Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Word

Well, the last day of the year is finally here. Today, I would like to continue a new tradition I started a couple of years ago. Rather than a New Year’s resolution, I want to have a theme word for the year that’s about to begin. Last year’s word was “refocus” and it was a good word for me. I will keep that one for ever since I will never be truly focused while still on this side of heaven. The year before it was “hope” which will never end either! …but in 2015 I will add “revival.”

I have actually been thinking about this word for a while now. I’ve been praying for it to occur not only in my own soul but in those around me. This is actually a word I pray would transcend beyond the walls of my own house. I pray for revival in my extended family, in this town, in this nation, in the entire world! I pray the Lord will bring revival around my kitchen table, around Grant’s lunch table at school, around Dylan’s playground at recess, around our work places and in the lonely hearts of those who feel left out from the promises of God.

So, on this last day of 2014 I lift up the prayer of the six “Rs” of revival:

I pray Our Heavenly Father would reclaim us and rescue us from this world.

I pray He would redeem us.

I pray He would restore us.

I pray He would reveal Himself to us.

I pray He would re-direct our paths.

I pray He would revive us!

For You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the LORD In the land of the living. Psalm 116: 8-9

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year!

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5

I just can’t believe it is the end of 2014. I must be getting old fast since this year was nothing but a vapor. Remember when we were kids and the years seemed so long? Remember how it took forever to get to Christmas? Remember how our parents would say the opposite? “I can’t believe the year went by so fast!” I would hear my Mom say…and I just couldn’t see it…till now…

Well, as we stand on the last two days of 2014, there comes the inevitable look at the year we are leaving behind.

This exercise has never been particularly easy for me. I get attached too quickly and it is hard for me to let go. Some things, however, I’m glad to see gone, but for the most part, I intensely dislike the melancholic feeling of saying goodbye. But we are called to examine ourselves, and what better moment to do so that the end of the year.

I look back and shudder at the frightening things I had to endure. Radioactive pills, isolation, full body scans, ultrasounds, countless blood work, and the unbearable anxiety of waiting to hear from test results are all memories that bring back accelerated heartrate, sweaty palms and a bitter taste in my mouth. New jobs for Dan, new challenges at school for the boys, added responsibilities in my own work all piled up painful stress that I can still feel on my shoulders. Unresolved issues, deep suffering and lack of reconciliation in my side of the family continue to be a constant heartache.


Then I realize that there is no way I can survive if I concentrate on the bad. Then I remember my word for 2014…refocus…and how God allowed me to actually refocus my attention from the circumstances to the work that He has been doing through them. He has showed me, by helping me refocus my vision that all things, indeed, work out together for good for those who trust Him! He delivered me through the fire of radioactive iodine treatment and in each anxious moment, He showed me His presence, His mercy and His love. He used my illness to bring about some unexpected changes in the seemingly unchanging brokenness of relationships in my extended family. New jobs and new responsibilities have made life more interesting and have helped us in trying to refocus our energies on what we really want to do with our professional lives. The challenges that our sons are experiencing are teaching us to rely on God for parenting and to turn our eyes and put our trust on the One who controls their destinies.


All in all, thanks to our Lord’s merciful autofocus, I can see how the year we are waving good bye to was not a tragedy but a triumph. We are closing the page on a thought-provoking story that could only make sense when read through the eyes of the writer…the Divine Story Teller who pieces everything together to perfection. I can’t wait to open the new one He has composed for us in 2015! For now, Happy New Year!

