Monday, March 28, 2011


So I've decided that God likes themes...or maybe He just knows that's the only way He can get my attention long enough for me to pay attention.

And the theme lately has been "Sabbath-keeping."

As in #4: ""Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8).

It's actually one of the commandments God gave to Moses for the benefit of the people He had just delivered from 400 years of slavery. (I often have to remind myself that God never called them merely suggestions.)

If you look closely at Exodus 20, where God's "Top 10" are recorded, it's almost as if He knew we'd have trouble with this thing called Sabbath--just look how many words He used for this command compared to the others. He even tells us the "why"--"For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day" (11).

So, why is it that, all my life, I've found so many reasons to disobey this command, which God felt so strongly about that He originally carved it in stone with His own finger?

I could list one reason after another after another. But, bottom line, they all boil down to a lack of trust in me, and me making too much of myself and not enough of my Creator and his preordained rhythms for my life.

So, for the remainder of this Lent, I'm going to be intentional about keeping Sabbath. It will require planning and (at the risk of repeating myself) intentionality. More than that, it will require trusting that He will help me "finish" what needs finishing--if there is such a thing--and let go of the "unfinished".

Here are some words God has used in His Sabbath "theme" in my life lately, and some questions He's made me ask myself:
"The Deuteronomy reason for Sabbath-keeping is that our ancestors in Egypt went 400 years without a vacation (5:15). Never a day off. The consequence--they were no longer considered persons but slaves. Hands. Work units. Not persons created in the image of God, but equipment for making brick & building pyramids. Humanity was defaced." (Eugene Peterson)

1. How does my lack of Sabbath-keeping "deface" my made-in-the-image-of-God self?
2. What effect does this have on my relationship with God, with myself, with others?

"Sabbath-keeping is meant to be an expression of the truth that you are not a 'doing machine' but a deeply loved daughter or son of God. God is not interested in simply using you to get work done; He delights in you. And He provides free time once a week so that you might relish (His releasing you) from oppression and slavery." (Pete Scazzero, "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality)

3. How could I begin to see Sabbath as a time to delight in God? And to embrace the truth (and therefore to begin to feel) Him--the Creator of the universe--delighting in me?

"Sabbath is the stranger you've always known. It's the place of homecoming you've rarely or never visited, but which you've been missing forever....It's the song you never sang but, hearing it now, you know...its words and melody, its harmonies, its rhythm...It's been asleep in you all this time, waiting for the right kiss to wake it. Life is meant to be much different--fuller, richer, deeper, slower--from what it is.You know this. You've always known it. You've just been missing it your whole life." (Mark Buchanan, "The Rest of God")

4. How do these words make you feel about Sabbath?

FYI: In "The Rest of God," Buchanan is quick to point out that, besides busyness, the worst enemy of Sabbath-keeping is legalism. So, he adds:
"The law of Sabbath is not legalistic. It's a command given to save us from ourselves. If anything, the Sabbath command breaks us out of the prison of our own selfishness; it undoes our legalistic bent to go our own way...(In Judaism), the 'rest' of God got lost amid a maze of man-made rules. To recover Sabbath, returning to more rules is hardly an option.
Students of the Sabbath have long noted that God's command for it implicitly forbids creating. God created for six days, but on the seventh day He rested. So too with us: we can create (for) six days of the week. But the seventh day is when we stop trying to make anything and instead let the things we've made bless and serve us. Stop creating is the sum of it.
What is also implicit in the Sabbath command is our need for restoration....We need to be re-created after all our creating....Creating, as invigorating as it can be sometimes...wears us threadbare. Sabbath is not for more creating. It is for re-creating....Choose the re-creative (restorative) thing on Sabbath.
Cease from what is necessary. Embrace that which gives life. These two things, taken together, make up Sabbath's golden rule: "Cease from what is necessary, and embrace that which gives life."

5. How is legalism an enemy of Sabbath?

6. Why do you think God "rested" on the 7th day? How do you think God "rested"?

7. What would it look like if, this Sabbath, you "ceased from what is necessary, and embraced that which gives life"?

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it."
(Isaiah 30:15, NIV)

"If you watch your step on the Sabbath
and don't use my holy day for personal advantage,
If you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy,
God's holy day as a celebration,
If you honor it by refusing 'business as usual,'
making money, running here and there—
Then you'll be free to enjoy God!
Oh, I'll make you ride high and soar above it all.
I'll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob.'
Yes! God says so!"
(Isaiah 58:13-14, The Message)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rock-hard days between Mizpah and Shen...

