Psalm 17 – Day 2

A Prayer of Ken
(Based on Psalm 17)

O Lord, I am appealing my case to You, please listen.
I beg You to pay close attention to my shout for help.
Hear my prayer and answer,
Because I am telling You the truth!
All I ask is that the decision regarding my case come from You,
Because I trust that You are able to see what is really going on.

You have repeatedly proved the purity of my heart;
You’ve observed me during times of adversity and darkness.
When I was put through the fire of difficulty and refined by You,
It resulted in a lack of impurity and sin.
And I don’t plan on saying anything I will regret now.
When it comes to what men do,
It is only by obeying the words from Your lips
That I have avoided living a life of violence and destruction.
There is no doubt that You have kept me on the right track,
Preventing me from losing my footing or my way.

God, I have full confidence that because I have called,
An answer is coming from You.
Please bend Your ear and listen to what I have to say.
Make Your love and mercy stand out.
Use Your power to save those who trust in You
And come to You for protection when they are oppressed.
Watch over me like I was Your prized possession,
Put me under Your wing like a bird does its chick,
Because I am surrounded by those who are out to destroy my soul.
These people are imprisoned by their own prosperity,
They boast arrogantly.
They seem to be everywhere I go,
And they keep their eyes peeled like a half-starved lion looking for prey –
A young lion hiding in the shadows waiting to pounce.

Stand up and show Your power, Lord!
Disrupt this young lion’s plans, bring him to his knees.
Use Your sword to provide me with a way of escape.
Save me from men who love this world more than You,
Who seek all they need from this life instead of from You,
Who fail to recognize that their prosperity comes from You,
And the affluence their kids enjoy, You provide.
But as for me, I know that my satisfaction comes from knowing You,
And even if all this ends in death, I will see You because You consider me righteous.

Psalm 17 – Day 1

The Ultimate Objective.

“Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.” – Psalm 17:15 NLT

David is under extreme pressure. He is being hounded by King Saul, hunted down like a common criminal with a bounty on his head. Saul has hired 3,000 armed mercenaries to find David and kill him. So David finds himself hiding in the wilderness, running for his life. Talk about stress. Talk about anxiety. So David calls out to God. He pleads for God to act as his judge and find him innocent on any charges brought against him. He asks God to declare him innocent because he knows that he has done nothing to deserve this treatment from Saul. In verse three he reminds God that He has already tested him before. David uses terminology that indicates that his life has been anything but easy. He says “You have tested my thoughts.” That word “tested” is a word used of refining metal. God has already put David in the furnace and proved the purity of his heart. He says that God has already “examined his heart” in the night. The reference to night is a poetic term that can also mean time of calamity. In other words, David is saying that God has had the chance to observe David during the difficult days of his life. He has had plenty of opportunity to find fault in David. But David says that God has “scrutinized me” and found nothing wrong. Again, David uses terminology related to working with metal. He says that God has used trials to put him through the fire in order to purge any impurities from him. And as a result, David is innocent and sinless in regards to his relationship with Saul.

David appeals to God’s mercy, grace, righteousness and love. He asks God to guard him, hide him and protect him. He begs God to come between he and his enemies, to bring them to their knees. In verse 14, David describes his enemies as wicked. Then in verse 15, he elaborates on just what these people are like. He says, “they look to this world for their reward.” They are worldly, not godly. The are in love with this world and all that in can offer them. They don’t see a future or believe in an afterlife or eternity, so they live as if this life is all there is. David looks around and sees these people enjoying prosperity, getting all that they desire, having lots of kids and leaving all their wealth to them. But at the end of the day, David puts his hope in what happens after life. He knows there is an eternity for all men. That the righteous God of the universe will one day judge all men and hold them accountable for their actions during this life. David rests content that God will declare him righteous and allow him to come into His presence. That is what brings David contentment even in the face of adversity. He knows that his ultimate satisfaction will come when He stands before God in heaven. This world is passing. This life is not all there is. The injustices and inequities of this life will one day be made right by God. That doesn’t stop David from crying out to God for His help and deliverance here and now. But David knows that he can’t judge the faithfulness and love of God solely based on how things go in this life. God is not done. As judge of the world, His final ruling has not been made yet. But David knows that even his enemies catch him and kill him, he will stand before the Lord and find complete satisfaction for all life’s trials, injustices and inequities.

