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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

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"Have mercy on me O God!' The psalmist cries out to God in the midst of despair over his sin, despair for broken relationships, particularly feeling distanced from God. Yet we hear through the psalmist's despair, a confident hope in a God who is merciful. Even though the sin is grave, God is one who can be trusted. God is one who can create clean hearts, restore us to joy and sustain in us a willing spirit. When God does this, we are free to teach others God's ways, to declare God's praise with opened lips. Through this proclamation, sinners are invited to return to God. Even in the midst of our greatest transgressions, God can be trusted to bring about a new and right spirit within each of us. A life that was once crushed can now rejoice. For our God is merciful and full of steadfast love for all creation.

Create in me a clean heart O God, for through your steadfast love I find forgiveness and freedom. Amen.

Krista Lind
Associate Dean of Student Resources and Candidacy, Luther Seminary
Master of Religious Education , 1997

Psalm 51:1-17 (NRSV)

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.