Update

It has been a bit of time since I added a post. This seems to happen after my January trip to Mexico – really not a bad thing but rather a sigh and looking back on such a wonderful experience.

I took an opportunity I have here at my local church to put together a summary of what the ladies’ groups have done in Cofradia. You can help pray that it is useful to begin or further a conversation with one of our missionaries in women’s ministry. Cofradia report summary This is a PDF that may or may not be of interest to anyone, but I do ask that you pray for the Cofradia women’s group, the CyFair ladies, and the First Baptist Church women’s groups.

Thank you.

I am involved in an exciting adventure this year. Our women’s study leadership group is doing a trial run with a daily chronological Bible reading program. The web site is here – As We Walk Along – and you are invited to click the sidebar there to join in. An email will be sent to you daily with questions based on the reading and your comments are very welcome! I admit to having a lot of comments on the blog – just can’t help myself – I am excited about this opportunity and the potential for more to join “As We Walk Along”. Isn’t that really why we do Bible study? To feed on, to correct our walk, to invite others to join, and to say “Come!”

Studying the Psalms? Read and Respond.

The Book of Psalms is the longest book of our Bible; it is the most frequently quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament (over 400); it contains the longest chapter (119) and the shortest chapter (117); and, the middle verse is Psalm 118:8 which reflects the theme of God’s Word, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” The Psalms have been called many things: Praises, Songs of the Soul, Wise Worship, the Anatomy of the Soul, Israel’s Hymnbook, etc. We have learned that the Psalms are poetry with a literary form and images that give layers, depth, and richness to our understanding of spiritual things. So what does one do with them?

There are several biblical texts that tell us the purpose and use of the Holy Scriptures:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the (wo)man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4

And “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

My personal reading and study times in the Psalms are of immense pleasure. I have had to stop and ponder, for quite a while, to understand how and why I feel this way about the Psalms. A significant portion of their value is that they represent a God breathed – inspired – response from man to God; to the work and revelation of God Himself; they teach an acceptable way to appreciate God’s creation, creatures and earth; and they give patterns of appropriate expression of the full range of the emotions of our souls. While much of the Bible is received as instruction, reproof, training, and wisdom, the Psalms are a collection of man’s outpouring of worship, praise, expressions of need, and articulations of emotions to God.

Studying the Psalms has taught me to see the deliberateness of this kind of communication with God. There are any number of Psalms that begin with vivid descriptions of the dangers that one of God’s own is facing – hiding in dark caves, being pursued by a powerful enemy, the pain of slander and deceit, wickedness, death, sickness, and even God’s own judgments. God has impressed upon me the remarkable honesty and specificity present in these petitions towards God. There have been times, that while I knew a feeling of anxiety, I only found the words to express those feelings in the rich words of the Psalms. The very intentional expression of a situation and the poetic use of the parallel verse and metaphors lead one to the reality of Psalm 118:8, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” Wonder of wonders, the power, love and work of God comes into focus out of the cloud of emotion and fog of fear.

Our emotions are real and they are a part of how we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. I’m sure that Jesus experienced every non-sinful emotion known to mankind when he appeared and lived among us. Emotions can be a reaction to a stimulus or event, but I have to wonder if the pattern in the Psalms is more self-control than simply a reaction. The pattern in the Psalms is to express the fear, difficulty, worship, or praise to God and as this is done God is glorified and known. The catalyst for the problem or praise does not necessarily go away, but God’s power, glory, and care becomes our refuge.

Consider:

“… for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-23

Studying the Psalms illustrates many opportunities for the working of this form of Scripture towards self-control even in our emotions. The poetic form is easier to memorize and ‘hidden in the heart’ to work day and night. Parallel verse requires the writer and a reader to continue thinking through one thought until it is rich with meaning. There are Psalms that follow an acrostic formula where each verse or section begins with each character of the Hebrew alphabet. This is a good model to follow when worried – just sit down and list out attributes of God for each letter of our alphabet! We wouldn’t get all the way through before realizing that God is able! The careful selections of metaphors – those described images that represent for us an indescribable thing – carry over to us today. Who doesn’t understand the metaphor of the Good Shepherd and Peter’s declaration, “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25) Finally, the intentional construction of the Psalms occurs in praise or laments that are connected to events preserved and identified for us in the titles of the songs. They give us a record of the events and the responses of the people as they happened.

