Psalm 103 – Day 1

Praise the Lord!

“Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” – Psalm 103:2 NLT

Gratefulness to God begins with an awareness of all that He has done for us. Failure to recognize God’s activity in our lives makes it extremely unlikely that we will be grateful. It’s hard to praise Him for all that He has done for us if we don’t recognize it to begin with. In this Psalm, David seems to be reminding himself of God’s daily activities in his life. He even says, “May I never forget the good things he does for me” (Psalm 103:2b NLT). Then he goes on to list all those “good things:”

  • He forgives all my sins
  • He heals all my diseases
  • He redeems me from death
  • He crowns me with love and tender mercies
  • He fills my life with good things
  • He renews my youth
  • He gives righteousness and justice
  • He is compassionate and merciful
  • He is slow to get angry
  • He is filled with unfailing love
  • He will not constantly accuse us
  • He doesn’t remain angry with us forever
  • He doesn’t punish us for all our sins
  • He doesn’t deal harshly with us, as we deserve
  • He shows us unfailing love that is immeasurable and unlimited
  • He has removed our sins as for as the east is from the west
  • He treats us like a father would his children
  • He is tender and compassionate
  • He knows and understands our weaknesses
  • His love for us remains forever
  • He rules over everything

That’s a pretty extensive list, and it is not unique to David. Every single one of these “good things” are available to us as His children. They are just as true of my relationship with God as they were of David. The problem is that we don’t tend to think about them. Instead, we dwell on all those things we believe God has failed to do for us. We concentrate on what we believe to be are unanswered prayers and unmet expectations. We may have some specific need we want addressed and, in our estimation, God has failed to deal with it adequately. In the meantime, we fail to recognize and appreciate His unfailing love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace He extends to us day after day – like clockwork.

One of the most amazing realizations David expresses in this Psalm is found in verse 10. The NET Bible translates it this way: “He does not deal with us as our sins deserve;  he does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve.” This is another way of looking at God’s incredible mercy and grace. You see, mercy is God not giving you what you deserve (withheld punishment), and grace is God giving you what you don’t deserve (unmerited favor). David understood that God had every right as God to deal with us harshly due to the sin in our lives, but He chose to show mercy instead. Rather than give us what we deserve, God gives us what we don’t deserve – His grace. Until we come to grips with the reality of that statement, we will never truly praise God for who He is and what He has done. Christ’s death on the cross is the ultimate expression of God’s love and grace. His death made possible our forgiveness. His sacrifice allowed God to withhold our punishment because in dying in our place, Christ paid our debt in full. The righteous wrath of God was satisfied once and for all. As a result, God has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. We no longer stand before God as guilty and condemned, but as forgiven and redeemed. He sees us as righteous and holy.

So if we think about it, we have just as much to be grateful for as David did – even more. We have enjoyed the benefit of Christ’s sacrificial, substitutionary death on the cross. So, like David, we should be able to say, “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name” (Psalm 103:1 NLT).

Father, the good things You have done for me are real and deserving of my gratitude and praise. I should be praising You for who You are and all that You have done and continue to do on a daily basis. Open my eyes and help me see Your activity in and around my life. Give me an increasing awareness of Your grace and mercy so that I will praise You more. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 101 – Day 2

I Will…
(Based on Psalm 101)

I will sing about Your mercy and just judgment, O God,
I will praise You in song.
I will be careful to live my whole life in a wise and understanding way,
When will You come to rescue me?
In the meantime, I will live my life with integrity even when I am home alone.
I won’t allow anything dishonest or questionable into my life,
I will despise the things done by those who oppose You,
Their actions will not become a part of my life.
I will not tolerate perversity in my heart,
I will not be known for having a wicked heart.
I will not have anything to do with those who slander others,
I will not put up with the haughty and arrogant.
Instead, I will make believers the focus of my attention.
I will spend my time with those whose lives model integrity,
They will minister beside me and to me.
But I won’t have anything to do with those who can’t be trusted,
Whose words and lives fail to model integrity.
I will make it my mission in life to remove all evil influence from my life,
No one who loves wickedness will not be tolerated in my world.

