Psalm 40 – Day 1

The Best Advertising Is A Satisfied Customer.

“I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.”– Psalm 40:10NLT

When was the last time you told someone else what God has done for you? And I’m not talking about sharing about how you came to Christ when you were seven or eight. I’m talking about telling others about how God is active in your life accomplishing things that only He could do. David starts out this Psalm talking about a time in the not-so-distant past when he found himself patiently waiting on God to help him. And then he says, “he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:1-3 NLT). David was singing God’s praises for what He had done in his life. And the result of David’s public relations campaign for God? “Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord” (Psalm 4):3b NLT).

I am convinced that many more people would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ if the followers of Christ had more to say about Him. If we had more to share about what God has done in our lives lately and how Christ is transforming our lives daily, it would give our claims regarding the value of salvation credibility. At this point, so many unbelievers are asking those of us who claim to be followers of Christ and believers in God, “What has He done for you lately?” And if they asked you that question, what would your answer be? What would you tell them? David said, “I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O Lord, well know” (Psalm 40:9 NLT). Then he goes on to say, “I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness” (Psalm 40:10 NLT).

David knew first-hand what it was like to have God intervene in his life and rescue him from trouble, forgive him of sin, provide him with victory, heal him from sickness, and restore him to a right relationship with Himself. David knew that a relationship with God was not all about doing things for God to somehow keep Him satisfied and earn brownie points with Him. “You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings” David told God (Psalm 40:6 NLT). No, God wants His followers to take joy in doing His will because they have experienced His faithful, unconditional love and want to express their gratitude through obedience and submission to His will for their lives – because they know He loves them and has their best interests in store. In fact, David said about God, “Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them” (Psalm 40:5 NLT). David had a lot to say about God because God was an active and vital part of his life. Can the same thing be said of us? If we tried to recite all the wonderful things He has done for us lately, would we run out of time before we ran out of list? David called on God because he expected God to act. David waited on God because he was confident God would respond. David told others about God because he had plenty of stories of God’s faithfulness to tell. He said, “May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, ‘The Lord is great!'” (Psalm 40:16b NLT). Maybe we have little to say about God because we so seldom turn to God for help and place on Him all our hope. “Oh, the joys of those who trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:4a NLT).

Father, the problem is not that You are silent in my life, it is that I don’t recognize and appreciate Your activity. I don’t see it, so I don’t acknowledge it. You are working all the time on my behalf, but I tend to be blind to it. I also don’t turn to You enough in times of trouble and trust You for deliverance. I try to solve all my own problems. In doing so, I rob You of glory and deny myself the opportunity to see Your power on display in my life. I want to be a greater witness for You by being more satisfied by You. I want to sing Your praises more and tell everyone I meet of all Your wonderful acts. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 39 – Day 2

Life From An Eternal Perspective.
(Based on Psalm 39)

I said to myself, “I’m going to be careful about how I live my life.
When I’m around the ungodly, I’m going to watch what I say, so that I don’t end up sinning.”
But even when I kept my mouth shut, not even saying anything good,
I found myself getting stirred up inside.
The more I thought about it, the angrier I got,
Until I couldn’t take it anymore, and the words spewed out.

“Lord, help me comprehend that my life has an end,
That the number of days that I’m going to live are nothing to You.
At best, my life is like a vapor from Your perspective.
The importance we put on our lives is empty and vain.”
We waste our time getting upset,
Worrying about all the money we have accumulated
Because we don’t even know who will spend it when we’re gone.
So where do I put my hope?
I put all my expectations in You.
I ask You to deliver me from living a life of rebellion against You.
Don’t let my life be a joke to people who live like fools.
There was a time in my life when I kept my mouth shut
Because You were doing a number on me.
I ask that You remove Your hand of discipline,
Because I am totally spent.
Your punishment disciplines mankind for sin,
You destroy their self-centered self-absorption
Like a moth destroys a beautiful garment.
We’re all just a fleeting vapor, here one day, gone the next.
So listen to my prayer, Lord!
Hear my cry for help!
Don’t be at peace about my tears!
I am a temporary inhabitant here,
A stranger living in a strange land where I don’t belong,
Just like my fathers before me.
Take notice of me, smile on me,
Before my life finally comes to an end.

Psalm 39 – Day 1

Hope In The Heat.