Lamentations 3:40

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Post Christmas Reflections

Well, Christmas has come and gone, and the following reflections are some of the memories and lessons the blessed season has left us with:

- Making Christmas cookies is a lot of fun!
- Oversize-fluffy stuffed bears are the best!
- Good things come to those who wait!
- Brothers could be alright.
- Dylan is not ready to handle electronic equipment on his own in a responsible manner.
- Grant is a rather sensible 12 year old who still enjoys being a little boy.
- We need an invisible fence because it is very hard to take Link out for a walk early in the morning during a break.
- A little bit of exercise on a daily basis can make a huge difference.
- We all needed some time off to do absolutely nothing and recharge our batteries.
- God is Good ALL the time...All the time He is Good!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Out in the Fields

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 
Luke 2: 8

Out of all the people involved in the birth of Jesus, the shepherds are the most intriguing to me. I don’t know the first thing about being a shepherd. I don’t know the first thing about sheep. I don’t know the first thing about protecting a flock of anything. But I do know a bit about being lonely. I know a bit about what it feels like to be “living out in the fields.” Not the literal ones, but those figurative and very real desolate fields of the soul.

I know what it feels like to be alone in your home…alone because you don’t know where you belong.

The story doesn’t end there, however. For in the silence of the night, these solitary men, considered outcast and unclean, were the chosen ones to receive the greatest news ever revealed,

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  
Luke 2: 9-12
This is the hope for the lonely. Emmanuel is here. He is near those in need. He mends the broken heart. He makes all things new.

May every child of God who sits alone this silent night, feel the grace of the living God coming into their hearts to bring them light. May the presence of the God with Us be real tonight!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Lord's Servants

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1: 38

This statement pronounced by young Mary over a couple of thousands of years ago continues to be one of the most profound affirmations of faith and one of the most powerful examples of trust spoken by a mortal that we find in all of the Scriptures. Mary’s simple words show the complexity of accepting God’s will in our lives. They show that for God’s will to be done, to be fulfilled in our lives we must surrender…we must first become the Lord’s servants…

That’s the revelation of true trust…we trust that God’s will is good…that it is perfect rather, so much so that we are ready to submit our own will to His. We do it because, even though we can’t really understand it, we know it is the best plan…it is the plan that will bring Him the glory…so we surrender to it…for the joy of our Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8: 10)

Mary’s words of acceptance always make me think about how hard it is to surrender to God’s plan for me. This year, however, in addition to that, these words have also made me think of how hard it is to accept God’s plan for those we love.

It is one thing to surrender to the hardship that the will of God often brings to ourselves because, deep inside, we know that the suffering is temporary, only for a little while (1 Peter 5: 9-10). We know that our current difficulties will bring about ultimate reward (Romans 8: 18). We know that God’s unique kind of love for us is demonstrated in His desire to make us better and draw us closer, which at times, it requires chastisement and pain (2 Corinthians 7: 9-10). We accept His designs because we know that He works all things together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8: 28). We trust His plan, because, even when we don’t understand it, we know it is perfect, good and made to prosper us not to harm us (Jeremiah 29: 11).

When it comes to those we love, though…for instance, our children…things may be a tad different. The feelings we experience may be a bit more unstable. The pain may be a whole lot more intense.

We hold our babies in our arms and we can’t help but dream wonderful dreams for them. We see them take their first steps and we can’t help but imagine the amazing places they will go. We watch them develop and we can’t help but appreciate the untapped potential inside of them and the incredible things they could do with it. Then, we blink, and they have grown into someone we never expected.

We pray that God will direct their paths. We pray that God will tell us what to do to help them. We pray that God will change things around…we pray because we don’t particularly like what we perceive God’s plan is turning out to be…we pray and cry and manipulate things in hopes that our children and loved ones would choose the right path…and we pray and cry and despair when we realize they won’t.

Suddenly, when pain, suffering and hardship become obviously part of God’s plan for those we love the most, surrendering to God’s will for them doesn’t come.

Then, we realize they too are God’s servants…

Then, we realize that they too have to go through it, just like we have to…

Then, we realize that there is hope, because the same promises that are true for us are true for them too.

Then, we find peace, because regardless of the pain, God’s plan is as good for us as it is for them.

May this Christmas bring us the comfort and assurance of knowing that Emmanuel is God with Us…not just with me…which means He is also in our loved ones who belong to Him.