Father, don’t let me lose sight of eternity. Don’t let the trials of this life rob me of the reality of eternal life. This is not all there is. There is more. When faces with difficulties, help me see it as You refining me, purifying me and removing from me the sin that still resides within me. You are constantly testing me, putting me through the heat of life, exposing and removing the impurities of my sin nature. Thank You for loving me enough to purify me. You are constantly making me more like Your Son. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalms 15-16 – Day 2

The Bad News
(Based on Psalm 15)

Who can be a welcome guest in Your house, God?
Or become a permanent resident in the place where You live?
Only the person whose life is completely, wholly Yours,
Nothing hidden, no secrets, no areas they try to keep from You.
It’s the person who always does the right thing,
And never says the wrong thing.
They don’t use their words to destroy reputations,
Bring discomfort, or attempt to get even.
They hate sin so much that they can’t stand to be around sinners.
But they love being around those who love God.
They do what they are going to do – even when it costs them –
And share what they have with those in need,
Without expecting to profit from the exchange.
And they would never think of selling someone out
Just to pad their own wallet.
It’s this kind of person who gets to stand before God.

The Good News
(Based on Psalm 16)

I come to You for protection, God,
Fully expecting You to keep me from harm.
I call You, Adonia, my Sovereign Lord and Master.
It is You who makes possible any goodness in me.
Which is why those who are God’s chosen make good friends,
And are truly worth associating with.
But as for those who choose to reject God,
They’re only hurting themselves in the long run,
And I choose to have nothing to do with them.
I refuse to sacrifice my time, energy and talents to their sorry God replacements.

God, You are all I have and all I need.
I am blessed right now because of You,
And my future is completely secure thanks to You.
You have made me Your child and all that is Yours is mine!

You guide and direct me, even in my sleep,
So why wouldn’t I praise You?
You are always with me, right beside me,
Which gives me confidence to face any circumstance.

I am happy and secure, which results in joy.
I am at peace, physically, mentally and spiritually.
I know that when I die, I will not be separated from You.
I know that death is not the end, but just the beginning,
And even then You will be guiding my way,
Leading me right into Your very presence
Where I will get the pleasure of spending eternity with You.

Psalms 15-16 – Day 1

The Unbelievability of Divine Accessibility.

“O my soul , you have said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You.'” – Psalm 16:2 NKJV

Who can be a welcome guest in God’s house or become a permanent resident in the place where He lives?

Those are the questions that David opens Psalm 15 with, and they are  a bit sobering and scary if you stop to think about them. What kind of person has the right to come into God’s presence? What qualifies them to live their lives as God’s neighbor – so to speak? David answers his own question by describing someone who lives a life of integrity. They are blameless. No, not perfect or without sin, but they attempt to live every area of their life out in the open – in front of God – with nothing hidden or compartmentalized. They are the kind of person whose actions are right and whose speech is marked by truth, not lies. They don’t use words to hurt others or take advantage of them. They have a strong dislike for those whose lives are marked by a love for sin. But they recognize the value of those who love the Lord. They are promise keepers, not promise breakers. They share their money with others without demanding payment in return (plus a little something extra for their efforts). And they would never think of selling out someone just to pad their own wallet.

Wow! David says the person whose life is characterized by this kind of behavior is the one who will be left standing in the end. He or she will be welcome as God’s guest and given a place in His presence. David covers virtually every aspect of an individual’s life. Character, speech, conduct, values, integrity – even their finances. This is a person who shares God’s heart. It’s a portrait of someone whose life pleases God. But wait. How are we expected to pull this off? I don’t always do what’s right. I don’t always speak the truth from a sincere heart. I sometimes gossip and I have been known to speak evil of my friends on occasion. There isn’t one thing on David’s list of godly characteristics that I have managed to fulfill perfectly or completely. Which leads us right to Psalm 16. David knows the source of his integrity, honesty, right conduct, and pure motives. It’s God. David appeals to God to keep him safe, to literally put a hedge of protection around him. He knows that it is only through God’s help that any of us can come into His presence. He says, “You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You.” In other words, only God can make a man good enough to qualify to come into His presence. God makes it possible for us to live the life David described in Psalm 15. Left to our own devices, we will sin and disqualify ourselves from ever entering God’s presence. In Psalm 14, David said, “The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!” (Psalm 14:2-3 NLT). Paul takes up that same theme in his letter to the believers in Rome. “No one is righteous — not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one” (Romans 3:10-12 NLT). So what are we supposed to do? Paul goes on to tell us, “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are” (Romans 3:20-22 NLT).