Psalm 101 – Day 1

I Will…

“I will be careful to live a blameless life—when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.” – Psalm 101:2 NLT

What will you do for God? For most of us, we have a long list of things we would like God to do for us. We have prayer requests we would like Him to answer. We have problems we would like Him to solve. We have people in our lives we would like Him to change. Conflicts we would like Him to resolve, illnesses we would like Him to heal, mysteries we would like Him to reveal, cloudy futures we would like Him to clear up. But what are we willing to do for Him? Over and over again in this short Psalm, David says, “I will…” David is expressing to God his willingness to praise Him, pursue a life of integrity, refuse to look at anything inappropriate, reject relationships with the wicked, not tolerate conceit and pride in his life, search out the faithful as his companions, and hire those whose lives are above reproach as his employees. What David was telling God was that he was serious about living a life that was set apart for God’s use. He understood the concept of holiness. David knew that, as God’s chosen servant, his life was to be distinctive and different. It was to be characterized by a different way of life. David was not doing these things in an attempt to please God or win brownie points with Him, but because they are characteristic of someone who shares God’s heart. Back in Psalm 86, David had prayed, “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Great me purity of heart, that I may honor you” (Psalm 86:11 NLT). In Psalm 101, David is describing what he has learned about God’s way – His path for living life. It is a life characterized by integrity or wholeness. It is “sound” or “healthy” in all areas, not just in parts. There is no compartmentalization or hidden areas where God has no sway or influence. David says, “I will be careful to live a blameless life” He is not promising to live a perfect life, but a whole one. He is saying that he is going to do everything he can to live a life that will bring glory to God in every detail. David goes on to tell God, “I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.” That word translated “integrity” shares the same root word as the one translated “blameless” earlier in the verse. Again, it has to do with wholeness and completeness. David is expressing his desire to live a holy, set-apart life in every area of his life – even at home, where no one else can see him.

There is a sense in which we will have to make difficult decisions if we want to live according to God’s way. Like David, we will have to “refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar” (Psalm 101:3 NLT). Think about that the next time you turn on the TV or head to the movie theater. We will have to “hate all who deal crookedly” and “have nothing to do with them” (Psalm 101:3 NLT). David is not telling us to hate the lost, but to refuse to enjoy the companionship of those whose lives dishonor God. Do you enjoy the company of those who have no heart for the things of God more than you enjoy the company of believers? This is speaking more about having a love affair with their behavior than with the individuals themselves. Are the lifestyles of the godless more appealing to us than the lifestyles of the godly? David said, “I will search for faithful people to be my companions” (Psalm 101:6 NLT). He wanted to hang with the holy, not the heathen.

David wanted his life to be different, so he was willing to make changes to the way he lived. He sought new habits and new friends. He chose to give up old ways of doing things. He chose to surround himself with good influences. What are you willing to do for God? What steps are you willing to take to ensure that your life is marked by integrity or wholeness?

Father, You want all of my life, not just the parts that people see on Sunday morning. You desire that I would be willing to make changes to the way that I live. You have given me a new heart and the power to live differently, but I still have to choose to do so. And it begins with the daily decisions to live my whole life for You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 86 – Day 2

What Do I Want From God?
(Based on Psalm 86)