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”– Psalm 39:7 NLT

David is going through some kind of difficulty. He is under a great deal of pressure and believes that what he is suffering is from the hand of God and due to sin in his life. He is upset and frustrated about it, but has chosen not to complain about his circumstances in the hearing of men – especially the ungodly. He knows that to do so would cast dispersions upon God’s grace and goodness. So he just remains silent. But that doesn’t stop the emotional turmoil taking place inside his head and heart. He says, “the turmoil within me grew worse. The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words” (Psalm 39:2-3 NLT). When David did finally speak up, he chose to take it directly to the Lord. He expressed his thoughts to the one who could do something about it. But instead of complaining, David asked God for perspective. He asks God to “remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is” (Psalm 39:4 NLT). David was asking God to help him keep his life in the proper perspective, never forgetting that eternity is our future, not this temporary condition we call life. In God’s grand scheme, our lives are but a breath, a fleeting moment on the eternal timeline. Yet we put all our emphasis on the here and now and forget about the hereafter. We spend all our time rushing around attempting to accomplish things that only end in insignificance. We work hard to accumulate wealth and then end up having to leave it behind when we go. You can see where David’s son, Solomon, got the perspective on life he shared in the book of Ecclesiastes: “I came to hate all my hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned” (Ecclesiastes 2:18 NLT). Solomon also shared David’s perspective on wealth. “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless – like chasing the wind (Ecclesiastes 4:4 NLT).

But David had decided a long time before he wrote this Psalm to place his hope and trust in God. He had placed his life in God’s hands. In fact, he owed his life to God. Without God, David would still be shepherding sheep instead of shepherding the people of Israel. Whatever David was going through, he knew that ultimately it had to pass through the hands of God to get to him. He says, “I am silent before you; I won’t say a word, for my punishment is from you” (Psalm 39:9 NLT). David viewed his condition as God ordained and therefore he took his problem to the source. He believed that his punishment was due to sin in his life and knew that only God could forgive his sin and relieve his suffering. In verse 8 David asks God to “pluck him out of” his sin, to deliver him from his own transgressions. He knows that only God can bring relief from the pain he is suffering. So he asks God to hear his cries, to restore his joy, and to give him relief in order that he might spend whatever days he has on this planet in a right relationship with Him. And isn’t that what this is all about? It isn’t the accumulation of toys and the gaining of fame. It isn’t about comfort and ease, earning and spending, competing and winning. It is about the joy of a right relationship with God. Money can’t buy that. When we are not right with God, nothing is right. And nothing can make it right, but getting right with Him.

Father, what a wonderful reminder that life is all about living for You and with You. The pain and suffering we experience is nothing more than a reminder of our dependence upon and need for You. Keep me focused on You and nothing else. May I desire a right relationship with You more than anything else in the world. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 38 – Day 2

Conviction, Confession and Comfort.
(Based on Psalm 38)

Lord, I beg you not to correct me in anger,
Or discipline me when You’re furious with me.
Your arrows of punishment have struck hard and deep,
And I can feel Your hands pressing down on me.
I’m literally sick because of the effects of Your anger on me.
But it all because of the guilt of my own sin.
I’m literally drowning in guilt,
It’s all too much for me to handle.
My wounds make me offensive,
All because of my own foolishness.
My sin has left me bowed down in brokenness,
I spend my whole day in mourning.
I am humiliated and it is affecting my health.
I am numb and emotionally crushed,
My heart groans in pain and sadness.

But Lord, You know what I long for,
My groans are not hidden from You.
My heart longs, my strength fades,
And any ability to view life with hope diminishes daily.
Everybody avoids me like a had the plague,
Even my own family.
But not my enemies,
They continue to lay traps for me,
Devising ways to do me harm,
Spending their entire days making plans to do me in.

But I might as well be deaf and dumb,
I can’t hear what they’re saying or speak up in my own defense.
I simply choose to ignore them and say nothing.
Because I am waiting on You God.
I know You are going to answer me.
I have prayed to You for deliverance,
Because otherwise my enemies will win,
And they will gloat over me in victory.

I am ready to give up because my pain is constant.
So I acknowledge my own guilt,
And I am anxious about the effects of my sin.
My enemies are alive and strong,
And their numbers seem to grow daily.
When I do them good, they return the favor with evil,
They can’t stand what I stand for.
So I beg You not to forget about me, O Lord!
Hurry up and bring me salvation!

Psalm 38 – Day 1

Sin, Sorrow and Confession.