With David I say, “NO wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever” (Psalm 16:9-11 NLT). God makes it all possible. From my ability to come into His presence right now to the assurance that I will one day live with Him forever.

Father, even my goodness come from You. I can’t live the life You’ve called me to live, so You sent Your Son to live it for me and die the death that I deserved for my sins. Now I can come into Your presence, not because of what I have done or deserve, but because what Jesus did that kept me from getting what I deserve. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalms 13-14 – Day 2

It’s A Matter Of When, Not If.
(Based on Psalm 13)

Dear God, to be honest, sometimes it feels like You’ve forgotten me.
It seems like You’ve gotten busy someplace else or are distracted.
In the meantime, I end doing all kinds of self-examination,
To the point that even my soul suffers.
At times it even feels like unbelievers are better off than me.

All I ask is that You look at me and give me an answer, God!
I could use a little encouragement right now, because I’m dying here.
You don’t want the “other side” to think they’ve won because I fell, do you?
The last thing you want is the enemy having a party at my expense.

But don’t get me wrong. I have always believed that You love me;
And it’s because You’ve saved me before, that I can rejoice even now.
I have confidence that a day is coming when I will be able to sing Your praises,
To rejoice in Your coming salvation, because You have always been good to me.

Know God Or No God.
(Based on Psalm 14)

Only an idiot what convince himself,
There is no God.
But what else could he conclude,
When his life is characterized by sin, and he rarely does good?

But God has a perfect vantage point in heaven,
and is able to see every single human being.
He scans humanity for any sign of wisdom or insight,
To see if anybody really wants to worship and obey Him.
And His conclusion? Every single person has rebelled against Him.
As a race, they are morally filthy,
Nobody does what God wants them to do,
Not a single soul!

If they only knew the truth.
They are busy devouring the godly like bread,
When they should be calling out to God for mercy.
But the day is coming when those who said, “no God!”
Will truly know God, but only in fear.
Because ultimately, God is on the side of the godly.
While you’re busy trying to frustrate the plans of God’s people,
God has made a promise to protect them.

It’s my hope that the ultimate salvation of God will take place soon,
That He will put an end to all this and restore His people once and for all.
When He does, we will all rejoice. We will all sing with joy.

Psalms 13-14 – Day 1

Because God Has, I Will.

“But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.” – Psalm 13:5 NLT

What more does God have to do for you to begin to trust Him? What is it going to take for you to really believe that He knows what is going on in your life and will provide for and protect you, regardless of what you see happening around you? That is the reoccurring theme of so many of the Psalms of David. It is clear that David was a man who had his own fair share of trials and troubles. While he may have been a king and enjoyed great wealth and wielded tremendous power, he was not immune to problems. He faced a variety of difficult circumstances in his lifetime, including the constant threat of enemies, both within and without his kingdom. At one point, his own father-in-law, Saul, was on a crusade to have David killed. Later on in his life, David would watch as his own son, Absalom, led a rebellion against him and took over his kingdom. The Philistines never forgave him for his killing of Goliath. And there were times when David felt all alone and alienated from God. He was human and was prone to look at his circumstances and question whether God was aware of what was happening to him. In the midst of his suffering and struggles, he would ask the same question we all ask of God: “How long?” When is this going to stop, God? When will You step in and do something about this situation in my life? Why the delay? What are You doing? Why are You waiting?

Four times in the first two verses of Psalm 13, David repeats that question, “How long?” He pleads with God to answer him, to give him some glimmer of hope in the midst of the darkness. He wants to see God do something so his enemies won’t gloat over his situation and mock his God. But then David says the one thing we all need to be able to say: “But I trust in your unfailing love” (Psalm 13:5 NLT). Actually, the tense of the verb he uses speaks of a past event, a completed action. David is saying, “But I have trusted in your unfailing love.” David has continually lived his life by placing his confidence in the kindness and mercy of God. That’s why he is able to say, “I will rejoice in your salvation.” Because David had trusted in God in the past, he knew he could trust in God for the future. He knew that there was a day coming when God was going to bring salvation. He didn’t know how or when, but he knew it was coming. He would rejoice one day. He would sing for joy one day. Why? Because God had been good to him in the past. The best way to translate verse 6 is “I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.” The basis for David’s future joy was God’s past provision. He knew that God would come through for him, because God had come through for him. David’s God was a faithful, consistent and unchanging God. His God always delivered, always came through, never abandoned, never gave up, never walked out on him, and never disappointed.

