Psalm 29 – Day 1

Give God Glory.

“Acknowledge the Lord, you heavenly beings,acknowledge the Lord’s majesty and power! Psalm 29:1 NET

How do you honor someone you can’t see? How do you recognize and rejoice in the greatness of a God that is invisible? That has always been a problem for the people of God. Abraham had private conversations with God. So did Moses. He even caught glimpses of God’s glory in the burning bush and was allowed to see God’s back as he passed by him on the mountain. A handful of God’s people have had supernatural glimpses of God’s glory. For the rest of us, we are left with the task of trying to honor and adequately ascribe to God the glory He so richly deserves. For David, it was quite simple. He saw God all around him. When he looked into the night sky and saw all the stars and planets, he saw the hand of God. They were a reflection of God’s glory. After his anointing as God’s choice as the next king of Israel, he spent years running from King Saul and hiding in the wilderness. While sitting in the mouth of a cave in the middle of the rugged mountain landscape, he saw more than his fair share of storms. As he witnessed the lightning flash across the night sky and occasionally strike a tree, shattering it in two; and as he listened to the thunder echo off the canyon walls, shaking the ground beneath his feet, David couldn’t help but think of God. To him, the thunder was the very voice of God. It was a reminder of God’s incomparable power. The very voice of God was enough to cause David to stand in awe. Seven times in this passage David refers to God’s voice. He knew that God had spoken the world into existence. He recognized that God’s words carried weight and the sound of His voice was more powerful than the strongest lightning and capable of bringing great destruction or incredible blessing.

David was a king. He understood the concept of power. He knew that the king’s word was law. But he also knew that his power was limited and his voice only carried so much weight. But God’s voice was limitless in power. God deserved glory and a recognition on the part of both angels and men that He alone is worthy of worship. David begins this Psalm by encouraging us to give to God honor for His glory and strength. He reminds us to recognize God for who He is and worship Him accordingly. He alone is King. His voice is powerful and He is worthy of our worship and praise. But then David ends His Psalm with a comforting thought. This same great, glorious, powerful, majestic God gives His people strength and blesses them with security. David knew that it wasn’t he and his mighty men who protected the people of Israel – it was God. God gave them strength to face their enemies. God gave them strength to withstand adversity. And it was God who blessed them with peace  – shalom – not just an absence of conflict, but a sense of completeness, an awareness of well-being and security in the midst of adversity.

The next time a storm rolls into town and you find yourself woken up by the sound of thunder, think about God. When you look out the window and watch the lightning flash across the sky, think about God. You are getting a little glimpse of the incredible power of God. Let it remind you of just how great He is. Let it cause you to give Him the glory He so richly deserves. “Honor the Lord for the glory is his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness” (Psalm 29:2 NLT).

Father, Your power is all around us, but we fail to recognize it. We just see nature, but we don’t see the God behind it. Give me the eyes of David. Help me to see You all around me. Let me recognize Your presence in all of life. I want to worship You and honor You for who You are. I want to grow in my awareness of Your power and glory. Open my eyes so that I might see You more clearly each day. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalms 27-28 – Day 2

Waiting On God.
(Based on Psalm 27)

God is the light of my life,
Illuminating my path and making me successful in all I do.
He is my source of salvation, delivering me in times of need.
He is the one I turn to for refuge and protection.
So why in the world would I be afraid of anyone or anything?
Anytime anyone has tried to hurt or harm me, even my enemies,
They have always failed in their mission.
Even if I should ever find myself facing insurmountable odds,
I will have no reason to be fearful.
Even if they decide to attack me, I will keep trusting in God.

I have one simple request from God, one desire:
That He would allow me to enjoy the peace of His presence my whole life.
So that I could be with Him and experience His marvelous grace.
When the bad times come, God will provide me with a place to hide.
I will find refuge and shelter with Him.
As long as I’m with Him, I’m out of reach of my enemies.
I can look down on them with confidence and peace.
So when I am with Him I want to thank Him,
I want to sing His praises and offer my gratitude in appropriate ways.

Please hear me when I call out to You, Lord.
Show me Your mercy by answering my requests.
You’ve invited me to come into Your presence,
So that’s exactly what I am doing.
It would kill me if You ever hid from me,
Or turned away from me in anger.
You’ve always been there for me.
I am counting on You to never leave me or forsake me,
Because You are my only source of salvation.
Should my own father and mother abandon me,
You would be there to take me in.
Dangers are out there,
So I depend on You to point my life in the right direction, Lord,
To lead me down the right path.
Don’t allow those who wish me harm to succeed.
If I didn’t believe You would help me,
I would have given up a long time ago.

