Psalm 145 – Day 2

I Can’t Stop Talking About God.
(Based on Psalm 145)

I will hold You in high esteem, my God and my King,
And I will bow in reverence to Your reputation forever!
I will bend my knees in praise to you every day,
I will boast of Your reputation forever and ever.
You are great, O Lord, and extremely praiseworthy.
The true extent of Your greatness is beyond our comprehension.
One generation will praise Your works to the next,
And tell them of Your strength.
I will speak of the incredible splendor of Your majesty,
And of Your extraordinary works.
They will tell of Your fear-inducing, awe-inspiring acts,
And I will recount Your greatness.
They’ll overflow with memories of Your great goodness,
And be overcome by Your righteousness.
You are gracious and compassionate,
Slow to get angry and overflowing with mercy.
You show Your goodness to everyone and extend mercy to Your entire creation.
Everything You’ve made will end up praising You, O Lord,
And those who are faithful to You will bow down before You.
They will talk about the glory of Your reign over them and of Your great power.
They will make known to the next generation Your might acts,
And the glory of living under Your righteous rule.
Yours is a kingdom that will never end, and Your rule outlasts the generations.
You support all who fall and lift up all who are bent down and burdened.
Everyone looks to You and You provide what they need at just the right time.
You open Your hand and satisfy the needs of every living creature.
You are right in everything that You do, and always holy.
You are never far from those who call on You, who call on You in faithfulness.
You will satisfy those who fear You, hearing their cry and rescuing them.
All those who love You, You will keep safe, but those who hate You will be destroyed.
I will declare publicly my thanksgiving to You,
So that all mankind might bless Your holy name forever.

Psalm 145 – Day 1

Sharing What We Know About God.

“Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power.” – Psalm 145:4 NLT

Six months ago, we started this journey through the Psalms of David. Our goal was to discover the character of God through the pen of David. We wanted to see what David understood about his God and how it impacted the way he lived his life. And Psalm 145 seems like a perfect way to wrap up this series. In it, David praises the greatness of God. He says, “I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness” (Psalm 145:2-3 NLT). David is blown away by the greatness of God and wants everyone to know. He is not content to internalize his thoughts about God and he expects everyone to “share the story of your wonderful goodness” (Psalms 145:7 NLT). David’s praise of God was not merely academic or rote. What he knew about God, he knew from experience. He had seen these attributes or characteristics of God lived out in his own life, day after day. He had seen God’s power, experienced His mercy and grace, felt His compassion, witnesses His mighty acts with his own eyes, and learned that God is always right in everything he does. David knew what the Scriptures had to say about God, but his awareness of God’s unfailing love, truthfulness, faithfulness, righteousness, compassion, mercy and grace came from his own personal interactions with God in daily life.

When David wrote, “Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power” (Psalm 145:4 NLT), he wasn’t suggesting that they simply recount and retell the stories they had heard from their parent’s experiences in the wilderness. Many of us can tell stories from the Bible that illustrate God’s greatness, but how many of us can share personal encounters with God that speak of His goodness, greatness, love, and power? There is a huge difference between knowing about someone and getting to really know someone. I may know a lot about Abraham Lincoln, but it all comes from books and from the perspective of others. But I know my wife. I know here because I spend time with her and our lives are deeply interactive and entwined. We spend time together talking, sharing, interfacing, and impacting the lives of one another. The same should be true of my relationship with God. Praise for God should be personal and intimate. It should come from experience. David had come to know God because he had spent time with God. He had watched God work in and around his life, caring for him, providing for him, protecting him, correcting him, and revealing Himself to him. David had a lot to praise God for. When he spoke of God’s wonderful goodness, mighty acts, awe-inspiring deeds, unfailing love, and greatness, he was speaking from experience. He knew what he was talking about. And nobody could argue with him. So what will we have to tell the next generation concerning the mighty acts and power of God? What stories will we tell to illustrate our understanding of His greatness and goodness? Our lack of stories are not a reflection on God or an indication of His absence in our lives, but are simply an indication of our lack of dependence on Him. We have little to praise Him for because we have given Him few opportunities to work in our lives. We have become self-sufficient and have attempted to run our own lives according to our own plans. But David reminds us, “The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.He grants the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them. The Lord protects all those who love him” (Psalm 145:18-20 NLT).