In our Cofradia lesson, we will explicate a Psalm that is connected to an event that involved great emotions and passions – Psalm 51 and 2 Samuel 11-12. I don’t expect to teach the full range of thoughts as in this post. The goal of this lesson is to teach us that many of the Psalms are a biblical record of a response to a real event of great emotions. We are made with emotions and God has graciously provided us tools to train that part of our heart too. We can use the Psalms for this training and for the words to express a response to God. Jesus spoke the Psalms while in deepest sorrow on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Do you have a response to His sorrow?

Another WORD regarding Psalm 19

I can’t seem to leave Psalm 19 just yet…

Psalm 19 can be divided into three sections, each of which revolves around words. The first six verses tell us that the very existence and exquisite functioning of creation are soundless words that declare the glory of God; the next five verses refer to the perfection and profitable benefits of the words of God in His law, testimony, precepts, and commandments – words written for our great reward; the psalm concludes with a prayer for God’s word to work in us and on our thoughts and words.

The word theme in this psalm reminded me of one of my favorite passages of scripture and it seems appropriate to bring it forward in this advent season.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … And the Word become flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. … And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. John 1:1-5, 14, 16-18

Then I also thought of an often used quote attributed to Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.” This quote is certainly a useful reminder that others read messages from our actions but really – How does another person know the good news message of John 1, without shared words? Service to other’s needs shows compassion and care, actions may speak louder than words that one is a new creature, but it is not possible to bring another person to the Salvation who visited on mankind without speaking the words of the gospel. Peter acknowledged the importance of words. Many followers left when Jesus’ teaching turned to the ‘foolishness’ of his body and body and he asked the small group of disciples if they too would walk away from him. Peter’s response: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)

Can you proclaim, preach, discuss, speak, and give witness to the good news of the Gospel with real words, words of eternal life?

Think about this now, at Christmas time. So many opportunities to lead into the words of good news!

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us – Immanuel.

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” – Savior. (Matthew 1:20-21)

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ (Messiah), God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God – The Prince of Peace. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. – Glory, Glory, Glory to the Lord! (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Studying the Psalms? Read with all of your ‘eyes’

The literature term for what we will learn about today is Metaphor. A metaphor may be a figure of speech – like the apple of his eye – or writing about a thing that we can see with our mind’s eye to represent or teach us a spiritual truth that is seen by the eyes of our heart. For example, you may know that Jesus saves but when you see the metaphor, “Hide me in the shadow of our wings,” you begin to understand what your salvation means – you are protected from many evils that would threaten and harm you. You realize that the closer you draw under those wings, the more you trust His protection, the safer you are in Jesus Christ.

We read with our physical eyes by looking at the letters, words, and even the form of the print on the pages. Our brains interpret the letters, words, and phrases to give them meanings. Good writers can assemble the letters and words in a way that creates visual images in our imaginations. My image may be different than yours but we both ‘see’ something when we read the word ‘water’. When a writer uses an image of something we both understand – ocean – chances are better that what we see in our minds is similar.

The poetry in the Psalms is best understood when read with all of our eyes. So let’s learn more about using all of these eyes.

The Psalms are written to be appreciated with our ‘mind’s eye’ – our imaginations. The Psalms use vivid images to convey meaning and this is the proper place for us to use our imaginations to see these pictures. Psalm 17:8 says, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” Here are two word pictures. They are written as a request, a prayer to God from you – His loved one.

Use your mind’s eye imagination to see what this verse is saying. The apple of the eye is the reflection you see in someone else’s eye when you are very, VERY close! Can you imagine getting that close to someone? It seems very intimate! In the second picture, a large strong bird is sheltering the smaller, weaker one beneath a wing. The little weak bird stays there – safe, warm, protected from everything! If you imagine well, perhaps you can feel the warmth of that protection or hear the heartbeat of your protector.

The Psalms are also meant to be read with the eyes of our hearts. One of the songs we sing is “Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord.” This song is a prayer to open our eyes – the eyes of our heart – to see God. Jesus told the Samaritan woman he met at the well that God is Spirit and that He desires worshippers who worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4) In another instance, Jesus walked with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus after his death and resurrection. These two men did not recognize Jesus until he opened their eyes. (Luke 24:13-35) The eyes of our hearts see spiritual things, and God is the one who opens these eyes for us.