Friday, December 19, 2014

God With US

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31: 6

These divinely inspired words that Moses spoke to his people are not only valid to the Israel of thousands of years ago, but to us too, the spiritual descendants of those who walked in the dessert guided by God’s Pillar of Light. And this promise of God’s constant presence became eternally tangible the night Jesus was born among men in that little town of Bethlehem.

In that moment when the time was full, Jesus the Christ made His appearance in the flesh under the watchful eyes of angels and outcasts. The Immanuel, God with Us, has finally physically come to walk among us, blessing the very dirt that He touches.

That is the gift…the first Christmas gift, the only one that matters.

In the midst of our fears, anxieties, concerns, doubt, depression, loneliness, illness, loss and all the problems of this world, the truth is that God is here, and He gives us hope.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7: 14

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31: 8

For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. Psalm 94: 14

Thursday, December 18, 2014

When Nobody is Looking...

Well, last weekend, Link, the new member of our family, showed us that he cannot only be the cutest dog in the world, but also a menace!

As we headed out to spend a few hours away from home, Dan and I decided that Link could stay in the basement rather than in his crate so he could have more room to walk and also access to water and food. Dan did a great job creating a safe environment for him, so we felt satisfied and we left him trusting he’d be OK. After all, he has showed us that he is such a good boy!

After enjoying the activities of that Sunday afternoon we came back home, pulled in the garage and opened the basement door. Link immediately came out cheerful and tail-wagging as usual. We were happy to see him, until we sat foot in the basement, that is!

I did not know what had happened. It looked as if a tornado had just hit! It took me a few minutes to realize what the mess was. Apparently, Link found the bin where I keep new school supplies and decided that colored pencils, markers, crayons, clay, pens, glue and assorted craft material were just a blast to play with. I don’t know how he did it, but he got in that bin, pulled out as much as he could and destroyed everything he got out. His little teeth chewed up everything, and the remnants were scattered all over the floor topped by a present right from his little intestines…augh! He is such a good doggy! How could he behave like this? He had not had any real behavioral issues! He is a perfect little doggy when we are around…but, things obviously changed once we were not watching him…

As Dan and I cleared the mess and cleaned the floor, I began to think how we are not all that unlike Link. We behave properly, do (or try to do) the right thing and act like civilized human beings when all eyes are on us. The way we behave in the secret, however, may be slightly different.

God’s children are called to be like Jesus. He is our role model. However, it is not easy. I know it all too well how hard it is to try to do the right thing at all times, and especially when I’m alone. That’s why we are not supposed to do it alone. Our Lord knows that, and He invites us to fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, to encourage one another, to sharpen one another and to be accountable to one another. Likewise, that is why He sends the Holy Spirit to us, to fellowship with Him, to surrender to Him, to let Him guide us and to keep us accountable even in the secret.

The truth is, we are never alone! That is precisely the miracle of Christmas: God is with us, always. We don’t have to rely on our own power and strength to do what we are supposed to do. We lean on His power and His strength so He can do it through us. Attempting to do it on our own will only lead to feeling like a hypocrite, which in turn makes us feel frustration, guilt and failure.

Link is still the cutest dog in the world. The day we made the decision to adopt him into our family we received him just as he was. And there’s no turning back. We love him just as he is, and no amount of disasters will change that. Time after time, we would get down on our knees to clean up his messes and mishaps. Then, after we give him a reprimand we’ll show him how much we still love him and how much we care for him, and we’ll continue to enjoy his presence among us…

Sounds familiar?

For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man. 2 Corinthians 8: 21

Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. Hebrews 13: 18

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Home for Christmas?

The Home of My Youth

Ever since I left my parents’ house back a million years ago, the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” has become a conflictive tune that stirs up too many undecipherable emotions. The song is the anthem of the displaced. I know I am not alone. The melancholic circle of those who don’t even know where “home” is anymore is heavily populated.

