Psalm 104

Lord, banish fear from me!
I cry out to you, O God,
because fear so often rules in me.
I fear the future and sometimes your will.
I don't understand this life
and I feel lost in it.

Lord, I want to trust you.
Give me a heart of trust,
a heart that is satisfied in your will.
Make me certain in doubt
never overwhelmed by a confusing life.
Lord, may trust rule me!

Psalm 103

Lord, remove sin from me,
may it not come near me.
Change my heart
and let me be clean.
May the Holy Spirit fill me
and may he make my ways his ways.
Take over my life, my God,
may may thoughts and actions be yours.

Psalm 102

God, you say I'm a saint,
but I feel only like a sinner.
Every careless word,
every stupid act
shows up to haunt my steps.
Thoughts assail me, crying out,
"You are worthless.
You are terrible.
You are a horrible person!"
How can I silence them?
They seem so true to me.
I feel like nothing,
a beaten down blade of grass
crushed under the weight of imperfection.
I know you love me,
but I don't feel love for myself.

Help me, Lord!
Help me to feel your love.
I want to grasp the depth of your compassion.
In me is only despair,
the thought I can never be better than I am.
Let me feel the arms of my savior,
he who gave his life for me,
holding me tight, squeezing my hand,
and whispering, "You were worth it.
Nothing you can do will stop me from loving you."
I long to hear these words,
now in the midst of my depression.
Speak to me!
May I hear your voice!

Psalm 101

This psalm is written in response to the video here.

LORD God!!! Savior!!! Blow Taker!!!
I want to get out of the prison,
I want to stay out of the prison.
I don't want to make grace small,
released from the penalty
but staying in the cell.
Keep me outside the door.
I want to live in my relationship with you,
a child invited and welcomed into your house,
your adopted daughter,
one with you.
Dress me in your armor,
cover me with your protection,
send me into the world
with a heart and mouth
bold to proclaim your truth.
Make me a lion that roars out,
"I am a lamb rescued by my Shepherd!
I will not yield!
I will not give in!
I will stand and cry out,
'My God reigns!
He can release you!"
This is my cry today.
This where I want to go

and this is what I want to do.

Psalm 100

O Yahweh, hear my cry!
I live in a world of evil,
evil appears on every side.
Morals and values have disappeared
swallowed up in convenience and pride.
Time is a rushing stream,
people dive into it and are swept away.
They say, "I must fill my life with the flesh,
with every thing my eyes see as good."
There is no thought of restraint,
no contemplation of good or evil.

For satisfaction, citizens have given up their rights
so that they may be oppressed.
"Save us!" they cry to their leaders,
but their leaders answer in confusion,
a busy mockery themselves.
There is no salvation in the ways of men,
men lack eternity and a sovereign mind.
How can fallen man save fallen man?
Like blind men trying to cross a ditch
are those who trust in sinful man.
There is no hope in this way.

Lord, even the religious have forsaken truth!
They cling to traditions or rules,
they hold tightly to man's opinions.
They sing out, "Worship, worship!"
yet turn around and fill their actions with sin.
They make for themselves a cheap grace,
treading down the gift given to them.
Who is the man on the cross?
They want no true allegiance to him.
To love him they must obey,
but this they find too "hard" to bear.

But as for me, abolish sin in me.
I do not harbor evil in my heart,
may evil never rule over me.
Let me fix my eyes on your cross,
Jesus Christ, whose blood washes me.
May fruit grow forth from my life
out of a heart of obedience, of love.
May my allegiance be to the Lamb who was slain,
to the Lamb sacrificed on my behalf.
Make my life, O Lord, an offering,
an offering of truth, morality and inestimable value.