Father, may we truly have something great to share with the next generation. May we have stories to tell of your greatness and goodness because we have learned to wait on and rely on You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 144 – Day 2

It’s Good To Know God.
(Based on Psalm 144)

I get down on my knees in celebration of the Lord, my rock,
He personally trains me for battle, equipping me to do battle.
He is who I turn to for mercy, protection, refuge, deliverance from trouble,
He is my shield in battle, and I confidently trust Him to subdue my enemies in battle.
Lord, what is man, that You bother to even acknowledge his existence?
Or the nations, that You give them any consideration?
Man is like a wisp of wind to You, his days are like a shadow that vanishes before Your eyes.
Lower heaven and come down, touch the mountains and make them erupt!
Send lightning, scattering the bolts around like arrows of destruction.
Reach down from on high, deliver me from the deep water, from the hands of pagan nations.
Whose words are full of lies and whose actions are always deceitful.
I will make up a brand new song celebrating You, O God!
I will sing praises to You using my favorite instrument.
I will sing of the salvation You bring to kings,
How You delivered me, David, Your servant, from the sword.
Separate me and deliver me from these foreign nations,
From all their lies and deception.
That our sons may grow to full height, like a plant,
That our daughters may be like corner stones in a beautiful palace.
That our storehouses may be full, that our sheep may multiply, filling our pastures.
That our oxen will be strong to do labor, our walls will keep us safe, and our people will stay content.
People who find themselves in those circumstances will be happy,
But their happiness will be because God is their Lord!

Psalm 144 – Day 1

Who Are We Compared To You?

“O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them, mere mortals that you should think about them?” – Psalm 144:3 NLT

Perspective can be an illusive thing. It is so easy to have a one-dimensional view of life and the circumstances surrounding it. We can end up seeing things from our point of view alone, and lose sight of reality. We can easily view ourselves as somehow special, our talents as truly unique, and our inherent value as greater than it really is. God provides perspective to life. He is to be the focal point to all of life and all meaning. He is the creator and sustainer of life. The world exists for Him, not the other way around. He is one who came up with the idea of mankind and then made it happen. David was blown away that this all-powerful God would even bother to waste a single second dealing with the likes of men. The Message paraphrases verse three quite clearly and frankly: “I wonder why you care, GOD – why do you bother with us at all?”

David had a healthy perspective of life because he had an accurate view of God. He understood the greatness of God was and the pitifully powerless condition of man. David lived dependent on God – gladly and willingly. He viewed God as his rock – his source of stability and strength. He saw God as his personal trainer and reliable ally. When David ran into trouble, God was who David ran to for help, hope and healing. He didn’t get too full of himself or allow his position, possessions or power to warp his perspective on life. He knew he needed God – at all times and in every way. All his strength came from God. All his victories were due to God. His rescue from trouble was totally up to God. His success or failure was in God’s hands. His present prosperity and future posterity were up to God. Which is why he could say, “Yes, joyful are those who live like this! Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 144:15 NLT). Living with a clear perspective of God and life is essential to experiencing joy. When we understand just who God is, we will gladly place all our  hope on Him, and refuse to see ourselves as more than what we are – mere mortals. A God-focused perspective can bring peace even in the midst of difficulty, hope in the face of heartache, confidence even when surrounded by confusion and chaos. A healthy perspective of God gives us a healthy view of life.