“But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done.”– Psalm 38:18 NLT

We are not told what David’s sin was, but he clearly articulates what he believes to be the ramifications for that sin. David is suffering greatly both physically and emotionally. He sees his circumstances as directly related to his sin and as a rebuke from God. Crying out to God he says, “Because of your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins. My guilt overwhelms me – it is a burden to heavy to bear” (Psalm 38:3-4 NLT). David clearly understands the concept that sin has consequences and that God, because He is just, must punish sin. There is discipline involved when sins are committed. As children of God we are not allowed to sin freely and without consequence. If we belong to God, our sin produces guilt. His Spirit convicts us of our sin and produces within us those same feelings that David had. He speaks of God’s rebuke and discipline. He uses words like crushing, broken, grief, crushed, anguish and pain. And he attributes it all “because of my foolish sins” (Psalms 38:5 NLT).

Speaking of this conviction of sin, C. H. Spurgeon states, “God’s law applied by the Spirit to the conviction of the soul of sin, wounds deeply and rankles long; it is an arrow not lightly to be brushed out by careless mirthfulness, or to be extracted by the flattering hand of self righteousness.” David was not going to be able to escape the loving discipline of God by simply finding something to distract him. He could avoid it for a time, but his sin, unconfessed, would continue to haunt him, leaving him longing for relief. Conviction is designed to lead to confession. Conviction ignored will only lead to continued sorrow. It will eat away at you from the inside out. That’s why confession is so important. It is the anecdote for conviction, guilt and shame. John reminds us, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9 NLT). In Psalm 38, the word that David uses that is translated “confess” in the New Living Translation is actually the Hebrew word for “tell or declare.” He says that he avows, acknowledges or confesses the sins for which he has been convicted. He gets them out in the open with God. The truth is, God already knows what David has done, and is only waiting for David to acknowledge his guilt before God. He must agree with God that what he has done is wrong and simply admit it openly. Spurgeon says that this process of confession is therapeutic and healing.”Open confession is good for the soul. When sorrow leads to hearty and penitent acknowledgment of sin it is blessed sorrow, a thing to thank God for most devoutly. I will be sorry for my sin. My confession will be salted with briny tears. It is well not so much to bewail our sorrows as to denounce the sins which lie at the root of them. To be sorry for sin is no atonement for it, but it is the right spirit in which to repair to Jesus, who is the reconciliation and the Saviour. A man is near to the end of his trouble when he comes to an end with his sins.”

But an important part of confession is sorrow. David says, “I am deeply sorry for what I have done.” Confession without sorrow is simply regret or remorse. You may regret your sins because it has produced pain and discipline, but that is not true confession. Confession as a means to escape coming punishment is not enough. There must be sorrow for the sin we have committed and not just sorrow for the discipline we are enduring. A child my say he’s sorrow for something he has done, but it may be motivated by a desire to escape further punishment. It may have nothing to do with a sorrow over having offended his parents. The same can be true with us. In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul talks about a letter he had had to send addressing a sin they were struggling with. He says, “I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death” (2 Corinthians 7:8-10 NLT). The kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. David was deeply sorry for his sins. He confesses it to God and asks Him to forgive and restore him. He knows that only God can bring the physical, emotional and spiritual healing he needs. He cries out to God, “Do not abandon me, O Lord. Do not stand at a distance, my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord may savior” (Psalm 38:21-22 NLT).

Father, they say confession is good for the soul. And nothing could be more true than when it comes to sin in the life of the believer. When we sin, the Spirit convicts our soul and creates in us a holy discontentment and discomfort. Like David, we grow increasingly unhappy with our condition, feeling guilt and shame for what we have done. But You are simply using that conviction to lead us to confession, in order that You might forgive and restore us. Give us an increasing hatred for sin and a willingness to acknowledge its presence in our lives as soon as it shows up. Help us respond quickly to the Spirit’s prompting and confess our sin with godly sorrow because we have offended You, our heavenly Father and holy God. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 37 – Day 2

No Comparison.
(Based on Psalm 37)

Don’t waste your energy getting angry about the wicked,
And getting jealous when you see evil people seemingly prosper.
They’ll all be gone soon enough,
Their “beauty” is temporary, their day in the sun won’t last.

But instead, put your trust in God and concentrate on doing what is right.
That’s the key to a good and truly prosperous life.
Keep your eyes focused on God and enjoy His presence,
Make Him your highest priority and He will satisfy you completely.

Give every decision of your life to Him,
Trust it all to Him and He will make things happen.
Your life will reflect His righteous activity,
And His justice will be readily apparent.

Just learn to rest in His presence,
Patiently, expectantly waiting for Him do act.
Quit comparing your life to the godless who seem to be winning,
Stop getting angry because it appears their sin seems to lead to success.

