Category Archives: Psalm

Psalm 71

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In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men. For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long. Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.

Be not far from me, O God; come quickly, O my God, to help me. May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace.

But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.

Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you?

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God;  I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I, whom you have redeemed. My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion.

Psalm 103

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I will bless the Lord
He’s been so good to me
My heart will praise His holy name
His grace has set me free

 He crowns my life with good,
Directs and guides my ways
He changed my heart of stone to one
That loves to give Him praise.

I won’t forget all He has done
Forgiven, cleansed and changed
He satisfies my longings;
Has given me a new name.

His righteousness stands when I’m oppressed
His justice never fails
He guides through dark confusion
His mercy and grace prevails.

He does not give what I deserve
Or keep His anger hot
Through unendeing compassion and love
His forgiveness for me was bought.

He knows my weakness, that I am dust
And prone to turn astray
But His steadfast love and faithfulness
Guides me through every day.

He rules over all. He reigns supreme
And I will bless His name.
His Holy name controls my ways
I love to bring Him praise.

trusting God

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Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make  straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

This past Sunday, I attended Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg Md.  I was there for the Worship God 09 conference, and my friends and I decided to stay through the weekend and drive back after church.  Its funny how God’s sovereignty works… 

The conference was very challenging physically for me.  Due to the noise and busyness of the week, I had many migraines and other health issues.  I was grateful to be able to attend at all, though there were many sessions I was either resting on a couch in the lobby, or sitting on the floor in the back.  I really enjoyed the songwriting seminars and learned many helpful tips to incorporate into my writing…

Well, on Sunday, Josh Harris got up to preach.  Their church is currently working through a series on Proverbs and the topic this week was about trusting God.  His passage was Proverbs 3:5-6.  He talked about what it means to trust God, what it means to lean on Him and what it means to acknowledge Him. 

i think it is the only time in my life that I cried through an entire sermon.  God revealed so many areas in my life where I fail to trust Him.  I fail to trust that He is good, that He loves me, and that He has my best in mind.  Instead I often trust my own understanding… “this doesn’t make sense… God must not love me… or He must have forgotten about me…” 

He mentioned that leaning on God does not mean simply resting like you would against a podium but when the podium is taken away you’re still able to stand just fine.  Instead its a full dependence of “God, if you are not there to catch me, I will fall flat on my face.  Help.”  I spend much of my life trying to avoid this feeling, but this is where I was created to live… in utter dependence on God’s grace and strength and provision. 

There are so many unknowns in my life right now…  What’s going on with my health?  Will I be “stuck” in Greenville forever?  Where am I supposed to live?  Will I ever get married?  have kids?  be financially sound?  oh, so many unknowns…

How grateful I am for Josh Harris and this past Sunday.  I am grateful for the comfort that comes from being reminded that my God has not forgotten me… He is not angry at me or withholding goodness.  His steadfast love and faithfulness have followed me all the days of my life.  He has led me through valleys.  He has led me through paths of rejoicing.  And He has promised not to leave… even now, in confusion…

Great is Your Steadfast Love

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A Prayer of David (Psalm 86)

Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
   for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly;
   save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
   for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
   for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
   abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
   listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
   for you answer me.

 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
   nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
   and worship before you, O Lord,
   and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
   you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O LORD,
   that I may walk in your truth;
   unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
   and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
   you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
   a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
   and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me;
   give your strength to your servant,
   and save the son of your maidservant.
Show me a sign of your favor,
   that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
   because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

bless the Lord

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Emily, you are commanded to bless the Lord.  Use every ounce of strength within you to give praise to his holy name.  Even when your soul is tempted to despair and give up hope, bless the Lord.  Do not forget what He has done for you. 

He forgave all your countless sins on the cross.  Every single one.  Even the ones that your conscience still condemns you of.  To show he has power to heal your soul, He has also in mercy healed your physical diseases many times in the past.  Remember when he healed your hip that Sunday on the steps of the church?  Remember when your pastors prayed for you and your migraines started to get better?  Remember the bus ride when you were so afraid?  Look back!  Remember what He has done!  Do not give up hope – He has the power to do it again now.  He pulled your life up from the pit that you had dug for yourself.  Instead of leaving you in rags, He gave you His righteousness. 