Psalm 17:8 is a prayer. You are asking God to keep you as close as the reflection in His eye! What would happen if someone wanted to harm that reflection? The eyelid would close and the reflection is safe. We used our imaginations to see the strong bird protecting the weak under His wing but let’s try to see with the eyes of our hearts. The writer is telling us that God is our refuge from all the evils around us that try to hurt us. You ask God for His protection and you are safe in this refuge as you stay close to Him. The eyes of our heart might also remember the story of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth and Naomi returned from a foreign land without the protection of husbands. Ruth worked in the field of Boaz and at the harvest festival she asked to hide under the covering of his robe because he was her kinsman redeemer. When God wakes the eyes of our hearts, we will glean many spiritual truths from all of the scriptures.

To study and learn from the Psalms use your eyes to read and study the words written in the Psalms, use your mind’s eye to imagine the pictures and examples shown to you, and ask God to open the eyes of your heart to the spiritual truths He has for you. When we learn to do this, God will make the words work in our minds and hearts to know Him better.

Psalm 19 is a magnificent Psalm to practice reading with all of our eyes. Read it and ask:

  • What do the words say?
  • What images do the words show to my mind?
  • What does God tell about Himself and about me?

Reading the Psalms? Follow the Parallel Lines

The psalms we find in the Bible are Hebrew poetry. If we tried to translate a Spanish poem into English, there are some parts of the poem – the rhyme, rhythm, and word play – that we just cannot appreciate. That is also true about this Hebrew poetry, but by learning about a few techniques that these inspired poets used, we will better appreciate the Hebrew poetry in our Bibles. Then we can use these songs and prayers in our speaking to God.

One of these techniques is called Parallelism.

Hebrew poetry uses a writing form called parallelism. This is a deliberate setting out of lines of thought that run along in the same track – one line expresses a thought, the next line expresses the same thought just a bit differently. This technique may be used for two, three, or more lines. The effect is somewhat like adding flavors in a recipe. For instance in mole – one flavor is OK but the right layering of many flavors makes it such a wonderful feast!

At times, the parallelism will structure a thought using an opposite to contrast as in light and darkness or a beast of the field contrasted with a gentle mother makes the beast even more frightening.

EXAMPLE:

A train runs on parallel tracks;

The lanes of a road safely direct cars;

A runner keeps to the path that is marked;

But the lazy man sits on the porch.

In this silly set of lines, the transportation of commercial goods and families are identified to have certain lanes approved and available to accomplish the needs of people. An athlete whose goal is to complete a race runs hard and fast only on the race route, and this diligent one is contrasted with a lazy person who accomplishes nothing and moves nowhere! The train runs and a human runs; the car is safe in its lane and the lazy man is safe on his porch, but only one is advancing to a destination.

As our first example in the Psalms, let us consider Psalm 119:25-32.

Verses 25-27.

My soul clings to the dust;

Give me (Preserve my) life according to your word.

When I told of my ways, you answered me;

Teach me your statutes!

Make me understand the way of your precepts;

And I will meditate on your wondrous works.

So we read what it says here and begin to think about what the lines say and how they relate to the one before and after.

What does it say?

Does it repeat the line before – is it building and explaining?

Is it a contrast to the line before – an opposite?

In our thinking, using our God-given minds, we understand that as we begin to sing this song, we are at a very low point – “My soul clings to the dust.” We might think that the writer is actually rolling around in the dirt, but that is probably not what he means, so we have to figure out what this statement represents. When I consulted other versions, I realized that being laid low is not passive – the writer is not just laying there to rest – the dust is what he is hanging onto! This is what I am drawn to and where I like to stay! What is the dust? The dust represents death.

This is a very personal song, a lament in sorrowful emotion, of extreme distress. The writer is finding words to express what he is feeling. I too sometimes want to cry, “My soul clings to the dust!” The Psalmist helps us to recognize that we too look at death and often cling to death, at fruitlessness, at a place where there is no life. One of the blessings of the psalms is that in them we find a place to honestly express our fears and emotions. This biblical poetry is an outlet to examine our fears, worries, concerns, and identify how we feel. This is even the kind of Bible study that may start by asking, “How does it make you feel?” Do you ever feel as if your very soul is in the dirt? As if your life is dusty and unfruitful? Do you see yourself clinging to the dust?

But this sad song does not leave us in the dust! The Psalmist turns his gaze from that dust to look at something else, to look at Someone else.