"Will I ever be normal again?"

That question won't leave me. Mom asked it.

For those of you who don't know, mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in January 2010, two months after falling and shattering her hip. She is still in complete denial about the Alzheimer's diagnosis--she blames her memory lapses on the numerous mini strokes she's had--no matter how many times I try to explain to her that the strokes were in the area of her brain that controls balance, not memory.

And, even after often-ugly conversations designed to "help" mom see how her definition of "normal" causes her to make damaging choices, I still went there. I still tried to answer her question, "Will I ever be normal again?"

"Mom, it depends on how you define normal. If normal is being able to live alone and drive a car and be independent, then, no, you're not ever going to be normal again. I love you too much to lie to you. But if you can somehow see normal as being given another day to be grateful, and to try to bless those people whom God brings into your life, then you can have a pretty good normal."

And, as He tends to do, right there the Holy Spirit used my words to show me my often ungrateful self. To show me that I have high expectations about this thing called normal. For me, other words for normal could be entitled or expectations.

In fact, a sense of entitlement has defined most of my Christian journey. For so many years, I lived by the belief that, if I believed the "right" things, did the "right" things, made the "right" choices, then God would clear my path of any obstacles, and this journey home would be smooth sailing.

So, imagine my offended surprise when life didn't work out that way.

If the struggles of the past three years are teaching me anything, it is this:
There are no guarantees. Life is sometimes rock hard.
People you love deeply will sometimes leave.
Others will disappoint you.
And, right there, in the midst of all that grief and disappointment,
there will be days when you feel as if God Himself has left, has disappointed.
And, right there, the decision has to be made, "Am I still going to trust Him?
Am I still going to believe, even though the bottom of "normal" has fallen out, that He loves me and that He means it when He says, "I will never leave you or forsake you" ?
Am I still going to love Him back?...Even if nothing changes, even if my most desperate prayers are not answered, even if my expectations are disappointed...
Is He enough?"

Honestly, there have been days when my heart didn't have the answer to that question. Oh, I knew what the "right" response "should" be. But I'm tired of the "shoulds." Too much of my life has been about the "shoulds."

But, He has brought me to this day.
He has placed people in my life who love me in spite of myself.
He has answered prayers, some of which I only see in the "looking back".
He is slowly teaching me to throw my self-conceived ideas of "normal" out the window.
And, He alone has placed this flicker of desire for the answer to be "YES!" to His question "Am I enough?"
"Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen,
and called its name Ebenezer, saying,
'Thus far the LORD has helped us'.”
(1 Samuel 7:12, NKJV)
If you have time, read 1 Samuel 7, to get the battle-filled background of this verse.
Today, there's only one question:
How has God been your Ebenezer throughout your journey with and toward Him?
(Please feel free to share your own story of His faithfulness even during those rock-hard times of life.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

They Could Kill Somebody Like That...

So, I’ve been thinking about the masks I wear.

There are a LOT of them. Three of them would be: Capable, Cool, Christian. In fact, most of the time, I try to wear these three masks together to become "Sister Capable Cool Christian".

Don't get me wrong--Christianity is not JUST a mask for me. Through no worth or capability of my own, the saving blood of Jesus has miraculously forgiven the sin that separated me from God, transforming me from an enemy to a much-loved child. (What a Savior!)

But I too often find myself thinking about Christianity in the same way that I imagine members of country clubs think about their clubhouses and memberships and inter-club relationships.

Here's the question that reveals this "Christian-masked-me" to myself: How comfortable would I be if all the gang members and drug addicts and homeless people in Knoxville came and asked me to start telling them about Jesus in my church?  Or, better yet, in my home?

If I'm honest, I'm much more comfortable around "cleaned-up" Christians, and not even all of THEM.

But then, the closer I look at this saving Jesus, the more I realize He didn't hang out with cleaned-up church folks very much. Even his closest disciples were a bunch of losers by society's standards--several were fishermen, one was even a despised tax collector. None of them had been considered "good" enough to get an invitation to "rabbi school."

He was even accused by religious folks of being a drunken party-goer: "The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, 'He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners'!"