Father, it is amazing that You, the God of the universe, would take time to even think about me, a mere man. But You do. You created me, care for me, sent Your Son to die for me and You have a plan that includes me. You are great, powerful, holy, sinless, righteous, and yet You choose to care for me. Thank You! Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 143 – Day 2

A Prayer For Direction, Not Just Deliverance.
(Based on Psalm 143)

Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Listen attentively to my cries for help!
Answer because of Your faithfulness and righteousness.
Whatever You do, don’t pass judgment on me,
Because there’s not a man alive who could pass that test.
I am calling to You because my enemies constantly pursue me,
The grind my life into the ground, forcing me to live in the dark like a dead man.
As a result, my spirit is weak within me, my heart is barren and lonely.
But I can recall the past, and I think about all those things You have done;
I reflect on all the things You have done with Your hands.
So I reach out to You, my soul thirsts for You, like dry land longs for rain.
Please answer me quickly, O Lord, because my spirit is fading fast,
Don’t turn Your back on me or I am as good as dead.
Let me tell others about Your unfailing love when I wake up in the morning,
Because I trust in You.
Show me the way in which You want me to live my life,
Because I am bearing my soul to You.
Rescue me from my enemies O Lord,
I run to You for protection.
Teach me to do what pleases You, because You are my God;
By Your good Spirit, lead me to a place marked by righteousness.
For the sake of Your reputation, revive me!
For the sake of Your righteousness, deliver my soul out of trouble.
And for the sake of Your unfailing love, destroy my enemies,
Put an end to all those who harass my soul,
Because I am Your servant.

Psalm 143 – Day 1

Show Me Where To Walk.

“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.” – Psalm 143:8 NLT

Prayer is an interesting activity. When we pray, we are oftentimes expressing to God what we want done. We are sharing our solutions to our own problems. In many cases, we treat God as some kind of cosmic Genie in the sky, except this Genie doesn’t limit our wishes to just three. We can go to Him on a constant basis with requests of all kinds. Or so it would seem. But the reality is that prayer requires an understanding of who God is and what His character is like. To ask God to do something that is not in His nature or that goes against His will would be ridiculous. But we do it all the same. God wants us to express our needs to Him, but I am not so sure that God needs help with the solution. Our prayers should be an expression of our trust and dependence on God. We got to Him because we know that He is the only one who can help. And He will help, but on His own terms and according to His own timing.

I find it interesting that David prayed quite openly and honestly with God in this Psalm. He shared that he was surrounded by enemies. He told God about his struggle with depression and his being paralyzed by fear. He asks God for rescue. He asks Him to preserve his life and bring him out of his distress. He even asked God to silence his enemies and to destroy all his foes. But the more enlightening thing was that David seemed to keep His requests consistent with what he knew about God. He appealed to God’s mercy. He asked God to answer because he knew God to be faithful and righteous. He knew that nothing he was asking of God was too great for Him, because he had heard about all the great things God had done in the past. He knew that his God was loving and would listen to him when he called to Him. Along with prayer for his problems, David asks God to “let me hear of your unfailing love each morning for I am trusting in you” (Psalm 143:8 NLT). What an interesting choice of words. He seems to be asking God to preserve him through the night and cause him to wake up to a renewed recognition of God’s unfailing love and mercy. He will “hear” of God’s love each morning. Others will be talking about it because God’s intervention in David’s life will be visible for all to see. It will be clear to all that this was a “God-thing.” Because David is trusting in God. Then David asks God to show him where to walk. He isn’t asking for literal directions, but is asking God to show him the manner in which he should live his daily life. He wants to know how to be a good king, a righteous father, a godly husband. He goes on to ask God to “teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing” (Psalm 143:10 NLT). He is asking God to train him to obey. David wasn’t just asking God to do thing for him, but he was passionate about learning to do what pleases God. He wanted to live a life in obedience to and dependence on God. Is that what we want? Is that what we pray and long for. David wanted rescue so that he could serve God. He wanted relief from trials and troubles, so he could spend more time worshiping and less time worrying. But he also knew that God would use those very same trials and troubles to reveal Himself to David through the display of His power, presence, love, mercy, and faithfulness. David trusted God. Do we?