The next line confirms that dust does represent death because the prayer becomes “preserve my life.” This line is a prayer that looks to God for help. We use this line to ask God to give us life, new birth life, a growing life. We know what God does with dust. In Genesis 2:7 we read, “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. God made a perfect, living being out of the dust of the earth. A living thing made in the image of God. All life comes from God and God sustains life every moment of every day. But because of sin, the things we naturally cling to are not the things that give us life. Only by turning to God, to God’s word, will these natural attractions be overcome. The Psalmist knows this and we will learn this … from God’s word.

In verse 26, the Psalmist continues in his honesty, “I recounted my ways.” When we say the words of this line, we are confessing that we are sinners, in the dust, clinging to death; we have looked at what we do, where we go, what we sinfully cling to, and we confess that all that has gone on in our lives before God leads to death. But, but, BUT pure beauty comes after such a confession – God answers! I looked at my ways and you, God, answered. The Bible doesn’t let us hide sin and God sees all of it! God will not leave us in our sin when we confess it to Him. Life is according to God’s word and I will ask that He teach me those decrees – those words of life that come out of God’s mouth in God’s breath!

“Teach me your statutes! Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.” These lines are parallel lines that develop the idea of how God gives and preserves our life. God speaks to us when we confess and give up those old dusty ways. He will teach us and increase our understanding. Sometimes this is hard work – like learning parallelism! – but a soul preserved and made alive by God will do that hard work, study, ask for understanding, and meditate on the wonders of God.

Verses 28 and 29.

My soul melts away for sorrow;

Strengthen me according to your word.

Put false ways far from me;

And graciously teach me your law!

These lines repeat – parallel – the verses we have already thought through, but layer a new dimension of sorrow. As long as we are alive and living in this world, sin will still come to our doors to visit us. It will come to the door of our eyes, our ears, our minds, and hearts; it will come from your family, your church family, your neighbors, and ways that I don’t have time to list. Sin should make us feel sorrow. These verses, in fact all of Psalm 119, teaches us the God’s word is the place to turn and God’s character is what we trust to be faithful.

The Apostle John also wrote about The Word. Can you remember what he said? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” “14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Our sorrow is great when we recount our ways and realize that we cannot live perfectly according to God’s law. We know that we need help so where do we turn? God knows what we are like and he knows that we cling to the dust and knows that we need his word – so he sent His Word – His son Jesus. Jesus came to live among men and women who were dusty and pitifully sorrowful. He lived among people just like us but He did not sin. Even at that time, most people rejected him. The authorities killed him because he showed them their sin and told them about God. He was a light shining in their darkness but they did not want to see it. They put Him on a cross and He died there. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that God sent Jesus for us, because of our sins. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus was made sin for me and you. He paid the price of death – the dust and sorrow – but because Jesus perfectly obeyed God, he was greater that death and rose up out of the grave. This is our proof that Jesus’ sacrifice was acceptable to God.

We want to ask that God keep us in His truth. Turn to Jesus and let Him preserve your life, teach you about God, and give you strength. When you confess your ways, God’s grace and mercy comes to you through his Word, Jesus.

Verses 30-32.

These final verses are a prayer, a vow, to declare where you are now looking.

I have chosen the way of faithfulness;

I set your rules before me.

I cling to your testimonies, O LORD;

Let me not be put to shame!

I will run in the way of your commandments,

When you enlarge my heart!

If you sing this vow or pray this prayer, you have left clinging to the dust and “cling” to the testimony of Jesus! You have no shame before God and want to stay there. You know that there is freedom and strength and endurance to run in the way of God’s commands. Cling to the word of Jesus. His life gives you life. Leave behind all deceit and lies and find your strength in the grace and truth of the Savior Jesus Christ.

This is an example of just one song that will remind you of where you come from – dust and sorrow – and what you are made alive to – understanding, wonders, and freedom. “Thanks be to God that He hears our song and our prayers. Thank you for your words of truth and the gift of grace that takes away our sorrow and shame. We ask that you bring us understanding and teach us your ways. Amen.”

Achsah – A Woman of Substance

There are many wonderful ‘girl stories’ in the Bible. I don’t think we hear these stories often enough and sometimes we simply become lazy or familiar in the stories we reference in our daily living. Studying these stories allows insight into the lives of women who overcame because they believed God. This faith shines through their actions and encourages us to walk the same path.