Calm down! Let go of your anger!
Losing your temper never accomplishes anything good.
Those who oppose God get nothing in the end,
But those who trust Him will inherit it all!

Those who oppose God will be gone soon enough,
You’ll look around expecting to see them, but they’ll be gone.
Instead, you’ll find the “losers” of the world enjoying success,
Living peacefully and prosperously.

Right now the godless plot against the godly,
They defiantly oppose everything they stand for.
But none of it concerns God,
He simply laughs, knowing their day of judgment is coming.

The godless attempt to do battle with God,
They attack the poor and needy,
They try to destroy those who live according to God’s standards.
But in the end, it’s their own destruction they’re bringing about,
Their plans will end up backfiring on them.

Here’s a peace of advice:
It’s better to follow God and live with less,
Than to be wealthy and try to live without God.
The very things the godless put their hope in will fail them,
But God takes care of those who love and trust Him.

There’s not a single day of your life God doesn’t know about,
He knows your present and your future.
He will not let you down in the hard times,
And nothing is going to happen that He isn’t prepared for.

But as for the godless, they will suffer and die,
Their future holds nothing but destruction,
And they are destined to disappear like smoke.

These people are greedy and dishonest.
But the godly are generous to a fault.
God will bless the one and curse the other.

He guides those who follow Him,
Taking joy in directing every detail of their lives.
Yes, they occasionally stumble, but God keeps it from being life-threatening.
Because He holds them in His hands.

I have lived a long time,
But in all those years I have never seen God abandon His own.
I have never seen their children destitute because God failed them

It’s the godly who end up generously sharing what they have with others,
And their children end up following in their footsteps.

So if you want to enjoy the blessings of God,
Turn your back on doing wrong and do good instead.
God loves justice and He will never take His eyes off His own.

He has a secure future in store for the His children,
But the children of the godless have only death to look forward to.
The children of God are here for the long haul.

The godly are able to provide wise counsel,
Teaching the difference between right and wrong.
They based their decisions on the Word of God,
And as a result, their lives have a firm foundation.

The godless spend all their time trying to destroy the godly,
Devising ways to eliminate them from the face of the earth.
But God will never let their plans succeed
Or allow His children to face undeserved condemnation.

Put your hope and trust in God.
Live your life according to His standards,
And you will inherit all He has in store for you.
You will live to see the day when the godless are no more.

In all my years of living, I have seen the wicked flourish like a tree,
But I have also seen them disappear unexpectedly.
I looked around expecting to find them and they were gone!

So instead of worrying about the wicked,
Turn your attention to the godly, to those who do what is right.
Those who love what God loves have a great future ahead of them.
But the godless will end up being destroyed,
Their future is not so pleasant.

God saves the godly,
He provides them with protection in times of trouble.
He comes alongside them, saving them from the godless,
Providing shelter and security from all those who would do them harm.

Psalm 37 – Day 1

Don’t Worry About the Wicked.

“Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.”– Psalm 37:34 NLT

It’s hard not to worry about the wicked. They’re all around us. Many of them are in positions of power and influence in our country. Others are considered celebrities and stars. They write books, have their own TV shows, create music, art and define what is in when it comes to everything from clothing to hair styles. The wicked come in all shapes and sizes, and their wickedness is not always readily apparent or easily recognized. They seem to be living lives marked by success, happiness, affluence and popularity. So it’s sometimes easy to envy them or to desire to be like them. But David tells us not to worry about the wicked or envy them, because their days are numbered. Yet we often find ourselves getting angry over the apparent lack of justice when it comes to some of these people. They prosper in spite of their lifestyles that are marked more by sin than anything else. David reminds us that “it is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich” (Psalm 37:16 NLT). To drive the point home, David provides us with a running contrast between the wicked and the godly. He paints a clear and powerful picture of the stark difference between these two lifestyles.

The wicked will soon fade.
But the godly will find shelter in Him
The wicked will soon wither.
But the godly will never slip from His path.
The wicked will be destroyed.
But the godly will be rescued by God.
The wicked will disappear.
But the godly will trust in the Lord and do good.
The wicked will be gone.
But the godly will never fall.

The wicked plot against the godly.
But God will take care of the godly because they are innocent.

The wicked snarl at them in defiance.
     But God will expose the justice of the cause of the godly.
The wicked draw their swords and string their bows.
But God is the fortress of the godly.

The wicked kill the poor and oppressed.
But the godly live in peace and prosperity.