Father, it is so easy for me to just come to You with my requests, but fail to want to get to know You. I want to hear of your unfailing love every morning. I want to wake up to a renewed realization of Your mercy and grace each day. I want You to teach me to do Your will, not mine. I want You to show me how to live my life in increasing obedience and dependence on You. You could give me all I ask for, but if I miss out on knowing You, I lose. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalms 140-142 – Day 2

You Are My God!
(Based On Psalm 140)

Save me, O Lord, from the evil person.
Faithfully keep me from the man who does wrong,
Whose heart is constantly plotting to do evil,
And lives to stir up trouble.
Their tongue pierces like the fangs of a snake,
Their smooth talk conceals poison.
Watch over me and protect me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked,
Acts as a watchman, guarding me from the violent man,
Who is out to knock me down every step I take.
These arrogant individuals secretly lay traps for me,
They lay a net along the path, using bait to lure me in.
I said to the Lord, “You are my God!”
Listen to my pleas for help!
You are Jehovah Adonai, the one whose strength provides my salvation.
You watched over me in battle, covering me with Your hand.
Don’t let the wicked have their way, O Lord,
Don’t let their wicked plans succeed, because they are proud.
As for the ringleader of the group who surrounds me,
Let the plans they have to harm me come back on them.
Let them get burned by their own wicked schemes,
Burn them with fire and let them fall into a deep pit from which they can’t escape.
Don’t let these men who slander others survive on this earth,
Let evil pursue them and overthrow them.
I know from experience that You will protect those whom they persecute,
You will show justice to those who deserve it.
Surely the righteous will have plenty of reason to praise Your name,
Those who live to please You will enjoy being in Your presence.

I Look To You For Help!
(Based on Psalm 141)

Lord, I call out to You, respond to me quickly!
Listen to the sound of my voice as I call out to You!
Let my prayer to You be a sweet fragrance to You, like incense,
And my uplifted hands like an acceptable sacrifice.
Guard my speech, O Lord, watch over what I say,
Don’t allow my heart to pursue evil,
Don’t let me follow the example of those who do wrong,
Or consume the “tasty treats” they offer.
Let the godly beat me into shape like a blacksmith does metal, out of love for me.
Let me find their correction soothing and healing,
But I will continue to pray against the wicked and all that they do.
Even their judges will be judged and thrown off the cliff to their deaths,
Then they will listen to all I have said and know I was right.
Our bones got scattered before we had a chance for burial,
We lie out in the open like rocks stirred up by the plow.
So I look to You, O Lord, it is in You I place my trust.
Don’t disappoint me!
Guard me from falling into the trap they have set for me,
And don’t let me take the bait they offer.
Instead, let them fall into their own traps and let me escape.

You Know What I Should Do.
(Based on Psalm 142)

I cry out to You, O Lord, I call out to You for mercy.
I spill my guts to You, I let You know all of my troubles.
But right when I felt like all was lost, You knew exactly where I was,
You were completely aware of all the traps they had set for me,
From my perspective, I looked around and their was no one to help me,
No one understand what I was going through, and nobody offered to help.
There was no one who even really cared.
So I cried out to You, O Lord,
I said, “You are my refuge, the only thing I really need in this life!”
Hear my cry, because I am at a really low point,
Deliver me from those who persecute me, because they are stronger than I am.
Release me from this prison, so that I can have reason to praise Your name,
Bring me into the company of other godly people, so they can support me.

Psalms 140-142 – Day 1

Seeing God As God.

“I said to the Lord, ‘You are my God!'” – Psalm 140:6 NLT

What an interesting statement. “I said to the Lord, ‘You are my God!'” Did God need to be told this? Was this some kind of revelation to Him from the lips of David? I don’t think so. But it was David’s way of saying that Jehovah (Lord), was the one he turned to, relied on, and believed in. David proved it by the content of the three prayers reflected by these three Psalms. David turns to God for rescue, protection, mercy, vengeance, justice, motivation for righteousness, help in times of trouble, refuge, compassion, empathy, understanding, encouragement, and strength. In fact, David knew he could turn to God when everyone else had proven themselves unreliable, unresponsive and uncaring. “I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. Then, I pray to you, O Lord” (Psalm 142:4-5 NLT).