Though it was your head that deserved to be crushed and wounded for your sin, He gave love that never changes and he showed you great mercy.  Though you deserve punishment and his wrath, He instead looks on you in favor, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

Not only did He forgive you but He satisfies your soul with countless good things.  Remember your church?  Have you forgotten what a gift those people are to you?  Remember your home?  Remember the little things you prayed for and He graciously gave you?  Do not grow weary… He provides the strength in your weakness.  He gives you renewal and power, like an eagle flying gracefully above the storms, he will renew your weary soul too. 

When it seems that others get away with evil, rest in knowing that God is just.  He will punish those who oppress you unjustly. 

This is the same God that led Moses and showed his power to the nation of Israel.  He did not give up on them when they sinned and failed to trust him.  Find comfort in looking back and seeing how merciful He was to them.  He is just as merciful and gracious to you.  He is not angry at you when you fail, rather He overflows in unchanging love towards you.  Remember he does not just work by “teaching you a lesson” and He is not angry with you. 

God is merciful… He does not give you what you deserve.  What you deserve is death yet he graciously forgives your sins.  Through Christ, God displayed his steadfast love for his children, by removing your sins far from you… as far as east from the west and heavens from the earth.  

Like a loving father, God shows compassion to you.  He does not expect perfection from you, He knows that you are very weak.  You are weak like grass or like a flower.  Even just a little wind can knock you off your feet and completely throw your world upside down.  But through every change in life, the steadfast love of the Lord will never end.  It will continue to your children, and to their children. 

The Lord rules over the earth. His kingdom is supreme over everything. 

Bless the Lord, you angels, those created to do His will.   Bless the Lord, the hosts of heaven, you who have gone before me and are an example to me of suffering in patience and trust.  Even creation blesses the Lord, the One who rules over them and provides for their every need. 

Oh my soul, my weary soul that is so prone to discouragement, bless the Lord.  He has done so many great things.  He is worthy of my praise.  Bless the Lord.

Psalm 103 (in the words of me)

grace… and your deepest darkest secret…

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so last night at care group i was freshly reminded of grace… God’s grace to me, an undeserving sinner.

During worship, it seemed each song was a reminder of how faithful God is in the midst of our failures.  I had talked with my care group leader, Matt, a while ago about sharing a specific area of my life where God had been at work.  But its an area that has been well hidden.  its an area that is combined with much shame and fear on my part.  Yet, somehow, its an area of my life that God is working to redeem.  And though my own sinful desires would rather not share it, I knew last night that God was calling me to.  He was calling me to open up and share things I didn’t know how it would be received.  And He was calling me to do this and trust in Him to deliver me of fear and shame.

I’m honestly not sure what all I said.  What I remember is that after I shared, one of my friends asked if they could pray for me.  So, everyone gathered around and prayed that God would work as a result.  I was so encouraged, I can’t even begin to put it into words.  I am so grateful for the gift that God has given me through my friends at my church.  I pray that God would be at work in our group, in allowing us to grow together on a deep level, so that we know no matter what, that God is our hope.

After care group, I can’t tell you the number of people that came and thanked me.  So, God is already at work.  Somehow through my sin and lack of trust and failure over and over again, HE is receiving much glory.  And comforting my heart too.

I was reminded of an amazing passage yesterday… Psalm 78.  It talks about the Children of Israel, and just how many times they turned away.  But the focus isn’t just there…According to verses 1-7, the story is meant to be told so that people would set their hope in God, not forget His works and so that they would keep His commandments.  Its not a story of the Israelite’s failure as much as its a story of God’s faithfulness.