Turn Your ear to hear my prayer, O Lord;
Please answer me, for I am in sad state and in need of help.
Keep me safe, for I am faithful to You.
O God, save me for I am Your servant and I trust in You.
Show me mercy, O God, for I cry out to you daily.
I am bearing my soul to You, O Lord; restore my joy!
You are good, forgiving, and merciful to all those who call on You.
Hear my prayers, O Lord, and pay attention to my requests for favor.
Whenever I am in trouble, I call on You, because You hear and answer me.
There is no other god like You, and no one does the things You do.
Every people group on the face of the earth that You created will one day worship You,
And will one day honor Your great name, O Lord.
You alone are God and You do great and extraordinary things.
Instruct me in the way You want me to live my life,
And I will continually conduct myself according to Your truth.
I want to reverence Your name with my whole heart.
I will continually praise You with all my heart, O Lord my God;
I will make Your great reputation known every day that I live.
The mercy You have shown me is immeasurable,
You have delivered me from the lowest, darkest place.
The arrogant have stood against me,
And terrifying men who have no place for You in their lives have sought to destroy me;
But You are a gracious God, full of compassion, patient,
And with more than enough mercy and truth to go around.
Turn to me, show me mercy, support me by Your power, and save me.
Show me a sign of Your favor, O Lord,
So that those who hate me might see it and be disheartened.
May they realize that You support and comfort me, O Lord.

Psalm 86 – Day 1

Learning How To Really Live.

“Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.” – Psalm 86:11 NLT

Most of us think we know what we want out of life. We have a general idea of the kinds of things it takes to get the most out of our time on this planet. And they usually include some or a lot of the following: Possessions, pleasure, prosperity, popularity, and power in some form or fashion. We have been sold a bill of goods that those things are what make life meaningful and bring joy and contentment. But David, as the king of Israel, had all of those things. He was powerful, rich, influential, and popular, but he had learned that all of it was meaningless and incapable of bringing him peace. He knew there was more to life and He knew that God was the source. So he prayed, “O Lord, teach me how you want me to live!” (Psalm 86:11 NET). The Hebrew word David uses conveys the idea of a journey or path. He is asking God to show me which road to take that will lead to the right destination. David has an end in mind, a destination. Possessions, pleasure, prosperity, popularity and power all lead somewhere, to a destination, but is it where God wants us to end up? Will they help us arrive at the place He has in mind for us? These things tend to lead us down the path that ends up in pride, self-sufficiency, enslavement, discontentment, greed, covetousness, jealousy, fear, anxiety, and so much more. So David asks God to point him in the right direction, show him the right path to take that will get him where he needs to be.

David continues his prayer: “…that I may live according to your truth.” The Hebrew word translated “live” in this verse is actually a word that means literally “to walk” or figuratively “to live you life.” David knows that living according to God’s truth requires walking down the right path. We can’t live according to God’s will for our lives if we keep doing things our own way or pursuing our own agenda. David understands that it all begins by having God point us in the right direction. We have to know the right path if we are going to walk in the right direction and discover the right way to live. Over in the book of Ephesians, Paul writes to the Gentile believers there reminding them that, “You used to live (peripateo) in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil – the commander of the powers in the unseen world” (Ephesians 2:2 NLT). The Greek word peripateo means “to walk or live your life.” He is telling them that there was a time when they lived just like the rest of the world. But now they know a different way of life, a different path to take. “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life (peripateo) worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God” (Ephesians 4:1 NLT). Now they are to walk differently, according to God’s road map for life. This path produces different results. It leads to a different place. It leads to holiness, humility, gentleness, peace, patience, kindness, and unity. It leads to selflessness, not selfishness.

Finally, David asks God, “Grant me purity of heart” (Psalm 86:11 NLT). The NET Bible translates this request, “make me wholeheartedly committed to you!” He is asking for an undivided, fully committed heart that will stick to the path that God has shown him. Possessions, pleasure, prosperity, popularity, and power will always be beckoning to us along the way, tempting us to step off of the path pointed out to us by God. We need God to equip us with a single-minded devotion and commitment to remain true to His path and not deviate. His path and His path alone will get us where we need to be. His path will allow us to reach the destination He has in store for us. Any other path will take us places we really don’t want to go.