To say that the Lord is my God is to say that He is my sole source of hope and the only object of my faith. I don’t have any other gods before me. I don’t worship anything or anyone else. I don’t turn to anything else for comfort or security, including fame, fortune, or friendships. To say that God is my God is to claim exclusive worship. It is to promise God that He alone is my Savior. He alone can rescue me. Only He can do something about my problems, which usually have far more to do with my own heart than my circumstances. To tell God that He is my God is a form of confession, but also a statement of commitment. Like David, I am saying that my allegiance belongs to Him, my prayers are directed to Him, my hope is placed in Him, and my worship is reserved for Him – and Him alone.

These three Psalms are expressions of need. They clearly indicate David’s hurt and heartache. David is opening up his soul to His God. He is telling Him exactly how he feels, because he knows that God cares and that God can do something about it. Every time we pray to God, we prove to Him that He is our God. We acknowledge our dependence on Him. Our prayers become “as incense offered” and our “upraised hands as an evening offering.”  God truly becomes our God when we rest in Him, rely on Him, turn to Him, and trust in Him.

Father, You are my God. You alone hear my prayers and have the capacity to answer them. You can do something about my needs and love me enough to do so. But I confess there are plenty of times I turn to other things for comfort, help, hope, security, and salvation. Thank You for Your patience with me. Continue to help me discover the truth of the statement, “You are my God!” Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 138-139 – Day 2

God Has A Plan For My Life.
(Based on Psalm 138)

I want to thank You from the depths of my heart,
I will sing Your praises so even the angels in heaven can hear me!
I will bow toward Your holy temple in Jerusalem and offer thanks for Your reputation:
Your unfailing love and faithfulness,
And keeping Your word is the greatest aspect of Your reputation.
Any time I have ever called out to You for help, You have always answered.
As a result I was filled with a boldness and confidence inside.
Every powerful person on earth would praise You, if they ever stopped long enough to listen to You.
And some day they will praise You, because You are an incredible God.
Yet even though You are exalted, You take time to care about the lowly.
But You keep Your distance from the proud.
And even though I live my life surrounded by trouble,
You will keep me alive, opposing all my enemies, and protecting me in Your hand.
You will complete Your plan for my life, because Your unfailing love for me never does fail.
You don’t abandon those whom You have made.

You Know Me Better Than I Know Myself.
(Based on Psalm 139)

O Lord, You have examined me closely and know everything there is to know about me.
You know every time I sit and every time I stand up.
Distance doesn’t prevent You from understanding every one of my thoughts.
Nothing I do escapes You, whether I am out and about or in bed.
You are highly familiar with everything I do.
You know what I am going to say before I even have a chance to say it!
You know my past and my future, Your hand is all over me.
When I think about all this, it blows me away, I can’t even comprehend it all.
Where can I go to escape You, or even attempt to hide from You?
If I were able to go to heaven, You would be there.
If I went the opposite direction, You would be there too.
If I got up at dawn and went to the other side of the sea,
You would still be guiding me and holding me in Your hand!
Even if I thought I could hide from Your view at night,
You would see me just as clearly, because day and night are one and the same to You.
You have been in control of my life from the beginning, from before I was even born.
I will praise You because You made me and that knowledge inspires both fear and wonder.
Nothing about me was unknown to You when I was formed,
You saw me even in my unfinished state,
You had recorded every day of my life before I had even lived a single second.
How priceless are your plans for me, O Lord, I can’t even add up their value.
Even if I could try to count them, they would be like the sand on the seashore!
Every time I wake up, I find myself in Your presence.
You will take care of the wicked people in my life, so they might as well leave now.
These people actually treat You wickedly, using Your name in vain.
I hate them because they hate You, I am burdened by those who resist You.
I despise them and count them as my enemies.
But I invite You to examine me, O Lord, to perceive what is in my heart;
Test me and know the content of my thoughts.
Inspect me closely, and see if there is anything about the way I live my life that is wicked,
And lead me along the path of righteousness You have chosen for me.

