John Newton’s mother prayed for her wayward, sinful son every day. Finally he came to Christ, and later wrote Amazing Grace, the most beloved hymn of all time. We have it because of his mother.

Do you believe that children usually become what we are?


That fact will be encouraging to you, if you are leading a godly life of biblical integrity and teaching your children to do the same. To you the message on this Mother’s Day is, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

But if today’s message is not encouraging to you, take heart. God is still on his throne, and he can still redeem us and use us for eternal good. No one would have thought Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, or Mary likely candidates for a Mother’s Day sermon 20 centuries later. But God measures success by faithfulness. If you will be faithful to your Father, and faithful to your children, you can trust eternity to God.

So, is today a good day to renew your obedience to your Father? A good day to submit and surrender your family, your future, your hopes and dreams to him? A good day to ask him to help you be all your heart longs to become? A good day to pray for your mother, or for her continuing influence in your life and soul?

Let’s close with the story of Jesus’ last days, when his friend Mary “took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair” (John 12:3). This was actually twelve ounces of one of the most expensive perfumes of their day.

She broke the clay vessel and poured its contents out unto her Lord. In the very same way, God has given every mother the privilege of pouring out the child given to her, unto God. Listen to this song about that event—may this be your commitment to God this day. Would you give your most precious treasure, that which God has given to you, back to him, right now?

One day a plain village woman,

Driven by love for her Lord,

Recklessly poured out a valuable essence,

Disregarding the scorn.

And once it was broken and spilled out,

A fragrance filled all the room

Like a pris’ner released from his shackles,

Like a spirit set free from the tomb.

Broken and spilled out just for love of You, Jesus;

My most precious treasure lavished on Thee.

Broken and spilled out and poured at

Your feet in sweet abandon;

Let me be spilled out and used up for Thee.

Lord, You were God’s precious treasure,

His loved and His own perfect Son,

Sent here to show me the love of the Father;

Yes, just for love it was done.

And though You were perfect and holy,

You gave up yourself willingly.

You spared no expense for my pardon;

You were used up and wasted for me.

Broken and spilled out just for love of me, Jesus;

God’s most precious treasure lavished on me.

Broken and spilled out and poured at

my feet in sweet abandon;

Lord, You were spilled out and used up for me.

In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out

and used up for Thee.

Benediction prayer:

Let’s close again this year with Peter Marshall’s beautiful Mother’s Day prayer, and express in its words our commitments together:

“On this day of sacred memories, our Father, we would thank Thee for our mothers who gave us life, who surrounded us early and late with love and care, whose prayers on our behalf still cling around the Throne of Grace, a haunting perfume of love’s petitions.

“Help us, their children, to be more worthy of their love. We know that no sentimentality on this day, no material gifts—no flowers or boxes of candy can atone for our neglect during the rest of the year. So, in the days ahead, may our love speak to the hearts of those who know love best—by kindness, by compassion, by simple courtesy and daily thoughtfulness.

“Bless her whose name we whisper before Thee, and keep her in Thy perfect peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The Sin Of The Second Look

The Sin of the Second Look

2 Samuel 11:1-5

Dr. Jim Denison

There’s an old fable about a frog preparing to swim across a river. A venomous snake slithered up to him and asked for a ride across the swollen stream. The frog said, “If I pick you up, you will bite me and I will die.” The snake promised he would do no such thing, that all he wanted was a way across the river.

Against his better judgment, the frog picked up the snake, placed him on his back, and began to swim across the river. Just s they reached the opposite shore, the snake bit the frog on his neck. The frog gasped, “Why did you bite me?” The snake replied, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

Last week we watched David’s greatest triumph. This week, we’ll explore his greatest failure. As we consider our relationships in biblical perspective, let’s remember the story of David and Bathsheba. And learn how not to make it our own.

Remember the tragedy

The tragedy begins “in the spring, at the time when kings go off to war” (v. 1a).

David has been established in Jerusalem about 10 years, and has been King of Israel about 17 years. He is probably in his late 30’s.

The “spring” is after the grain harvest in April and May, about this time of year. Ancient armies did not typically go to war during the winter months, due to the cold and rainy conditions; or during the harvest, lest the crops be ruined and the people starve.

So “David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army” (v. 1b). Leading his troops into battle was the primary responsibility of ancient Near Eastern rulers. If David had gone with his armies he would not have been home to sin with Bathsheba. But he would have come home some day. We must learn to defeat the enemies of the soul, for we cannot avoid the battle forever.

From the roof of his palace “he saw a woman bathing” (v. 2).

This should have been as far as it went, his first red light. Luther often said, “We cannot keep the birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from nesting in our hair.” We cannot prevent the first look, but we can prevent the second look. David did not.

To the contrary, he acted on his lust: “David sent someone to find out about her” (v. 3). He learned that she was the daughter of Eliam, one of the thirty members of his own royal bodyguard (2 Samuel 23:34), son of his personal counselor Ahithopel. She was the daughter of a close and trusted friend. This should have been his second red light.

And he learned that she was married to Uriah the Hittite. This should have been his third red light. She was married, as was he. And to a member of his personal bodyguard like his father-in-law (2 Samuel 23:39), one of his most loyal and faithful soldiers. What he contemplated would hurt his wife, her husband, her father, and their families.

But instead he sent for her, “she came to him, and he slept with her” (v. 4).

Perhaps she had no choice; but given the freedom David granted the citizens of his kingdom, most interpreters believe Bathsheba to have been a willing participant in this sin. Perhaps she was flattered to have been noticed by the king. Perhaps her bathing out in the open tells us something about her own moral condition. Or perhaps not.

Whatever her motives, the law was clear: “If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel” (Deuteronomy 22.22). And they both knew it.