The wicked slaughter those who do right.
But the Lord directs the steps of the godly.

The strength of the wicked will be shattered.
But the godly will be taken care of by God.

The wicked will die.
But the godly will possess the land.

The wicked will disappear like smoke.
But the godly will never be abandoned.

The wicked borrow and never repay.
But the godly give generous loans to others.

The children of the wicked will die.
But the children of the godly are a blessing.

The wicked wait in ambush for the godly.
But God will honor the godly by giving them the land.

The wicked look for an excuse to kill the godly.
But God teaches the godly right from wrong.

The wicked will not succeed.
But the godly will live safely in the land and prosper.

The wicked will be destroyed.
But a wonderful future awaits the godly.

The will appear to flourish, then are gone.
But the godly will not be disgraced in hard times.
The wicked have no future.
But a wonderful future awaits the godly.

As believers we are to put our hope in God. We are to confidently and faithfully trust the path He has chosen for us to follow and not worry about what might appear to be the unfair advantages of the ungodly. God is a just God and He will deal with them in His own way and in His own time. I can leave them in God’s hands and concentrate on honoring Him with my life and trusting Him with my future. He will not let the wicked succeed or the godly be condemned. He has it all under control. So don’t worry.

Father, thanks for this timely reminder from the pen of David. The wicked have always been around and they have always given Your people cause for consternation and concern. They appear so happy and so together. They seem to be getting away with their lifestyle of open rebellion to You, but You are not done yet. You are a just and righteous God who will make sure that all things are taken care of rightly and justly. They will not escape Your notice or Your judgment. I can leave them in Your hands and rest in the knowledge that You have me securely in Your loving grasp as well. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 36 – Day 2

No Comparison.
(Based on Psalm 36)

The wicked are rotten to the core,
Even their hearts give them evil advice.
There is not an ounce of the fear of God in them.
They are so puffed up by arrogant pride,
That they can’t even see the extent of their wickedness.
Even what comes out their mouths is worthless and untrustworthy.
They are too lazy to do what is wise and good.
Even at night they lie awake dreaming up more wickedness.
His whole life stands for the wrong things, refusing to turn from evil.

But God, You are nothing like that.
Your mercy and faithfulness are as limitless as the heavens.
Your righteousness is as immovable as a mountain.
Your judgments are as unfathomable as the ocean.
Your mercy is of great value,
Every person who has ever been born can find refuge under your wings.
They will find themselves completely satisfied,
Because Your house is well-stocked.
You will quench their thirst with water from the Your river of luxury,
For the very spring of life begins with You.
You are the Light that makes it possible for men to see light.

Draw out Your mercy like water from a river
And share it with those who know You.
Share your righteousness with those whose hearts are right with You.
Don’t let the prideful get to me or the wicked shake my confidence,
Because the day is coming when the wicked will fall, never to rise again.

Psalm 36 – Day 1

A Stark Contrast.

“For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.” Psalm 36:9 NLT

In this Psalm, David compares the wicked with God. Both are realities in his life. As the king of the nation of Israel he is surrounded by enemies – both within and without. He gets to see and experience firsthand the attitudes and actions of the wicked as the interact with him on a daily basis. Of course, David seems to using the literary device of hyperbole to make his point about the wicked  – but only slightly. He speaks of their hearts being filled with wickedness. In fact, they’re so blinded by pride, they can’t even see how wicked they really are. They have no fear of God and everything they say and do is perverted by their own sin, so that they are incapable of doing anything good or wise  – in fact, not a single one of their actions is good at any time. They can’t even sleep at night because they’re so busy dreaming up more evil things to do the next day. From David’s perspective it is as if they couldn’t stop doing evil even if they wanted to. And while much of this is exaggerated, there is a certain degree in which it is true. Those who do not know Christ and have a relationship with God through Him are controlled by sin. They are slaves to sin (Romans 6:19). They are incapable of doing what is right or righteous in God’s eyes. This does not mean that they can’t do any good, but that the good they do will not earn them favor or merit in God’s eyes. Isaiah put it this way, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind” (Isaiah 64:6 NLT). So in a way, David was right. The wicked – those who do not believe in God – are incapable of doing anything good. They are controlled by and enslaved to sin.