From David’s perspective, only a fool would reach the conclusion that there is no God (Psalm 14:1). Only a fool would decide that God was not there or did not care. David had seen the hand of God in the past and he knew he would see the hand of God in the future. Because God had, David knew he would sing, rejoice, and praise God some day – in spite of all that was going on at the moment.

Father, You have never failed to be faithful to me. So let me trust in Your past deliverance and there find hope for my future restoration. You are always faithful, always loving, and always powerful. Because You have, I can trust that you will. Your character is consistent and constant, never changing. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalms 11-12 – Day 2

God Is Still In Control
(Based on Psalm 11)

When things get tough, everyone’s advice seems to be to run and hide,
But I have learned to trust God for protection.
Those who oppose me are like soldiers preparing their weapons,
Getting ready to take pot shots at me in order to destroy me.
They especially seem to love attacking those who love God.
If we can’t turn to God, our firm foundation,
In the midst of all this, what else are the righteous going to do?

But God is still there. He is still in His Holy Temple.
He still sits on His throne in heaven,
And nothing escapes His notice.
His eyes are wide open, examining the heart of every man,
Both the ungodly and the godly.
But He hates the actions of those who oppose Him and oppress others.
He will eventually bring down judgment on them
That is indescribably painful but totally justifiable.
I can rest in the fact that God is righteous and loves justice.
Those who stand as justified and innocent in His eyes
Don’t need to fear seeing His face.

God Sees. God Knows. God Will Act.
(Based on Psalm 12)

Lord, we need Your help, because it seems like the godly are a vanishing breed,
Those who trust in You are few and far between.
Everyone lies to one another,
False flattery and deceptive words are all you hear anymore.
I wish You would just silence them all!
But they just boast and brag, taking great pride in their eloquence.
“We’ll say whatever we want to say,” they claim,
“And nobody can do anything about it!”

But God has something else to say about the matter.
He has seen how their lies and deception have hurt others,
And He isn’t going to put up with it anymore.
God is going to rise up and provide deliverance
For those who are anxiously waiting for a Savior.

And we can take God at His word,
Because what He says, unlike what comes out of the mouths of men,
Is totally trustworthy, pure, and uncontaminated by lies.
So, Lord, we know You’re going to come through.
You’re going to protect the innocent,
And preserve the helpless.
Even though these people who love lies more than You
Seem to be as popular as they are populous.

Psalms 11-12 – Day 1

God Sees. God Knows. God Acts.

“But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.” – Psalm 11:4 NLT

We are surrounded by uncertainty. There seems to be nothing and no one we can count on any more. Politicians fail us, corporate leaders deceive us, friends disappoint us, and it seems as if everywhere we look someone is out to take advantage of us. But David knew he could trust God. Why? Because God was holy, righteous and just. David found comfort in the realization that God was still in control, sitting on His throne in heaven where He saw all that was going on down here on earth. Yes, David felt the effects of living in a sinful world. He faced opposition, had his fair share of enemies, listened to threats, suffered injustice, and witnessed the attacks of the unjust against the just. From a human perspective, David felt like all was lost. He even asked, “What can the righteous do?” In the face of all that is going on around us and happening to us, what are those of us who love God supposed to do to make a difference?

David’s answer? Trust God. Why? Because God is still on His throne. He is still in charge. He is wide awake and well aware of what is going on down here on earth. God sees – He perceives – He doesn’t just look on in stunned shock, watching all the chaos taking place among men. He sees and He knows exactly what is happening, who is doing what to whom, and what needs to be done about it. His eyes are wide open and He sees into the hearts of ALL men, examining their motives and determining their fate. The Lord reminds us, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do” (Psalm 12:5 NLT). God sees. God hears. God will act.

God is a just God who loves to do what is right. While everyone else is untrustworthy, undependable and unreliable, God is faithful, trustworthy and true. And He is powerful enough to back up His words with action. And not only is God aware of injustice, He is strong enough to do something about the it. We have to believe that God is aware of our circumstances. Even when all hope appears lost, we must rest in the reality that God has not turned His back on us. He sees. He knows. He loves. He despises wickedness and loves righteousness. He loves to do what is right. Everything about Him hates injustice and evil. It may appear that He is indifferent to it all when we look at all that is happening in the world, but we have to trust that one day God is going to set all things right. He may not do it in our time frame. We may not live to see it happen. But He WILL do what is right. Justice will be done. So we trust Him. We turn to Him. We wait for Him. God sees. God knows. And one day, He WILL act.