I don't know what, exactly, I'm supposed to do about this Christian-masked-me. I'm praying about it. But, I know something needs to change. But, the questions become, "Am I willing to surrender to this change? Or, do I still care more about what others think than about what God longs for?"

So, these were some of the questions in me me when I read the following words from "Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter":
"Whatever the Gospel means, we tell ourselves, it could not mean death. The first week of Lent begins with old John the Baptist. His sermons could not be titled, 'Be Good to Yourself.'...
John is not the Christ. (But) John is the one who gets us ready. So, how does one prepare? Repent, change your ways, get washed. John lets us take no comfort in our rites, tradition or ancestry. Everybody must submit to being made over....especially the religiously secure and morally sophisticated.
How shocked was the church to see its Lord appear on the banks of the Jordan asking John to wash him too (Matt.3:14-15). How can it be that the Holy One of God should be rubbing shoulders with naked sinners on their way into the waters?
When Jesus was baptized, his baptism was not only the inauguration of his mission, but also a revelation of the shockingly unexpected nature of his mission…On two occasions, Jesus uses ‘baptism’ to refer to his impending death. He asks his halfhearted disciples, ‘Can you…be baptized with the baptism with which I must be baptized?’ (Mark 10:38)
Jesus’ ‘baptism,’ begun in the Jordan and completed on Golgotha, is repentance, self-denial, metanoia to the fullest. (Metanoia: a radical revision and transformation of our whole mental process; a new mind).
John presents his baptism as a washing from sin, a turning from self to God. But Jesus seeks an even more radical metanoia. Jesus’ message is not the simple one of the Baptist, ‘Be clean.’ Jesus’ word is more painful--‘Be killed.’
Discipleship is more than turning over a new leaf. It is more fitful and disorderly than gradual moral formation. Nothing less than daily, often painful, lifelong death will do. So Paul seems to know not whether to call what happened to him on the Damascus Road ‘birth’ or ‘death’--it felt like both at the same time.
We may come singing 'Just As I Am,' but we will not stay by being our same old selves. The needs of the world are too great, the suffering and the pain too extensive, the lures of the world too seductive for us to begin to change the world unless we are changed....The status quo is too alluring. It is the air we breathe, the food we eat, the 6:30 news....The only way we shall break its hold on us is to be transferred to another dominion, to be cut loose from our old certainties, to be thrust under the flood and then pulled forth fresh and newborn. Baptism takes us there.
On the bank of some dark river, as we are thrust backward, onlookers will remark, 'They could kill somebody like that.’ To which old John (the Baptist) might say, 'Good, you're finally catching on’.”
--"Repent" by William Willimon

"Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life
—even though invisible to spectators—
is with Christ in God. He is your life.
When Christ (your real life, remember)
shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too
—the real you, the glorious you.
Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ."
Colossians 3:3-4
  • What struggles do you face between your "old life" and your "new life"? Why do you think this is?
  • What metanoia-like change(s) do you feel is (are) needed in your life?
  • What is your reaction to this Savior who chose to hang out with drunks and sinners rather than church folk?
  • What's your reaction to Willimon's thoughts on discipleship?--"Discipleship is more than turning over a new leaf. It is more fitful and disorderly than gradual moral formation. Nothing less than daily, often painful, lifelong death will do."

Friday, March 11, 2011

But who would I be without them?

So, I've been thinking about the Scriptures we've been reading from Isaiah and Psalms and the questions we've been asking ourselves.

And, as God often does when He wants to make sure I'm paying attention, it seems for the past two days those convicting words from Isaiah and David have been everywhere--songs on the radio, e-votionals, and the Ash Wednesday service I almost didn't attend.

After a busy day of job interviews and getting mom to a doctor appointment, I'd almost talked myself out of going to an Ash Wednesday service. (At this point, I should probably be honest and tell you one of the "fasts" I feel called to this Lent is to fast making excuses because of fear, discomfort, cynicism, etc.)

So, reluctantly, I went. (Why is it the Holy Spirit always shows up in "reluctant places"?)

The service was held at a church I've been wanting to visit, Apostles Anglican. As the different speakers began reciting those increasingly familiar words from Isaiah and David, I knew it was the Holy Spirit who had pushed me past my excuses, out of my comfort zone, and onto that wooden pew.