“They forgot His works and the wonders that he has shown them… He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.  He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers.  Yet they sinned still more against Him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.  They tested God in their hearts by demanding food they craved.  They spoke against God saying “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?  He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed.  Can He also give bread or provide meat for His people?”  Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath… because they did not believe in God and did not trust His saving power.  Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven… he sent them food in abundance…and they ate and were well filled… but while the food was still in their mouths…despite the wonders, they did not believe…

their heart was not steadfast toward him, they were not faithful to his covenant.  YET HE, being compassionate atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.  He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again. How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert.  They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel.  They did not remember his power or the day when He redeemed them from the foe…but He led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.  He led them in safety so that they were not afraid…Yet they tested and rebelled against the most High God and did not keep his testimonies…but He chose the tribe of Judah… which He loves.  He chose David his servant and took Him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people… With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with His skillful hand.”

I’m so glad my God is faithful.  I’m so glad my growth to become more like Him is not dependent on my effort alone. I fail every day. But I’m so glad that my God leads and guides me gently, provides for me in my need and comforts me in my weakness and despair.

lonely but not alone

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 This video is a song that was sung by Jon Payne at the Worship God 08 conference. It was directed towards folks who have lost a child. The reason I’m sharing it here is because of the chorus. God has used the words to encourage me many times since I first heard it in August. 

 Currently I’m in a season of trial that has been extremely challenging for me. I’ve found it nearly impossible to put my hope in God and to see Him as bigger than the circumstances He’s walking me through. I’ve struggled to hear His voice, struggled to see His guiding hand and felt often that He has abandoned me to figure this all out on my own.   I’ve found myself doubting His goodness, failing to cling to His grace, and accusing His charachter. 

And then He brought this song to mind… “you are lonely but never alone, afflicted but not abandoned. You are suffering but not severed from my love.”

So, how I feel is like Martin Luther did once… that God is dead.  Functionally, that’s how I feel.  But praise be to God, how I feel doesn’t dictate what is true.  Rather, truth is unchanging… no matter what storms and doubts arise.  What is true is what is written in Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

My God is intimately acquainted with my ways (Psalm 139:3), He keeps me (Psalm 121), He is the reason I don’t have to fear (Psalm 27), He shepherds and guards even when I lack trust and faith (Psalm 78), He upholds me as I cling to Him (Psalm 62).

I am praying that God would do for me what He did for Jeremiah… that He would allow these words to come to life in such a way that would give me joy in my despair.  That He would feel very present in this time of trouble and that like Peter wrote, He would allow me to rejoice in my suffering because I’m aware that He is loving and always gracious to me.

this is my sacrifice of praise

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Let them thank the LORD for his stedfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!  And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!  They cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.  He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.  Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the stedfast love of the LORD.  Psalm 107: 21-22, 28-29, 43

I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.  Because he inclined hisear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.  The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me, I suffered distress and anguish.  Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!”  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.  The LORD preserves the simple; whin I was brought low, he saved me.  Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.  For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.  I believed, even when I spoke, ” I am greatly afflicted”, I said in my alarm, “all mankind are liars.”  What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?  I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.  O Lord I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.  You have loosed my bonds.  I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.  Psalm 116: 1-13, 16-17

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.  I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.  He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me.  God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!  My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery bests – the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let your glory be over all the earth!  They set a net for my steps, my soul was bowed down.  They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves.  My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!  I will sing and make melody!  Awake, my glory!  Awake, O harp and lyre!  I will awake the dawn!  I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.  For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let your glory be over all the earth!  Psalm 57

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world!  1 John 4:4

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful.  You adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of sufferings are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  1 Peter 5:7-10

It is the LORD who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.  Deuteronomy 31:8

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:6-8

Save me, O God!  For the waters have come up to my neck.  I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.  I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched.  My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.  More in number than the hairs of my head are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies.  What I did not steal must I now restore?  O God, you know my folly; the wrongs that I have done are not hidden from you.  Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me.  O Lord…  But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.  Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.  Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me.  Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy turn to me.  Hide not your face from your servant, for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.  Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies!  You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor; my foes are all known to you.   Reproaches have broken my heart, so that I am in despair…  Let their own table before them become a snare, and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.  Let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually.  Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them… But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high!  I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.  This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.  When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.  For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.  Psalm 69

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth ahs been given to me.”  Matthew 28:18

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:11-14

And he said to them,  “I saw Satan fall like lighting from heaven.  Behold i have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.  Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  Luke 10:18-20