I read a post today that touched on that. My Facebook friend mentioned how “home for Christmas” means being with her Mom. Home is, therefore, not a tangible place. At least, it’s not tangible in the physical sense. The concept lives in the abstract world of our soul. We touch it and sense it with our heart.

Growing up in Panama, Christmas was the most anticipated of holidays. I am the youngest of three (and by a lot!). I was still a teen at home with my parents while my brother and sister where already grownups, living in the big city four hours away from our hometown. Christmas was, therefore, that special time of the year when the whole family would get together.

I remember my parents’ exhilaration in expectation of the gathering. My brother already had two children, so the burning desire to see my niece and nephew made our hearts burst with pure joy! My Mom would start planning the details for weeks ahead. Rosa would get busy cleaning rooms and making sure everyone had what they needed. My Dad would pull down boxes of Christmas decorations down from the highest storage places in our closets. I would spend hours setting the Nativity and figuring out ingenious ways to make an ages-old silver Christmas tree spark like new. Those memories are truly precious…that really felt like home.

Today, however, it is all gone. My parents are not around anymore. The house that always felt like it would be ours forever is out of our reach. Even the relationships with those we love are stray making a reunion something that belongs to the land of distant dreams.

Does that mean that “home” is no more?

Well, in many ways…yes…

The truth is that the Baby we celebrate at Christmas reminds us that we will never find our true home in this world. I may have a family of my own now. I may have a beautiful house filled with Christmas cheer. But none of it is really “home.”

The same way Christ came to bring us salvation and left us the Holy Spirit as a sign of His eternal love; home is found in that Love. Home is in the Love who was born in a manger over two thousand years ago. Home is the Love who died for us. Home is the Love who calls us. Home is the Love who leads us to believe. Home is the Love who tells us that in Him we could have eternal life and dwell in one of the mansions that He is preparing for us.

I guess the dream is that none of us will really be home for Christmas while still on this side of Heaven. And, believe it or not, there is deep joy in that realization. The joy is in the fact that, whether confused about where home is or whether surrounded by all the warmth and joy the season could bring, it is all but a pale comparison of what it is to come when we are truly home.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Puppy Love

This is the first picture we ever saw of Link and the one that made us fall in love with him.

Well, here’s my “I got a dog” post. The thing is that, yes, about one month and a half ago, we got us a dog for our family. His name is Link…’cause he is the missing link…get it? After 20 years of marriage and 2 kids, Link is our very first pet EVER…and in my book, that’s a big deal. Also, Link is MY very first pet EVER…and after having spent a lifetime afraid of dogs…that is a REALLY big deal in my book.

Growing up in Panama, my Dad had dogs. He loved German Shepherds so he had several over the course of my childhood and adolescence. It was kind of funny. They were his dogs. Nobody else really cared about them. I, for once, was terrified of all of them. He had, I think, four…not all at the same time, though. He’ll have one, and then when that one died, he’ll get another one. But they were his. He was the one who took care of them while they lived, and he was the one who mourned each of them when they passed away.

My Dad was a traditional man who loved continuity and stability. This trade was reflected in his relationship with his dogs. You see, in Spanish German Shepherd is “Pastor Alemán.” So guess what my Dad named all of his puppies…yes, he named them all Pastor. Everyone made fun of him for his apparent lack of creativity. But my Dad didn’t care.

At any rate, long story short, all those Pastor dogs were, not unlike my Dad, rather intimidating. They seemed more like wolves to me. I never EVER got near them. There were parts of our back patio I never went into. The last two, however, lived in a pen my Dad built in the backyard so I wouldn’t feel like a prisoner in my own house.

Ever since, I have not been one to get friendly with dogs…until now, that is!

In the weeks Link has been with us, I have made light-years of progress in my relationship with our four-legged-furry-pal. From cleaning “accidents” to taking him to the Vet, to caring for him in his convalescence after surgery (yes, we … you know…) all the way to sneaking “goodies” in his dish…I am feeling almost like a pro. He is so cute and sweet. I can't help but enjoy him. He is a very distant cry from my Dad’s Pastores, but I think he would be surprised and proud of me if he could see me now.