Father, keep me on Your path. Help me take my eyes off those other ways of life that can sometimes look so appealing. Constantly remind me that it is Your way that leads to life. It is Your path that is the only true path to joy, peace, contentment, hope, help, happiness, and eternal life. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 70 – Day 2

I Need You!
(Based on Psalm 70)

Hurry up, O God, and rescue me!
Hurry up and help me, Lord!
Disappoint and embarrass all those who seek my life.
Turn back and humiliate all those who desire to hurt me.
Let all those who laugh at me be the rejection of their own shame.
But let everyone who seeks You rejoice and be glad,
And let all those who love and long for Your salvation be able to say,
“Our God is great!”
As for me, I am poor and in great need,
So hurry God, because You’re my only help and salvation.
Do wait another minute!

Psalm 70 – Day 1

The Necessity Of Neediness.

“But as for me, I am poor and needy; please hurry to my aid, O God. You are my helper and my savior; O Lord, do not delay.” – Psalm 70:5 NLT

Who knew David could be a man of few words, but in this Psalm we see him cut to the chase and make his point to God in record time. He doesn’t beat around the bush, but instead comes right out and tells God what he wants. “Please God, rescue me!” (Psalm 70:1 NLT). And he asks God to do it quickly. Evidently, David’s need is pressing and he feels the pressure to demand immediate action by God. In a Psalm of so few words, it is interesting to note what David took the time to say. He expressed his need for God’s salvation, his desire for justice for his enemies and, lastly, but probably most importantly, his awareness of his own condition. David says,”I am poor and needy.” This short phrase speaks volumes about David’s awareness of his condition. There is no hint of pride or self-sufficiency. You see no arrogance in this statement. Instead, it reveals a man who is painfully aware of his status and unashamed to admit it to God. He is the king of Israel, the commander of a great army, living in a beautiful palace surrounded by rich treasures. But inwardly, David knows he is needy, destitute, and unable to meet his real needs. He cannot save himself. He needs God. The key for any of us seeing God work in our lives is coming to the realization that we need Him. And before that can happen, we have to come to the same place David did – where we are ready to acknowledge our need. But that is harder than it sounds for most of us. We tend to want to solve our problems and meet our own needs. We want to rescue ourselves and then pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. It is hard to help someone who refuses to see their need for help. But David had reached the point where he was no longer going to let pride stand in his way. He knew that God was his helper and savior. He knew that there was nothing he could do to solve his problem. He needed God. So he called to Him. And David knew from experience that those who call on God are seldom, if ever, disappointed. “But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, ‘God is great!'” (Psalm 70:4 NLT).

Father, it seems the longer I live the more I recognize my true neediness. I guess it is that I am slowly learning the valuable lesson that I cannot save myself. I am not smart enough or powerful enough to rescue myself from the troubles of life. I need You. Thanks for the daily reminders of my own neediness. Help me to keep turning to You for help. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 69 – Day 2

It’s Never So Bad That God Can’t Do Good.
(Based on Psalm 69)