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  Romans 16:20

I love you, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised and I am saved from my enemies.  He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.  He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.  They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support.  He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me because He delighted in me.  Psalm 18:1-3, 16-19

The LORD is my ligth and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  Though an enemy encamp against m, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.  For He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.  I believe that I shall look upon the goodnessof the LORD in the land of the living!  Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!  Psalm 27:1, 3, 5, 14

Oh how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you.  Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a beseiged city.  I had said in my alarm ” I am cut off from your sight.”  But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I Cried to you for help.”  Psalm 31:19, 21-22

Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts before him; God is a refuge for us.  Psalm 62:8

many are the afflictions

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at the beginning of 2008, i had the impression from the Lord that this would be a difficult year.  in more ways than I could have imagined at that point, that impression has proven to be true. 

Both physically and emotionally, this week has been extremely difficult.  I’ve been tempted almost every minute to give in to fear and anxiety.  I’ve struggled to trust in God’s sovereignty. I’ve struggled to be open with the amazing caring Christians that God has surrounded me with.  I have battled and often lost to feelings of anger.  I have wanted to crawl in a hole and simply cry.  Yet in His kindness, He’s surrounding me with an amazing example of His compassion – His church… my sweet friends. 

Psalm 34 says “i sought the Lord and he heard me and delivered me from all my fears.” What a comfort that gives to my fear-absorbed soul.  He hears my pleas. He will deliver me from my fears.  He is faithful.  My afflictions this year have been many, and though He has not taken many of them away, I can honestly say the Lord has delivered me.  Often he has given me a heart to rejoice, though bound by what seems like prison chains.   

He is good.  Through every pain, He is kind.  Even when I don’t understand, He is working and getting glory in my life (see Exodus 14:17-18). Taste and see that He is good.  at times this year, those tastes have seemed bitter.  Honestly, right now in my life it seems bitter.  But He is my refuge.  He will always be my refuge.  He hears the cry of the righteous.  He cuts off the memory of the wicked from the earth.  He is near to the brokenhearted. 

This is my God.  the God who delivers.  The God who hears.  The God who answers and saves and encamps and is near. To me… the brokenhearted… the weak… the hurting… the weary… the tired.

I was thinking today about the birth of Christ.  He came to bring peace.  He came to dissolve fear.  What a God this is… He humbled himself, came to a simple life, died a criminal’s death… all to bring life to this mortal body (Romans 8:11). 

Taste and see… He is good. There is no affliction over which He is not sovereign.  There is no trial or pain or hurt that He cannot heal.  He is good.  He is amazing.  This is my God.

psalm 34

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1I will bless the LORD(C) at all times;
   his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2My soul(D) makes its boast in the LORD;
   let the humble hear and(E) be glad.
3Oh,(F) magnify the LORD with me,
   and let us exalt his name together!

 4I(G) sought the LORD, and he answered me
   and delivered me from all my fears.
5Those who look to him are(H) radiant,
   and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6(I) This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
   and(J) saved him out of all his troubles.
7(K) The angel of the LORD(L) encamps
   around those who fear him, and delivers them.

 8Oh,(M) taste and see that(N) the LORD is good!
   (O) Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
   for those who fear him have no lack!
10(P) The young lions suffer want and hunger;
   but those who(Q) seek the LORD lack no good thing.

 11(R) Come, O children, listen to me;
   (S) I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12(T) What man is there who desires life
   and loves many days, that he may(U) see good?
13(V) Keep your tongue from evil
   and your lips from(W) speaking deceit.
14(X) Turn away from evil and do good;
   seek peace and(Y) pursue it.

 15(Z) The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
   (AA) and his ears toward their cry.
16(AB) The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
   to(AC) cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17(AD) When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
   and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18The LORD is near to(AE) the brokenhearted
   and saves(AF) the crushed in spirit.

 19(AG) Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
   (AH) but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20He keeps all his bones;
   (AI) not one of them is broken.
21(AJ) Affliction will slay the wicked,
   and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22The LORD(AK) redeems the life of his servants;
   none of those who take refuge in him will be(AL) condemned.