Link was a stray dog that was found by a loving family in Ohio who couldn’t keep him. They wanted to find someone who would love him…and God brought him to us. I feel humbled and honored that He thinks we can faithfully care for His little creature. Like our children, God has entrusted us with this tiny being, and as such we are responsible. We have adopted Link. And I don’t know what the lesson is in all these…all I know is that when I hear my sons’ laughter as they play with him, my joy is complete!

In this Christmas Season, I want to say that I am thankful for the gift that Link is…he has brought a special kind of joy to our home…he is the missing Link for sure!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Spirit of Christmas

This past Sunday was a day framed around the theme of giving. I sat at my beloved church´s Sunday school class to watch the video series that they are working on, but the video wouldn´t work. Class time was not lost, though, as the discussion took an interesting turn that ended up with a challenge to giving generously during this Christmas season.

Later in the day, we went to a Casting Crowns concert and Mark Hall; the lead singer gave an exhortation to those in attendance to give generously. He said, “God gives us so we can give to others.”

Christmas is called, among other things, the season of giving. And all these reminders are making me think about the way I give. Am I truly giving in the Spirit of Christmas? Or am I just going along with the mad-rush that this society pushes as the proper way to give?


Of course I want to give my sons nice presents. We save up money all year so we can afford to buy them some of the things that they want. Of course I try to give other family members nice presents. Of course I try to get myself some nice presents. Of course I want to get nice things for the house. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But these last couple of days I’ve been thinking that perhaps I need to look somewhere else as well.

This year, my key word that was supposed to be a guide throughout the days, weeks and months of 2014 was “refocus”. I thought it was a great word for me since my life had been a bit scattered and I knew I needed to concentrate, pay attention and fix my eyes on Him. I am praying that this Christmas season Christ helps me to do one final refocusing in which He helps me see what He wants me to see. I pray that rather than focusing too much on the material and on the gathering of stuff, He refocuses my attention and my sight on the things unseen and on the matters of the heart. I pray that this Christmas I am able to give more generously not only to my beloved, but also to those whose paths cross with mine and are in need of a helping hand. I pray that during the coming days and weeks I learn to give more generously of my most prized possession, my time.

May we all make time to celebrate Christmas in its true Spirit:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3: 16

Friday, December 5, 2014

Advent and The Silence of God

The Advent season has arrived and with that, boxes of ornaments and decorations get unpacked, the tree gets propped up and twinkling lights begin to spark as we prepare for Christmas time. And that is precisely what Advent implies…preparation…expectant waiting…

This year I want to truly prepare for another celebration of the nativity of our Lord. I want to really expectantly await His coming! I want to thankfully receive His gift…the gift of His presence among us in His Word and in His Spirit.

As I contemplate yet the advent of another Christmas season, I praise Him for all He has done for me and my loved ones. I look back at the year and see His Faithful Hand directing my every step. Likewise, I look at Scripture and realize that looking back is part of our walk with God. We can’t really move forward in our path to Him if we don’t take a good look at what’s behind. Scripture is the place to start for this exercise.

One of my favorite verses for this time of the year is Galatians 4: 4-7:

4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

I love reading about how we are adopted into God’s family and as such, we are His heirs. But I also love considering verse 4…”when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son…” In that verse advent is contained. These words reflect the fact that there was a time which was NOT full, not appropriate, not right. There was a time of waiting. And, indeed, there was. After Prophet Malachi stopped receiving God’s revelation, he became the last prophet of the Old Testament which concluded God’s Word at the time. And the only thing the Jews heard from God during the next 400 years was His silence. There would be no new, “hear, you Israel.” There would be nothing more revealed…until the Word became incarnate when the time became full again.

