Create in me a clean heart.

Psalm 51: 7-12

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Create in me a clean heart.

I love that God is in the business of creating. He takes something from nothing. He takes something wretched and renews it. He takes old bones and breathes life into them. If we look closely at what is going on around us, we will see His creative work.

Here, in southern Indiana, we are experiencing Spring. For me, Spring is a season but also a perspective. I feel rejuvenated. All of creation is abuzz. For some reason, it is easier for me to notice God’s work in the world but also His work on me. He creates

a clean heart …

a new perspective …

the ability to forgive …

opportunities to show His love …

Thank you, Lord, for my clean heart. You scrub the old, crusty, and cantankerous parts away and clean me up. Let me see others through a clean heart today.

Blot out all my iniquities.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Blot out all my iniquities.

I am either tormented about my sins or I blissfully carry on in them. I wish there was a middle ground. When I am “in a mood” I notice everyone else’s. And, when I am really broken, I try to prevent God’s grace from washing over me.

I have not struggled with whether or not my sins are forgivable. But I do often struggle with the domino effect of my actions — the pain and hurt others experience because of my selfishness. Unfortunately, those consequences are sometimes set in motion and cannot be undone.

I am so thankful for God’s forgiveness. His action. His blotting of all my iniquities!

Purge me with hyssop.

Psalm 51: 7-12
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right[b] spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Purge me with hyssop.

We don’t typically request to be purged with hyssop these days. Hyssop was commonly used to treat leprosy back in Bible times. But I use the word “purge” frequently. And it is definitely an intense action.

I need to purge the junk that I haven’t sorted through during the last few moves. But purging also happens at an ugly level. I have heard of the Holocaust referred to as a purging of the Jewish people. What a sad use of the word. What an ugly time in history. I don’t believe people are meant to be purged.

However, if it has to do with me and my own sin, purge is the word that applies. Purge is a harsh word. It’s drastic action. But, with sin, it is good to get to the root and be as complete as possible.

Cleanse.

Wash.

Purge.

Thank you, Lord, for your action. Each day I start anew.

Teach me wisdom.

Psalm 51:1-6

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Teach me wisdom.

I can guarantee that God has been keeping up His end of the bargain on the teaching end. But, you know how it goes, there is some responsibility on the learner. Being open to the teachings is incredibly important. It’s critical. Sometimes my own roadblocks and attitude prevent me from learning. Sometimes there are disappointments and life challenges that interrupt my ability to listen to and learn from God.

My prayer is that my heart is open to God’s wisdom and discernment. That God continues to teach me through His Word. And that I would release any improper assumptions about Him and that I am open to learning from Him.

Cleanse me from my sin!

Psalm 51:1-6

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Cleanse me from my sin!

Why is it that it is so much easier to see and address the sins of others and not my own? Maybe it is a combination of my own sinful nature and an effective distraction from satan. If I am so busy looking at everyone else’s sin, I have little time to examine my own. But, unexamined sin leads to a greater separation from the One who can cleanse us.

Look what we miss out on if we ignore or pass over our own sin! We miss the reconciliation and the relief of God’s grace and mercy. This cleansing business is repeated work. It’s a bit like dishes and laundry, it’s always there. But, our daily acknowledgement and awareness helps us not get so far stuck in the depths of sin. I don’t think the point is for me to be stuck in the “poor, miserable sinner” mode but to be celebrating the work of our Savior! Look at what He has done for us!

It’s cold and we are getting ready for another winter storm. There are things happening in the world that are out of my control. But, I know God loves me and He is providing for me every day. He restores my soul and cleanses me from my sin! I am so thankful!

Wash me thoroughly.

Psalm 51:1-6

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Wash me thoroughly.

A thorough washing has an attention to detail. God knows our details. He is thorough.

What Good News that is!

When I am thoroughly washed, I feel differently. I act differently. Give me a day or two in bed with an illness or injury and unable to take a shower, it feels icky and I don’t like it. At all.

When you take your next shower or bath, think about how God washes you thoroughly. Let the waters remind you of your baptism. Don’t fall for the lie that you’ve done too much or gone too far to be forgiven. That is satan whispering, talking, shouting….he wants there to be a wedge between you and your Savior.

But God….

He loves you.

He has mercy for you.

He blots out your transgressions.

He wants to wash away those sins and iniquities.

Thoroughly.

Blot out my transgressions.

Psalm 51:1-6

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Blot out my transgressions.

What a relief that the God who created the Universe tends to my offenses. They are numerous, to be sure. And I am grateful. I can always endeavor to do better, but the fact remains that I am not nor ever will be perfect on my own. My perfection comes through Jesus.

It’s a relief that I don’t have to work and work to try to erase my own sins. The work has been done. And my response? It takes a different twist every time I consider what God has done — and is doing — for me.

I am relieved.

I am grateful.

I more easily forgive others.

I stand taller.

I rest.

I can relax knowing that the work is done. God’s work is complete and continuous — all at the same time. The depth of God’s love and mercy is more than I can even imagine!

May you know the deep relief of God’s mercy and grace as you consider your transgressions. His provision is more than enough.

Have mercy on me, O God

Psalm 51:1-6

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Have mercy on me, O God

Originally, when I started this Lenten series, I was thinking about verbs and things that God asks of us through His Word. And then as I was processing the week and the highlighted verses, it seemed to me that I needed to shift the focus from what we should, can, or have been encouraged “to do” to what God has done.

It all starts with what God has done for us.

Can we give what we haven’t been given? No. Any mercy we can extend comes from the Mercy Giver.

So, as you go about your day, receive what God has gifted you. Consider His mercy today. And each day, during this Lenten season, let’s receive these good gifts from our Heavenly Father. An awareness of what we have been given better prepares us to give.

Hold fast what is good.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 ESV

12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Hold fast to what is good.

It is sometimes hard to hang onto what is good when my hands are full of things that are not. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to let go of all kinds of junk so I can take up the good.

God has given us good words and good gifts and the world wants to knock those out of our hands. Hold tight to them! Hide them in your heart. Keep them in sight. 

Hold fast to what is good.

Help the weak.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 ESV

12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Help the weak.

Sometimes those who appear the strongest are actually weak. And, not that we need to spend any time judging the weakness or strength of others, but we are asked to assist. To serve. To help. Who in your circle needs help? Who outside of your circle needs your help? Some are weak in mind, weak in heart, weak in faith — and I don’t know that God (through the apostle Paul) has specified what kind of weakness He is referring to. We are simply asked to serve.

May God bring to mind those who need our assistance and may He give us the courage to assist.