Psalm 99

Strong and brave, for you, O Lord,
Choosing the better way,
Knowing to live is Christ,
to die is gain.
Not allowing their conscience
to change through fear.
Holding without doubt
to absolute truth.
They wait, they cry out,
"How long, O Lord?!"
Soon, soon, when the number is filled;
then they will see your return,
they will come on the clouds with you,
this their reward and desire.
I honor them,
I remember their sacrifices,
I pray for them:

Jesus Was Jewish

I know we know this, but recently this thought has been dominating my mind. Jesus was Jewish. He looked like a Jew, i.e. not an American. I'm guessing that almost all (if not all) of the standard pictures I grew up with show an Americanized Jesus and not an ethnically Jewish Jesus. Don't get me wrong. There are many beautiful pictures of Jesus. I don't think it is wrong to draw him differently in different cultures (some of my favorite Bible pictures are painted by an Indian artist who pictures the Bible in an Indian context). It's just, I got to thinking, "What did my savior really look like?" I wanted to think of him as a Jew, to picture him in my mind as he really might have been (is even now). I've found a picture here that captures more of a Jewish Jesus. The picture here shows what Jews of Jesus' time might have looked like. I guess what I am seeking in this cocoon is to throw off any false ideas I might have inadvertently imaged in my mind. Obviously, we don't know what Jesus really looked like. But I think in a way that even seeing Jesus as Jewish has changed the way I think about him. He lived in a very different culture than mine. It really hit me today how blessed I am. Jesus was a Jew and he reached out to Gentiles. This is radical! I am saved because he, a Jew, loved me, a Gentile. An amazing thought (read John 4 to see how the disciples were so shocked that Jesus reached out to a Samaritan and a woman). Putting Jesus in a Jewish context I think also has enlightened my Bible study. What a strange journey to be on, not only knowing that Jesus was Jewish, but thinking of him as Jewish. New and blessed perspective!

Psalm 98

Banish fear, O my God,
Let my trust rest in you.

As I look to the future
I cannot see the whole path.
I trace but a short thread
as I live in the present.
I cannot tell what lies ahead;
only you, my God, are wise enough to see.

Lord, bolster my trust;
Remind me of your faithfulness.
You are my shield, my defender,
my protector and father.
To you I turn,
to you I pray.

Trust in God, O my soul,
and do not fear.

Psalm 97

Blessing upon blessing
I've received from your hand.
I drink from a cup overflowing
with nectar so sweet.
You pour into my life
your grace so profound,
as deep as the ocean,
as vast as the stars.
I look and I wonder
at the breadth of the sea,
the enormity of the universe.
And yet, You look at me
and choose to bless me.
And for this, I am eternally thankful.

Psalm 96

My God is holy.
My God is just.
My God is love.

Holiness means He is wholly other.
Justice means He is fair and punishes evil.
Love means He seeks to draw us close to Him.

Love does not negate His holiness.
Love does not negate His justice.
Love must contain both holiness and justice.

For love does not delight in evil.
Love champions the powerless.
Love calls for absolute justice to be done.

My God is holy.
My God is just.
My God is love.

Psalm 95

You are the example.
Your life was yours.
You did not have to give it.
You could have called the angels to your rescue.

You did not.
You loved us completely.
You gave your back to the scourge.
You gave your hands to the nails.
You gave your life to darkness.

You are the Savior I look to.
You are the one who teaches me.
Me, a sinner, in need of an exemplar.
I the one who gazes on you.
I who chooses your truth.

I give my life for my enemy.
I give up my comfort.
I give up my rights.
I love others completely.
I do not seek my own.

I do not demand rescue from hardship.
I do not hold tightly myself.
My life is mine.
I choose to be an example of

Psalm 94

This world is steeped in sin.
I watch people choose sin,
choose self and death over life.
Humanity seems not to care.
Pride and emotion rule the day.

How long will this be, O Lord?
How long will people walk in darkness?
I long for your return
when the sin of the world will be washed away
and a new earth will take its place.

And yet, as you tarry,
open the eyes of the blind.
Wake up those slumbering in the dark.
Let people see the truth and be changed.
Draw a remnant always to yourself.

As for me, make me a light,
a light that casts guidance
on the path of truth.
Give me patience and stamina
as I sojourn in this foreign land.

Psalm 93

A child's birth,
the promise of hope,
the fulfillment of prophecy,
the glory of God,
the King of angels,
the Lord of earth,
God in Man.

To you, Lord Jesus,
we give praise.
We know you as the child
we need to bring us peace.
And peace you brought
in the form of a baby
and later in the resurrection of a man.

We look upon your face
this Christmas day
and see in you all we desire.
To you, King, Lord, Emmanuel,
we lift our souls
entrusting them to your care.
Praise to Jesus Christ, Savior of All.