And, I believe I'm supposed to share some of Reverend Bryson's words with you. After the words from Isaiah and David, Reverend Bryson read the following words from Jesus (as translated in The Message):
"Be especially careful when you are trying to be good
so that you don't make a performance out of it.
It might be good theater,
but the God who made you won't be applauding.
When you do something for someone else,
don't call attention to yourself.
You've seen them in action, I'm sure—
'playactors' I call them—
treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage,
acting compassionate as long as someone is watching,
playing to the crowds.
They get applause, true, but that's all they get.
When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks.
Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively.
That is the way your God, who conceived you in love,
working behind the scenes, helps you out.
And when you come before God,
don't turn that into a theatrical production either.
All these people making a regular show out of their prayers,
hoping for stardom!
Do you think God sits in a box seat?
Here's what I want you to do:
Find a quiet, secluded place
so you won't be tempted to role-play before God.
Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.
The focus will shift from you to God,
and you will begin to sense his grace."
(Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21, The Message)

Rev. Bryson pointed out that, whenever we see the word "hypocrite" in our English Bibles, it's translated from the Greek word for "actor" (hupokrites). In Biblical times, actors typically wore masks, depending on the character they were playing. So, with that background, here are some words from his sermon:
"Most of us live our lives behind a mask. We're afraid that if people see behind our mask, they won't love us.
....There is even a mask called 'no mask'.
....Our masks do nothing to heal us--they only hide us.
....But, Jesus already sees and knows all the ugliness behind the mask, and He says, "I love you child...this much"...and He stretches out His arms on a cross and dies.
....Lent is a time to let God help us take off our masks and offer our unmasked selves wholeheartedly to Him. Doing so is vulnerable and can make us feel completely naked.
....He has not called us to be actors--He has called us to be ambassadors. He has called us to be 'a rebuilder of walls, a restorer of homes, to raise up the foundations of many generations'--that means for our children and our grandchildren and their children....Could there be anything more beautiful than to live like that?"
At this point in the service, I stood in line for the "Imposition of Ashes," yet another occasion where I had to "fast" fear. As the Holy Spirit would have it, when my "turn" came, I stood before this man who had just spoken those powerful, convicting, comforting words. As he traced the ashes on my forehead, he said quietly: "My sister, from dust you were formed, and to dust you shall return."

And I began to cry. My heart and mind flashed back to a conversation with mom from earlier in the day. She couldn't remember something she wanted to tell me, and became frustrated and angry. She asked me, "Am I ever going to be normal again?"

NORMAL. What a loaded word for 6 little letters.

Over the past few years, I've lost count of the times mom has said to me, "I just always wanted to be normal." The sad irony is that her definition of 'normal' and the choices she made trying to achieve it brought even more chaos into her life.

But, if I'm honest, I have to confess that 'NORMAL' is a mask I wear. I too want to fit in and "just be like other people." And, inevitably, that 'normal' mask causes me abnormality, confusion and sin.

It strikes me as no coincidence that, the morning after Ash Wednesday service, when I opened my favorite Lenten book, the page fell open to some words I wrote years ago: "Before Jesus shows us who He is, He has to show us who we are."

Wow! Those words still rattle my masks.

So, here are some questions I've been thinking about. Maybe they'll speak to you too:

*What masks am I wearing? (In other words, how might Jesus be trying to show me who I am so He can show me who He is?)

*How might the Holy Spirit be trying to "unmask" me so I can offer my wholehearted, unmasked self to God?

*What is an "ambassador"?

*Where have I been an actor instead of an ambassador?

*How can I be "a rebuilder of walls, a restorer of homes", starting with my own family, this Lent?
(FYI, in the Old Testament, when Isaiah wrote these words, "walls" provided protection from the enemy.)

*How do I define "normal"? Does that definition help or harm my spiritual growth?

With these questions in mind, let's turn these words from a forgiven, grateful David into a prayer:
"The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts."
(Psalm 103:8-18 NIV)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy...

Until recently, I never realized that, for centuries, certain parts of Christ's Body have followed and observed a "church calendar." During the 14 years I was a Presbyterian, I became somewhat familiar with the Church season of Advent, observed for the four weeks before Christmas. But, even there, not much attention was given to observing Lent, the 40-day period preceding Easter, which is historically marked by fasting and acts of mercy.