The best advice I can give anyone is to wait on God.
Eagerly expect Him to act.
It will strengthen your faith and encourage your heart,
As You learn to excitedly anticipate great things from God.

Without God’s Help, All Is Hopeless.
(Based on Psalm 28)

I cry out to You, Lord, because You’re my rock,
And I depend on You to answer me.
If you don’t, I am no better off than the worst sinner,
I am helpless and doomed to failure.
So I ask You to hear me when I call for help,
Respond when I cry out to You and lift up my hands in need.

I know that without You my fate is the same as everyone else.
I’ll be no different than those who are Your enemies,
Or who live to do bad things.
Give them exactly what they deserve, Lord.
They don’t honor You or acknowledge Your activity in the world.
But I will kneel before You, Lord,
Because You have heard my prayers.
You are who I turn to for strength and protection.
When I put my confidence in You, I am never disappointed.
That’s why I have joy in my heart
And a song of praise on my lips.

You alone have the power to save and rescue Your people.
So I ask You to do just that.
Save us, bless us, feed us, and carry us in Your arms forever.

Psalms 27-28 – Day 1

Waiting On God.

“Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” – Psalm 27:14 NLT

Prayer and patience. Two things that don’t come easily to most of us. We may pray regularly, but we probably wait for God’s answers impatiently. We don’t like to wait. We have a hard time understanding God’s delays, especially when we’ve already told Him what we want Him to do. What could He be waiting for? Why doesn’t He just go ahead and give us our request – just like we shared it? But David had a confidence in God that was based on his understanding of the character of God. In the midst of difficulty, David could experience rest and a lack of fear, because he knew that God would save and protect him. If he found himself surrounded by the enemy and even under attach, he would not fear, but remain confident – because he could trust God. Waiting on God’s answer had become second nature to David. The circumstances that surrounded David were only important to David in that they provided him with an opportunity to trust God and spend time in communion with Him. They gave him the chance to talk to God personally and intimately. While he waited for his answer, he just continued to spend time with God. “Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.'” (Psalm 27:7-8 NLT).

David wanted more from God than just rescue. He wanted a relationship. He desired to have God teach him, not just bail him out of trouble. He wanted God to lead him, not just provide him with a trouble-free life. David seemed to understand that the trials of life were there to help him turn to and trust in God. They were opportunities for him to see God work. So he prayed to God. He put his confidence in God. He looked to God as his source of strength and protection. He knew God would provide him with salvation as well as direction. So he was willing to wait patiently on Him. And he could encourage others to do the same. “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14 NLT). God is faithful. Like a shepherd who lovingly holds his sheep in his protective arms, God carries and cares for us. He is our source of strength, safety, security, and salvation from anything and anyone that comes against us. So why should we be afraid? Why should we become impatient?

Father, what a great reminder of who You are. My fear and impatience are nothing more than a reflection of my own doubt and ignorance of who You really are. I see my troubles as greater than You are. I see my circumstances as too much for You to handle. When I fear and doubt, I am casting dispersions on Your love and faithfulness. I am saying You either won’t or can’t save me in my time of need. But You are always faithful and loving. Help me to wait patiently and confidently in You. Help me to be brave and courageous because of the reality of who You are. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 26 – Day 2

A Life of Integrity
(Based on Psalm 26)

You be the judge of my life, Lord,
For I have tried to live it right out in front of You – honestly and openly.
I put my confidence in You, so I am not worried.
Take a good, close look at me, Lord,
Test me, prove me, refine me like gold,
To see if there is anything impure in my heart.
I have a constant awareness of Your faithful love,
And I have tried to live my life according to Your Word.
I don’t make a habit of hanging out with people of worthless character,
I don’t associate with those who attempt to hide their lives from You.
I hate being in the company of those who love evil.
I’ve got clean hands and a pure heart,
So I can come into Your presence with confidence,
Expressing my thanks to You and telling others of all You’ve done in my life.
I love being with You, surrounded by Your glory.

Don’t include me in the ranks of unrepentant sinners,
Don’t punish me like those who live to do evil.
Everything they do, their whole purpose in life is evil,
Even the things that appear good are done for the wrong reasons.
But that’s not me. I try to live my life with integrity,
Uncompartmentalized and wholly dedicated to You.
But ultimately, You must ransom and set me free,
You have to be willing to show me mercy,
So that I can find myself standing confidently in Your presence,
Offering praise to You for what You have done.

Psalm 26 – Day 1

A Life of Integrity.