But then David addresses the other reality in his life: God. While the wicked seemed to surround David and impact his life on a daily basis – so did God. David describes God’s unfailing love or mercy, His unbelievable steadfastness or faithfulness, His justice and righteous judgments, and His ever-present salvation, care, provision and protection. David says that God is THE “fountain of life, the light by which we see” (Psalm36:9 NLT). God is not only the source of first life, but makes possible every breath we take, every second we live on this earth. And that is true not only of us as His children, but of every single person who lives – including the wicked. God provides us with light so that we can see. In the Hebrew verse nine literally says, “In thy light we see light.” It is as if David is saying that it is only in the illuminating presence of God’s glory that we gain the capacity to see things as they really are. The wicked can’t see their own wickedness. But when we stand in the light of God’s glory, we see just how sinful we really are.

All this reminds me of the opening verses of John 1. “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created,and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:1-5 NLT). But John goes on to say, “He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him” (John 1:10 NLT). The Light of the world came into the world to dispel the darkness, but those who lived in the world rejected Him. They didn’t want their darkness exposed. They didn’t want the Light to illuminate and eliminate their darkness. “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God” (John 1:12-13 NLT).

With David we can say, “Pour out your unfailing love on those who love (know) you; give justice those with honest (righteous) hearts” (Psalm 36:10 NLT). We have had our darkness exposed, our sins forgiven and our hearts transformed by the Light of the world. We were once just like those David describes in the opening verses of this Psalm. But because of the grace, mercy and goodness of God, we have been given a second chance. We have drunk from the river of delights, sheltered in the shadow of His wings, and fed from the abundance of His house.

Father, we are surrounded by those who love darkness more than light and wickedness more than righteousness. But we used to be the same way. And we would still be that way if it were not for the gracious gift of Your Son. May we learn to love the Light and increasingly appreciate how it exposes our own sin. You are always transforming us into the likeness of Christ and that takes the exposure of our sin nature. It isn’t always fun to see, but it’s a necessary part of the transformative process. Thank You for Your patient, loving care for us. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 35 – Day 2

In This Together.
(Based on Psalm 35)

Lord, I have a lot of enemies,
But only because I serve You.
So I ask You to stand against them,
And fight those who oppose me because they oppose You, too.
I need You to stand beside me in battle,
And use every weapon at Your disposal.
I long to hear you say, “I will save you!”
Disappoint and humiliate those who are trying to do me in,
May the plans of those who want to harm me fail.
Scatter them to the four winds,
Blow them away through Your power.
Send one of Your angels to pursue them,
And may the path they take be dark and slippery.
I don’t deserve what they are doing to me.
I did them no wrong, but they are trying to trap me.
So give them a taste of their own medicine!
Let what they desire for me happen to them.
Let them experience exactly what they have planned for me.

I know that I am going to be able to rejoice in spite of all this,
Because I am sure of Your salvation. You will rescue me.
And when You do, I will praise You, saying,
“Who is like You, O Lord,?
Is there anybody else who can deliver the weak from the strong?
Does anybody else have the ability to protect the helpless and poor?”

So here I am, surrounded by those who testify falsely against me.
I am being accused of things I have not done.
I have done good and am being repaid with evil.
All of it leaves me literally sick.
The irony is, when my enemies were sick, I showed compassion.
I grieved for them, fasted for them, and prayed for them.
I treated them like family, even feeling sadness over their condition.
But now that I am the one in trouble, they are happy!
They even join in against me.
In fact, I have enemies whose names I don’t even know!
They attack me relentlessly.
They’re out to destroy my reputation.
Lord, to be honest, sometimes it feels like you see all this,
But You do nothing about it.
I really need you to rescue me and protect me.
When You do, I will tell everyone of my gratefulness,
I will sing Your praises to everyone I meet.
All I ask is that You keep my enemies from having a party at my expense.
Don’t give those who have no reason to hate me, a chance to smile at my misfortune.
These people are not godly,
Instead of peace, they pursue deception and discord,
They long to destroy me, saying, “We’ve got you this time!”

Lord, I am not telling You anything you don’t already know.
I am just asking You to act,
To do something about my situation.
I am asking You to stand up and defend me,
To act as my defender, because You are my God.
I am looking to You for justice,
So that You might declare me innocent.
When my enemies laugh at my failure, they are laughing at You,
Because I belong to You and You are my God.
So don’t allow our enemies to say, “We’ve succeeded, we’ve brought him down!”

I look forward to the day when You act,
When those who find pleasure in my sorrow are disappointed.
They stand over me in victory now,
But one day the roles will be reversed.
Those who love You and serve You like I do
Will all be able to say, “God is great!
He finds great pleasure in protecting and providing for His children.”
I know that one day I am going to be able to rejoice in Your justice,
And praise You constantly for what You have done.