So, it came as a surprise when the Holy Spirit began moving my heart to find out more about Lent, especially given the fact that, by that time, I had "become" a Southern Baptist (at least for the time being...though deep in my heart I still think of myself as a Pentecostal. To this day, when people ask me what I "am," I jokingly respond, "I'm a PresbyBaptiCostal.")...Since discovering this beautiful, often painfully revealing 40-day journey of Lent, the Holy Spirit has brought more resources into my path than I could ever read (much less apply).

And, just so you know, I've given up trying to "predict" what the Holy Spirit wants to teach me during these 40 days. He ALWAYS surprises me...shows me more of my selfish self than I want to see...asks me to obey Him in ways my pride kicks against...but He ALWAYS shows me more of HIMSELF, HIS Kingdom, HIS Love.

Here are some questions you may be asking:
Q. Do I have to fast?
A. Only if the Holy Spirit moves your heart to do so. And...He's shown me that "fasting" does not necessarily involve food. One of the most difficult "fastings" He called me to was to "fast" wrong attitudes. (That year, I lost count of the times I "broke my fast". Let's just say, it was a humbling 40 days.)...Bottom to Him about it--He WILL let you know.

Q. Do I have to buy anything?
A. No. I'll be posting Scripture, readings and a few questions each day on the blog for us to read, comment on, pray about, etc. Of course, I'll reference any books I use, in case you want to buy them. And...please let me know of any books or studies you've used that have helped you.

Q. What's required of me?
A. I like to leave most requirements up to the Holy Spirit. With that said, I do ask that you pray for the old and new friends you might meet on our Lenten journey--that the Holy Spirit would do a new work of redemption, renewal, restoration, revival and resurrection in our lives and the lives of their families.

Q. How can I share with others participating in this study/journey?
Feel free to post comments, questions, etc., in the "Comments" section below each post. However, for the sake of privacy, please refrain from using whole names when making prayer requests. And, if you read something you don't understand or agree with, pray about it first...and remember that God always wants our responses to come from a heart filled with the fruit of His kindness and gentleness living in us.

You might also want to begin a journal for these next 40 days, where you can write down your thoughts on our Scriptures and other readings, your prayers, questions, how God is working in your life, etc. (This doesn't have to be can use a plain old notebook...or even typing paper stapled together.)

So, if you feel led, come along. It begins with some words from the prophet Isaiah and a few questions that follow. And, today's study ends with a prayer from the broken heart of King David.
1-3 "Shout! A full-throated shout!
Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what's wrong with their lives,
face my family Jacob with their sins!
They're busy, busy, busy at worship,
and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they're a nation of right-living people
— law-abiding, God-honoring.
They ask me, 'What's the right thing to do?'
and love having me on their side.
But they also complain,
'Why do we fast and you don't look our way?
Why do we humble ourselves and you don't even notice?'
3-5"Well, here's why:
"The bottom line on your 'fast days' is profit.
You drive your employees much too hard.
You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight.
You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do won't get your prayers off the ground.
Do you think this is the kind of fast day I'm after:
a day to show off humility?
To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black?
Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like?
6-9"This is the kind of fast day I'm after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed, cancel debts.
What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'
9-12"If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people's sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You'll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.
13-14"If you watch your step on the Sabbath
and don't use my holy day for personal advantage,
If you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy,
God's holy day as a celebration,
If you honor it by refusing 'business as usual,'
making money, running here and there—
Then you'll be free to enjoy God!

Oh, I'll make you ride high and soar above it all.
I'll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob."
Yes! God says so!     (Isaiah 58, The Message)

1. Has there ever been a time in your life when the externals of worship took precedence over the real heart and reason for worship?

2. If so, what was the result?

3. What reasons does God give for "not looking our way"?

4. What kind of fast does God long for?

5. What does He say will be the harvest from this type of fast?

6. How have we gotten away from God's plan for the Sabbath?

7. What simple steps might God be calling us to take to restore His purpose for fasting and Sabbath in our lives?

These words from Isaiah cut me to the quick--not much has changed since he wrote them thousands of years ago--at least in my heart. I say I long to fast according to God's desires, but some things He asks take me WAY out of my selfish comfort zone.

It seems a good time to pray these words written by King David (which many commentators believe he wrote after he was confronted by God's prophet, Nathan, about his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband, Uriah, who had been one of Israel's faithful soldiers). Let's turn David's words into our own prayer as we end the first day of this Lenten journey:
1Have 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 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.
5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 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.
12Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
(Psalm 51:1-17 ESV)