Returning From Lo Debar – Part One

Returning From Lo-Debar – Part One

And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” 2 Samuel 9:3-4 ESV

Before David was the king of Israel, he served in King Saul’s army and became a well-loved figure in the king’s court (That is well loved by everyone except Saul.) Not long after David killed Goliath, Saul’s son Jonathan became David’s closest friend. Then when things fell apart and David found himself running for his life, Jonathan came to his defense. That is when they made promises to each other to always be friends, though sadly, things didn’t work out as they had planned. They never had the chance to be best men at each other’s weddings or to do any of the things that friends do, because Jonathan was killed in battle, trying to defend his father when a neighboring nation invaded. In fact, the situation was worse than just a defeat in battle. The invaders also killed every one of Jonathan’s family members they could find.  But, after David had mourned, he remembered his promise to always take care of Jonathan’s family. That is how we come upon the scene of today’s conversation. David discovered that there was one child left, a young man named Mephibosheth who lived in the Biblical boondocks, in a town named Lo Debar.

Now might say, “That’s sort of interesting, but what does it have to do with me?” And the answer is, “Everything!” You see Lo Debar was not just a town in Hicksville. Lo Debar was also the scene of the defeat of Saul’s once mighty army and the place of Jonathan’s death. Talk about being in a depressing, hopeless and bitter spot: well Lo Debar sure fits the bill. Now it just might be that as we are entering a New Year that you look back and can only remember the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship or a moral failure. In fact, that place of pain may still be so powerful that you have bought a house there and moved in!

But the good news in that You are not forgotten by the King! Not content just to hear about you, God is sending you an invitation to return. Lo Debar is not your home. Last year might have been a horrible mess, but God has something way better for the future. He has sent you an invitation, but you have to open the envelope and read His promise. Are you ready to start packing? Lo Debar might be your address today, but Jesus has a place prepared for you that is better than anything you can possibly imagine!

Are You Washed?

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 ESV

Recently we enjoyed watching the old film, “Annie” She reminds me a lot of my early life, when I was living on the streets. Of course you do not need to be homeless to want someone to rescue you, love you and be willing to include you in their family. The story of Annie could be the story of every person looking for God. When I first became a Christian, the song, “Are You washed in the Blood?” was popular in our church. I loved it because it was lively and easy to sing, and it expressed the joy I had in my new found life. It is strange to think of blood washing something, because as anyone who does laundry can tell you, blood stains are some of the hardest to remove. Even when bleach or other cleaners are used, they still show up under ultraviolet light. But God doesn’t do things according to our way of thinking. In His plan, the blood of Jesus Christ is the perfect cleansing solution for the sin stains on our hearts. But how does it work? How can the blood of Jesus wash away my sin?

Today’s verse explains that we have to begin by walking in the light. In other words we must be honest with God. We need to come to God without pretending and confess our sins to Him. He knows the truth anyway and sent Jesus to die so that we could be forgiven. Secondly we learn that when we are honest with God, we can begin to walk with Him. Since God always tells us the truth, if we will tell Him the truth, we begin our new journey with Him. Last of all the Bible tells us that walking with God means more than just trying to keep up with him like a toddler rushing after His parent. It means having fellowship with Jesus Christ. He is the one whose blood washed away our sin because He wanted us as His children and friends forever. Since we have His promise that He wants to have a relationship with Him, what are we waiting for? As we drove home recently through rural South Carolina we noticed a sign on a small church with a great question:

Photo by Jimmy Chan on

“Mosquitoes know there is power in the blood. Do you?”

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing pow’r?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are You Washed in the Blood? by Elisha Hoffman 1878

I hope you like this throw back video of Earl Scruggs playing it the way I learned it back in the day. Be blessed, tap your feet and sing along!!

The Face of My Father

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:31-32 KJV

“Go sit on your bed until your father get’s home!” were the most terrifying ten words of my childhood. Those long minutes or hours as I waited for the return of my stepfather from work only magnified the fears that I had of the inevitable punishment that awaited me. The last person’s face I wanted to see was his. After I became a Christian it took me quite a few years to be able to pray to the Father. Sure I said the words in corporate worship but when I was alone I would pray only to Jesus. I would say things like, “I’m only coming to you Jesus. Will you forgive me and help me?” Sometimes it felt like I was still sitting on my bed, waiting for punishment. The last person I wanted to see was my Heavenly Father. How little did I know of the tender love of a father who sent His own Son to die in my place. How much He must have wanted me to run to Him and how patient He was for me to slowly unwrap the mystery of the great -great love of His heart. He was not looking forward to coming home so He could pull out His celestial belt to punish me. Instead He had sent Jesus to die in my place so that He could wrap me in His arms. God was not listening to the long litany of my sins, becoming angrier by the second. Instead, He was preparing to freely give me anything I needed because of Jesus Christ. What a love is this? Now I look forward to His return! In fact the very first face I l want to see is the face of my true and eternal father in Heaven. All this time He has been by my side sitting next to me and loving me as His child!

This was Dad at Our Wedding (I look nervous!)