After their affair, “the woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, ‘I am pregnant'” (v. 5). The law of unintended consequences came to life. The old adage is true once again: sin will always take you further than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay. Always.

Now one sin leads to others, as is inevitable.

David recalls her husband Uriah from the war and sends him home, assuming he will sleep with her wife and believe the child to be his. But Uriah, unlike his king, has too much honor and character to sleep at home while the armies are on the battlefield.

So David arranges for Uriah’s death in battle. He takes Bathsheba, now a widow, into his palace. To the unsuspecting world he is doing a great kindness, helping a bereaved and helpless woman. When her pregnancy becomes known, none will know that it occurred as it did.

But, “the thing David had done displeased the Lord” (v. 27). He knows our secret thoughts and sins, even if we think no one else does. The God of the universe “searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9). He asks, “Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” (Jeremiah 23:24).

He sent his prophet Nathan to the king. Taking his life in his hands, Nathan boldly proclaims, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7). He rebukes the monarch for his multiple sins. And the king responds, “I have sinned against the Lord” (v. 13).

What’s wrong with lust?

Let’s total the score. David coveted another man’s wife and stole her for himself, breaking the eighth and tenth commandments. He lusted after Bathsheba and committed adultery with her, breaking the seventh commandment. He then lied about his sin, breaking the ninth commandment. To cover up his sin he had Uriah killed, breaking the sixth commandment. His sin dishonored his parents, breaking the fifth commandment. He made Bathsheba an idol, breaking the second commandment, and dishonored the Lord his God, breaking the first and third commandments. The only commandment he left untouched was the fourth, requiring the Sabbath. This one act led to King David’s shattering of nine of the ten commandments. That’s the tragedy of sexual sin.

But our culture doesn’t care. Recent research indicates that 2.5 billion pornographic e-mails are sent every day. The New York Times reports that every month, 21 million Americans go to at least one of the more than 60,000 pornographic sites on the Internet. 53% of Americans say they would cheat on their spouse, given the right opportunity. Our culture’s position on sexual activity boils down to this: if you love someone, sex is how you say it.

With all this confusion, we need a clear word from the Lord.

Let’s begin with this fact: sexual attraction is not lust. God made us to be attracted to the opposite sex. It is not a sin to notice a beautiful woman or attractive man. It is only sin if we take that attraction to the next step. The sin is not the first look, but the second.

Jesus was clear: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).

Any desire for sexual relationship outside of marriage is wrong. Premarital or extramarital sexual relationship is wrong. Looking lustfully at another person, whether in person or on the Internet or television or magazine, is wrong. Lustful activity in a dating relationship is wrong.

Why? James, the half-brother of Jesus, knew the answer: “after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:15). Lust makes an eternal soul, a child of God, into a thing, a means to our end. It demeans us. It grieves the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, and uses the temple of God for immorality. And it never stops with the second look. It didn’t for David, a “man after God’s own heart.” It won’t with us, either.

How to win over lust

So how do we win this battle over sexual temptation? Consider these “ten commandments for defeating sexual sin.” The first eight deal with prevention, the last two with damage control.

One, expect to be tempted: “everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16). We live in a fallen world, where Satan is a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Two, decide now to say no: “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life” (Proverbs 6.25-26).

Follow Job’s example: “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1). Make that covenant today.

The tempter tells us that we can always quit, but it will never be as easy as it is right now. If it’s hard to refuse this temptation today, think how hard it will be tomorrow.

Three, see the end from the beginning.

Your sin will trap you: “You may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

Others will know: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known” (Luke 12:2). There is no “secret sin.”

Think out the consequence of this thought or temptation: adultery, divorce, shame, children damaged severely. This is where Satan is taking you. He wants to destroy you, not fulfill you! He’s like the drug dealer who gives you the first one free, to get you addicted, knowing the result before you do.

Four, transform your mind through time with God:

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

“Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:16).

Richard Dobbins is founder of “Emerge Ministries,” working with pastors who have fallen into sexual sin. He states that every single one of these pastors has one thing in common. In the days, weeks, and months leading up to their moral failure, not one of them had maintained a consistent time of daily devotions.

Five, ask someone to help you: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Accountability relationships are crucial in this area of life. Is someone praying for your moral purity? Are you praying for his or hers?

Six, know you can defeat any temptation God allows: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

God only allows those temptations he will enable us to defeat. Thus, if I’m being tempted by this, I can know immediately that I can defeat it, with his help. But Satan also knows which temptations I cannot defeat on my own; he’ll always bring these against me. So, every time I’m tempted I must say to myself: “I cannot defeat this myself, or Satan wouldn’t bring it against me; I can defeat this with God’s help, or he wouldn’t allow it.” There is no sin you must commit.

Seven, pray about the temptation immediately: “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

The most effective thing we can do against sexual temptation is to take it to God immediately. This is especially true if this is a habitual problem. Admit to God that you don’t have the strength to defeat this sin, and ask for his help now.

Eight, flee temptation: “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22). As Luther put it, if your head is made of butter, don’t sit by the fire. Flee—don’t stand and fight. When a lion is coming, you don’t put up your fists—you put on your track shoes and run.

Nine, if you have failed, confess your sin immediately: Speak to God: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

And as he leads you, speak to someone you trust: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

It’s easier to sin sexually after we already have; so stop the cycle now. Make things right with God now. Ask him to guide you in making things right with others.

Ten, refuse guilt after confessing sin: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

It’s easier to continue to sin if we think we’ve already blown it; so claim God’s grace now. He knew how you would sin when he made you, and he made you anyway. And died for you. He loves you as his child, no matter your failures, today.


Is there a snake on your back? Is one asking for a ride? Which commandments are God’s word for you this morning?

Will you imitate David this week, or will you learn from him today?