One faithful night, in that little town of Bethlehem, the Son was given unto us, for the salvation of the world. The Messiah who was long expected finally arrived wrapped in swaddling clothes. He came as a baby, but He grew up to be God’s perfect Lamb and High Priest, and with His resurrection, His Spirit came to dwell among us to change our relationship with God so He could become our Abba…Daddy.

And that is what we prepare to celebrate, the advent of the living God, The Emanuel, the God among us. And yes, there has been silence from God again, this time for over 2000 years and counting, but that doesn’t mean God has forgotten His children. Though He might be silent in the traditional sense of the concept, He still speaks through the completeness of His Word and through the voice and actions of His beloved as they are enabled by the Holy Spirit, the God with us who lives in the heart of every believer.

The silence of God is, therefore, a way to hear His voice through the discernment that only His Holy Spirit can provide. May we know how to listen to His whispering as we anticipate His coming.

By  Ray C. Stedman wrote, in his Series: Adventuring through the Bible, the following words about the Silence of God:

It is amazing how God utilizes history to work out his purposes. Though we are living in the days that might be termed "the silence of God," when for almost 2,000 years there has been no inspired voice from God, we must look back -- even as they did during those 400 silent years -- upon the inspired record and realize that God has already said all that needs to be said, through the Old and New Testaments. God's purposes have not ended, for sure. He is working them out as fully now as he did in those days. Just as the world had come to a place of hopelessness then, and the One who would fulfill all their hopes came into their midst, so the world again is facing a time when despair is spreading widely across the earth. Hopelessness is rampant everywhere and in this time God is moving to bring to fulfillment all the prophetic words concerning the coming of his Son again into the world to establish his kingdom. How long? How close? Who knows? But what God has done in history, he will do again as we approach the end of "the silence of God." 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Please, Do Not Delay!

I’ve always been fond of the Psalms, but as of late, God has manifested Himself to me through the beautiful Words of these songs in a very special way. For instance, Psalm 40 has been ringing particularly loudly in my soul during the last few weeks.

One of the things God has been pressing on me is the reminder that my joy cannot depend on my circumstances for they constantly change and what seems good today, may very well be bad tomorrow. On the contrary, my joy is only complete in Him, for He is the Solid Rock that doesn’t move…that doesn’t change.

In Psalm 40, He has also showed me that my joy is complete in Him, and Him Alone because my destiny is in His book…the story of my life is written on His pages…my name is in His scroll (7). What more can I desire? What could possibly be more important? There is no situation, suffering, trial, pain or illness that could ever change the fact that I belong to Him and that His saving acts are true! It is me He was thinking of when He went to the cross and it is me He was thinking of before I was even born.

My joy is complete in YOU and only YOU, Lord…not on the things of this world, but in You. May You continue to teach me to find my joy in You…even in this world, even if I can’t see you with my limited vision, may my joy overflow as You fill my cup with Your Love!

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1: 8-9

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. Malachi 3: 16

Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the Lord

and put their trust in him.

Blessed is the one

who trusts in the Lord,

who does not look to the proud,

to those who turn aside to false gods

Many, Lord my God,

are the wonders you have done,

the things you planned for us.

None can compare with you;

were I to speak and tell of your deeds,

they would be too many to declare.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—

but my ears you have opened —

burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.

Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—

it is written about me in the scroll

I desire to do your will, my God;

your law is within my heart.”

I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;

I do not seal my lips, Lord,

as you know.

I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;

I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.

I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness

from the great assembly.

Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;

may your love and faithfulness always protect me.

For troubles without number surround me;

my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.

They are more than the hairs of my head,

and my heart fails within me.

Be pleased to save me, Lord;

come quickly, Lord, to help me.

May all who want to take my life

be put to shame and confusion;

may all who desire my ruin

be turned back in disgrace.

May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”

be appalled at their own shame.

But may all who seek you

rejoice and be glad in you;

may those who long for your saving help always say,

“The Lord is great!”

But as for me, I am poor and needy;

may the Lord think of me.

You are my help and my deliverer;

you are my God, do not delay.