Save me, O God,
For the waters of difficulty are flooding my soul.
It’s like I am sinking into a bottomless mud pit,
I find myself in deep waters that flow over my head.
I have been calling for help so long my throat hurts and I am exhausted,
Even my eyes grow weary looking for your salvation to come.
It seems like there are more people who hate me without cause
Than there are hairs on my head.
These enemies who would destroy me, even though I don’t deserve it,
They make me pay back a debt I never owed.
O God, You know every foolish thing I’ve ever done,
And none of my sins are hidden from You.
Don’t let all those who hope in and wait on You be disappointed because of me,
Don’t let those who seek You be ashamed because of me.
For it’s because of You that I suffer all this contempt,
It is for Your sake that I am disgraced.
I am like a stranger to those who I used to call friends,
And a foreigner to my own family.
My unbridled love for Your house has ended up devouring me,
And all the scorn they have for You is now directed at me.
Even when I cry and fast, all I get is insults.
I mourn my circumstances, and they ridicule me.
The well-respected gossip about me,
While the drunks make up songs about me.
But as for me, I pray to You and ask that Your answer come at a favorable time,
Show me mercy, answer me by showing me Your salvation.
Rescue me out of the mud and don’t let me sink any further.
Deliver me out of the deep water, from those who hate me without cause.
Don’t let the waters of adversity overcome me,
Don’t let me be swallowed up or sink down.
Hear me, O God, because of Your love,
Turn to me and rescue me out of Your great compassion.
Don’t turn Your face away from Your servant,
I am in trouble; hear me and answer quickly.
Draw near to my soul and deliver it,
Redeem it, and rescue me from my enemies.
You understand full well all that I am going through,
The insults, reproach, shame and dishonor.
You’re very familiar with all my enemies, because they are Yours, too.
I am brokenhearted because of the constant scorn,
My soul is sick, and I long for someone to show me pity.
I long for compassion, but there in none coming.
Instead, they feed me a steady diet of venom,
They give me vinegar to drink.
May what they serve up to me become a trap for them.
And may all they hoped to gain from this turn against them.
Blind their eyes, let them shake with fear.
Pour out Your divine judgment on them;
Let them experience Your just anger.
May their homes become desolate and their tents empty.
For they take joy in harassing the one You have chosen to discipline,
And they gossip about the one You have punished.
Repay them to the same degree they have paid me,
Don’t let any of them enjoy Your salvation.
Don’t let their names be written in the Book of Life, blot them out.
But I am poor and in pain, so let Your salvation deliver me.
When You do, I will praise You in song and give You thanks,
Which will please You more than any sacrifice I could make.
Others who are weak and powerless will see this and be glad,
And they will be encouraged to seek You as well.
For You hear those in need and do not ignore those imprisoned by pain.
Let heaven and earth praise You, the oceans and everything in them.
For You will save Zion and build the cities of Judah,
So that Your people can live there and call it their permanent possession.
The descendants of Your servants will inherit it,
And all those who love Your name will live there.

Psalm 69 – Day 1

Living Lessons.

“The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.” – Psalm 69:32 NLT

Do you ever wonder why difficulty comes into your life? As a Christian, do you ever question why God would allow you to suffer at all? Pain, persecution and trials of all kinds are difficult for us to handle, even as Christ-followers. As human beings we seem innately wired to run from trouble, or to confront it head on. In either case, our intent it to escape it or remove it from our lives. Yet this reality of pain and suffering is one of the things we human beings all have in common. Yes, it comes in varying degrees of difficulty and some seem to suffer more than others. But no one gets to go through life completely untouched by sorrow, hurt, difficulty, trials, and the feelings of despair they bring.

Even as God’s anointed king of Israel, David was not immune to difficulty. In fact, long before his kingdom began, he found himself in dire straights, running for his life and spending his days living in the wilderness instead of a palace. Psalm 69 reflects the words of a man who is in deep trouble. He is up to his neck in difficulty. We don’t know the circumstances surrounding his situation, but it is clear that David is having a hard time. He says, “I am in deep water,” “I sink into the mire,” I am exhausted,” “I weep and fast,” and “I am in despair.” Things are not going well for David, and so he is calling out to His God for help. He asks God to save him, rescue him, to show him favor, to answer his prayer and show him favor. He appeals to God’s unfailing love and mercy. David knows that God is his only hope. He fully understands that God alone has the power to rescue him from all that is happening to him. While David doesn’t enjoy what is going on, he sees it as an opportunity to watch God work. He knows that this is a chance to witness the power of God displayed in and around his life. His pain and suffering provide a platform on which God can display His power. And when God does rescue, David will have plenty of reasons to praise and thank God. Not only that, all those who love and honor God will also have ample reason to be encouraged and emboldened to trust God too. David knew that his difficulties were simply temporal occasions for God to display His eternal power. Our trials are no trouble for God. He is not worried, dismayed, in panic, or fearful about the outcome. He simply wants to reveal His strength through our weakness. He wants to display His power through our impotence. God loves to save. He longs to rescue. And when His children praise and thank Him when He does, He is glorified and honored. When God rescues us, others are encouraged. When God intervenes on our behalf and we sing His praises to those around us, they are prompted to trust in God the next time they go through trials and difficulties. Our troubles become opportunities to witness of God’s saving power. They provide us with real-life examples of God’s presence and power. They remind us of God’s love and mercy. And when we thank Him for His salvation from trouble, and tell others what He has done for us, He is glorified. And all who seek God’s help get encouraged.