Father, some days I feel overwhelmed by all that is going on around me. Sometimes I feel as if it is just me against the world. I begin to lose hope and despair starts to set in. But today You reminded me that I can trust You. You know every detail of my live and are well aware of what is happening to me and around me. You see. And You are going to act. I can trust You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 9 – Day 2

In God We Trust
(Based on Psalm 9)

From the depths of my heart I’m going to praise You,
And then I’m going to tell everyone all the great things You have done.
Because of You I have an over-abundance of joy,
And it comes out as songs of praise for Your remarkable reputation.

You caused my enemies to turn and run;
They went weak in the knees and dropped like dead men at the sight of You.
When it came time to pass judgment, You ruled in my favor.
As a righteous judge, You ruled fairly and justly.
The case against the nations has already been decided,
And their names have been stricken from the books.
Those who oppose You are done, without any hope,
And even their cities are long forgotten as far as You are concerned.

But while your enemies fade away, You reign forever,
And from Your throne You sit prepared to judge the world,
Justly, fairly and always rightly.
You rule on behalf of the oppressed,
Providing protection and a safe place to hide from their enemies.
But those of us who know Your character trust You,
because You have proven faithful, never turning Your back on those who need You.

All of us should sing God’s praises because He rules here on earth.
We should tell the world about all He has done for us.
There’s no doubt that God gives murderers what they deserve,
But He also gives the helpless and the hopeless what they need most.
He doesn’t turn a deaf ear to the cries of those in trouble.

Which is why I ask You to show me mercy, Lord.
I know you see what is happening to me.
I am as close to death as I have ever been,
So I ask you to provide a way of escape so I can give You the credit,
And hold a party to celebrate Your salvation.

It’s amazing, but those who reject You and hate those who serve You
Have ended up falling into the trap they set for someone else.
But it shouldn’t surprise me, because You are known for doing what is right
And giving the wicked exactly what they deserve in the end.

Eventually, all who oppose You will end up dead.
Spiritual death is the end result for all who fail to give You the honor You deserve.
But You will never fail to give those in need what they need,
You will not let the poor and oppressed suffer indefinitely.

So here is what I am asking Lord: Act now!
Don’t let a bunch of weak-kneed, arrogant humans stand up to You.
Judge them. Give them something to fear.
Remind them that they are just men and You are God.

Psalm 9 – Day 1

The Reputation of God.

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.” – Psalm 9:10 NLT

David knew God. He was highly familiar with His character. He knew and understood His nature. The Psalms are more than a personal journal of David’s experiences, they are an expression of his grasp of the greatness of God. In this Psalm alone David reveals that his God is all-powerful, just, eternal, righteous, faithful, merciful, sovereign, impartial, holy, and wrathful. It was David’s understanding of the nature of God that made it possible for him to trust God. To know God’s “name” means to be his follower, recognizing his authority and maintaining loyalty to him (NET Bible notes). The word translated “name” can also mean “reputation” or “fame.” To trust in the name of God was to trust in who He was – His very nature, character, and reputation. It was to stand on His past accomplishments and to rely on His track record of reliability. God had proven Himself to David time and time again. He had shown Himself to be faithful, powerful, righteous, just, true, merciful and holy. So David trusted in the name of God. When in trouble, he appealed to the name of God.

For David, God was worthy of praise because of all He had done in the past. He had found God to be a shelter and a refuge in the past, so he knew God would be so in the future. God was faithful, consistent, reliable and unchanging in His nature. David knew he could turn to God and find mercy and help no matter how difficult the situation. He knew from experience that God had a special affinity for the helpless and the hopeless, rescuing and restoring them. David had seen God judge righteously and justly, bringing judgment on the wicked and avenging the righteous. For David, the works of God were “unforgettable” and “marvelous.” They were worth singing about, talking about, and relying upon. No matter how bad things got, David knew he could trust in his God, because he knew Him well.

Father, I want to know You like David did. I want to trust You like David did. I want to understand the full scope of Your character and be able to rest in the integrity of who You are based on all You have done. Give me eyes to see Your reputation all around me. Help me know You better and better with each passing day. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men