My personal Bible heroine is named Achsah. Her story is told twice, once in Joshua 15 and then again in Judges 1. She is one of a group of women inserted in Judges at critical points of time. Her story opens the Book of Judges and she is an example of a victorious child of God, literally living on His promise. Judges chronicles Israel’s cycles of living as God’s people, becoming entangled with the land’s inhabitants and their practices, falling away, and needing rescue. Beginning with Achsah, a woman who claimed her own piece of the Promised Land and asked for blessings to make it fruitful, Judges concludes with a bizarre set of stories that vividly show how far man will fall into sin when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

Achsah is introduced as the daughter of Caleb who offers her as a war prize. Caleb was given a specific inheritance in the land of Canaan for his own because he had first walked that land as a spy and reported with confidence that God would indeed give it to them (Joshua 14:6-15). Now it was time to drive the Canaanites out and Caleb inspired the men with his daughter, Achsah. Othniel accomplishes the charge and is given her as his wife. The commentaries I consulted are not in agreement as to the specifics, but as part of the marriage negotiations Achsah and Othniel receive a field in the Negeb out of Caleb’s inheritance. This field is in a dry land, so Achsah asks for a blessing – springs of water. Caleb gives her both upper and lower springs.

Why do I admire Achsah?

She claimed a piece of the land as her inheritance. I must speculate here, but she must have heard many fireside stories of the wonderful land and the marvel of its produce. Caleb must have told how the people refused to go in and take it even though they had God’s promise and had seen His works. How often is this true for us? We see only the difficulties instead of the assurance of God’s promise. Achsah learned to claim that promise as her own.

This woman was not done with just owning some dirt. God’s intent was that the people live in the land and be fruitful. The land she received was a dry land and so she asked for a blessing – some springs to water the land. Sometimes we can claim God’s promises with a dry, grim, determination to see it through, while His storehouse of blessings is full of treasures for us to receive. Why do we think that when God gives us a gift and then asks us to do something, the good use of it is only up to us? It’s not! Achsah was aware of the dryness of her land and asked for what she needed to make it fruitful. The blessing was so much more that what she needed.

I think the foundation for Achsah’s boldness was that she knew her father. He had faith in God when only one other man stood with him. When the time came, Caleb stepped forward and asked for what had been promised to him, and Achsah followed his example. Caleb didn’t give away his girl as a prize so much as secure for her a warrior who fought the enemy. When I study these ‘girl stories’, I don’t want to concentrate on the characters in the story so much as understand the character of God that they found and trusted. I can trust my Father God – the more I know Him the more I will trust Him. Jesus prayed that God will protect all who have been given into his hand (John 17) and he fought and conquered the enemy in his temptations and on the cross. God’s storehouse of blessings is open by asking in Jesus’ name.

This is why Achsah is my hero!

Redemption

One of the recurring Pattern of Sound Words to note in God’s word is the theme of redemption. I was reminded of this during my Tuesday morning women’s Bible study this past winter and early spring. We are working our way through Isaiah.

Isaiah 8 contains prophesy (pre-written history) given to Isaiah concerning the northern tribes of Israel. They continually rejected the LORD their God, seeking instead the security of foreign armies and gods. Israel rejected the good things God provided including “the gently flowing waters of Shiloah,” the perennial spring of Jerusalem, and the waters of the Euphrates of Assyria will be used by God to figuratively sweep out the wealth and spoil of Damascus and Samaria. History tells us that these northern tribes have not yet been returned to wholeness with Judah.

I think it was the reference to the gently flowing waters and Samaria that transported me to the meeting of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob recorded for us in John 4. They have a conversation about water, worship, and the condition of her heart. Then, to her – a woman of Samaria – Jesus reveals that He is the expected Messiah. The Redeemer Prince as promised in Isaiah 9 is come in the flesh and speaks to this woman.

Do you see the circle? Can you appreciate the significance of Jesus revealing Himself as Messiah to a Samaritan woman at a well of water traced to the patriarch Israel?  The good news of the gospel is that God’s plan is redemption. I, as Israel did, sin and fall away from the One and Only God. I am so deficient in loving God with ALL my heart, strength, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37); anything less elevates something other than God into His rightful place and is my sin.

I praise God that He has the pattern of redemption woven into His word in so many different ways. I trust God to work His redemption in my life; to create light out of darkness, to bring joy out of despair, healing out of pain, and to continue to reveal Himself through His word. He is the creator of the universe and all of its wonders and is the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ; in whom I am made to be a new creature, with new things to come. (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12

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