Psalms 138-139 – Day 1

Nobody Knows Me Better.

“The Lord will work out his plans for my life — for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.” – Psalm 138:8 NLT

There are times when I don’t even know myself. I do and say things that surprise even me. I can never know for sure how I will react to a given situation. I may respond in calmness and patience one day, then explode in anger and impatience the next. I have a limited understanding of what motivates me and why I act the way I do. Sometimes words come out of my mouth that catch me off guard. I can be disappointed in my own response to people and circumstances. There are those moments when I can appear as a stranger – even to myself.

But God knows me. He knows me better than I know myself. David understood this unbelievable characteristic about God. He knew that God was all-knowing, all-powerful, and always present. He knew that God was always there, and that God knew every single detail of his life, including what he was thinking and what he was going to say, even before the words came out of his mouth. David also understood that God had a plan for his life and that God was working that plan each and every day – regardless of what David’s circumstances might have looked like. All of this news about God can be both encouraging and scary. The fact that God knows everything there is to know about us can be a bit intimidating or we can find it comforting. David was prone to the latter. He understood that along with God’s divine attributes of omniscience (He knows everything), omnipotence (He is all-powerful), and omnipresence (He is everywhere at once), God was also all-loving, completely faithful, and a God who keeps all of His promises all of the time. So the fact that God knew all of David’s thoughts didn’t scare him, it comforted him. David was able to say, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me” (Psalm 139:1 NLT). That thought caused David to say, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand” (Psalm 139:6 NLT). David might not have fully comprehended the reality of God’s all-knowing, all-powerful presence in his life, he DID appreciate it. David knew that God had created him – he was a byproduct of God’s imagination and creative capabilities. He was not a mistake or an act of chance. “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Psalm 139:16 NLT). What an amazing thought.

This understanding of God’s intimate relationship with him caused David to invite God to do something that for many of us sounds a bit risky. It sounds like an invitation that could end up producing some less-than-satisfactory results. But keep in mind, David knew that God loved him and had a plan for his life. He trusted God. There was nothing that God did not know about his life. There was nothing that David thought or did that was hidden from God. So he asked God to “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 1139:23-24 NLT). David was asking God to reveal to him what only God knew about him. David was asking God to show him things about his life he was incapable of seeing or even knowing. As men, we can’t really know our hearts. He can’t fully understand our motives. We are blinded by pride and self-righteousness, and we can deceive ourselves into thinking we are really better than we are. So David goes to the one source that can see past the facade and look into the inner recesses of our hearts. He asks God, the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-loving God to do an MRI of his life and reveal the results. David knew that God loved him and had a plan for his life. But David also knew that he was a man who was prone to sin. He knew his heart was not to be trusted. He knew that he was incapable of really knowing what was going on in his heart. So he asked God to examine, test, and prove him. He asked God to point out anything and everything that was an offense to Him. Scary? Yes. Risky? Not really. David was simply learning what God already knew. David was tapping into God’s limitless understanding and relying on God’s unfailing love for him.

Father, You love me. And what’s amazing is that You love me even though You know everything there is to know about me. There is nothing I can hide from You. I can’t fool you with my pious activities or acts of religious pretense. I can’t fake faith in front of You. You know me just as I am and yet You love me anyway. Give me the heart of David, that I might ask You to search me, know my heart, test me, know the cause of all my anxious thoughts, and point out everything in my life that offends You. The sooner I see the truth about myself, the sooner I can confess my sins and get back on Your path for my life. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men