Father, You long to intervene in our lives and You long to show Your power. You have chosen to do so through our weaknesses. You have determined to display Your glory through those events in our lives that reveal our own weaknesses. May we see those times as opportunities to see You work. And when You do, may we give You the glory and praise You deserve. So that others will be encouraged to trust You more. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 68 – Day 2

Our Great God.
(Based on Psalm 68)

Show up! O God! Make an appearance and cause Your enemies to run.
Make all those who hate You run from Your presence.
Cause them to disappear like smoke in the wind,
Let them melt away like wax in the presence of a flame.
May all those who are hostile to You vanish from before You.
But give the righteous plenty of reasons to rejoice in Your presence.
Let them be glad that they can even come into Your presence.
Let them sing, sing praises for Your great reputation,
Praising your great reputation, the transcendent God, in Your very presence.
You lovingly father the fatherless. righteously provide justice for widows,
You rule and reign in holiness.
You put those who are alone in families,
You free those who are imprisoned,
But You cast those who rebel against You into the wilderness.
O God, You’ve always gone before Your people,
Like the time You led them in their own wilderness wanderings.
It was a time of earth-shaking and manna-making,
Even Mount Sinai shook before Your presence, O God of Israel.
You caused refreshing rain to fall in times of dryness,
Confirming this land as the inheritance of Your people.
And there they’ve lived, as You have shown Your goodness in the midst of their poverty.
You spoke and there was a huge host to spread the word abroad.
Kings and their armies ran away from You, leaving the spoil for our women to pick up.
Even the poorest of the poor found treasures of silver and gold.
You scattered the kings like snow before the wind on Mount Zalmon.
Mount Sinai, where You dwell is as high as the Mountain of Bashan,
Other mountains look with envy, because God has chosen to make His permanent dwelling in His holy hill.
He has tens of thousands of chariots and just as many angels,
All at His disposal on Mount Sinai. His holy place.
He dwells at the pinnacle, where He has led His captives,
Where men give Him gifts, even from the rebellious.
You live among men in Your holy place.
You deserve our praise because You carry our burdens each and every day,
You are our salvation!
You are our God, the God who saves, who even delivers from death.
But You will destroy Your enemies, all those who stubbornly resist You.
You will seek and destroy them all, wherever they may be.
Like a victorious king, You will wade through their blood, and your dogs will consume their remains.
They have all seen what You do, O God, what You do from Your holy sanctuary.
They have seen the processions complete with singers, musicians and women with tamborines.
They have witnesses the huge congregations of Your people worshiping You.
From the little tribe of Benjamin, home of Your chosen ruler,
To the princes of Judah, Zebulun and Napthtali.
You are the God who has given them all their strength,
Now we ask that You reveal Your power.
Kings will bring tributes to You at Your temple in Jerusalem.
Humble and humiliate these wild animals, these bulls with their calves,
Let them bring their silver and gold as penalty for their love affair with war.
Princes from as far away as Egypt and Ethiopia will bring their tributes to You.
They will all end up singing Your praises.
They will praise Him who rides on high, above the heavens,
Where He thunders loudly and powerfully.
Give God credit for His power, His sovereignty over Israel,
Even the power He displays in the skies.
You are an awesome God, who displays Your strength and power to Your people,
Which is why we praise and bless You.