“Declare me innocent, O Lord, for I have acted with integrity; I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.” – Psalm 26:1 NLT

The life of integrity. What exactly is it? David was able to say, “I live with integrity” (Psalm 26:11 NLT). He said that he had acted or literally “walked” (lived his life) with integrity. In the Hebrew language the word is tom and it refers to completeness or wholeness. To live with integrity is to live a life that is non-compartmentalized. In other words, there is no such thing as the secular-sacred split. A person who lives in integrity allows the things of God to impact and influence every area of their life, including their home, work, leisure time, recreation, relationships, finances, etc. There is no area in his life for which someone might be able to point their finger and level an accusation of impropriety or un-Christlike behavior. It is the same idea found in the qualifications for an elder or deacon in 1 Timothy: “If someone aspires to be an elder,he desires an honorable position. So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife.He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinkeror be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap. In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money. They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons” (1 Timothy 3:1-10 NLT).

A life of integrity is not a life of perfection, but simply a life where our motives and attitudes are marked by a desire to do what God would have us do. It carries an evidence of a love for the things of God rather than the things of this world. A person of integrity is willing to trust God with their WHOLE life and dedicate every area of their life to His service, not holding back anything for their own selfish pleasures or desires. As David indicates, it is motivated by the unfailing love of God and is a reaction to all that He has done for us in Christ. A person of integrity knows their life does not belong to them, but to God. It is not for them to use as they see fit. That is why David said, “I do not spend time with liars or go along with hypocrites. I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked” (Psalms 26:4-5 NLT). A person of integrity would rather spend time with God and His people than with anyone else. It is a life of separateness and set-apartness, not compromise and convenience. Which is why David could say, “Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me” (Psalm 26:2 NLT). He was willing to allow God to test the purity of his faithfulness and the validity of his integrity.

What about us? Could our integrity stand up to the heat of God’s scrutiny? Is our life characterized more by compartmentalization or wholeness? Are there any areas of our life for which we refuse to turn control over to God? Because of the integrity of his life, David found himself standing on firm footing. He was trusting on the integrity of God and placing his hope in Him. He had found God to be faithful and true.  God had proven Himself to be anything but compartmentalized in His relationship with and reaction to David.  And so David was willing to live all of his life for God’s glory. Paul said it this way, “I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him” (Romans 12:1 NLT). God wants a complete or whole sacrifice – not partial. His Son died to redeem all of us, not part of us. To live a life of integrity is to give God all that I am because His Son gave His life to redeem all of me.

Father, I want my life to be marked by integrity. Not the worldly, human version, but the biblical version. I want every area of my life to be Yours. I know I hold parts back, afraid to let You control them. But continue to lovingly pry my hands off of those areas I hold so dear and let me place them on the altar as a sacrifice to You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 25 – Day 2

I Look to the Lord
(Based on Psalm 25)

I open up my life to you, O Lord,
Because I trust in you as my God.
Don’t let me be disappointed,
So that my enemies might have reason to celebrate.
But then I remember that no one who looks eagerly to you is ever disappointed,
Because disappointment and shame are for those live without faith.

Lord, help me discern the right direction for my life;
Show me the road you want me to follow.
Point me in the right direction using Your Word,
And if necessary, discipline me so that I learn well,
For You are the sole source of my salvation.
That’s why I eagerly look to You each and every day!
I ask you to remember Your tender mercy and faithful love,
Which have been around as long as You have.
But I ask You to forget all the sins I have ever committed,
Including the sins of my youth and all my blatant acts of rebellion.
Let Your memory of me be based on Your faithful love,
And for the sake of Your own goodness, not mine.

My God is good and always does the right thing.
He lovingly points out the right path to those who’ve lost their way through sin.
He’s the one who helps people do what’s right,
Like bear injuries rather than return them.
He trains them to live according to His way, not the world’s.
To those who defend His covenant and His Word,
The ways of the Lord reflect His unfailing love and faithfulness.

I ask you, O Lord, to forgive my extreme depravity,
Not because I deserve it, but for the sake of Your own reputation.
Who is the man that truly fears God?
It is the man for whom God has pointed out the right path to take.
This is the man who will experience a pleasant life,
Impacting the generations to come after them.
This man receives counsel directly from God,
He lets them experience His covenant first-hand.
That’s why I keep my eyes focused on the Lord,
Because He delivers me out of the traps of life.

Turn to me and show me Your grace and favor, Lord,
For I am the only one and am in great need.
The stress I feel in my heart is great,
So I ask You to rescue me from them all!
I ask You to see all my troubles and trials,
And to take away all my sins.
Look and see all my enemies,
And how they hate me with a violent hatred.
Guard me, O Lord, snatch me away from them!
Don’t let me be put to shame, because I run to You for protection.
May the integrity and uprightness of who You are watch over me,
For I look to You with eager hope and expectation.

O God, pay the price to set Your people free from all their troubles.

Psalm 25 – Day 1

Looking To God.

“Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” – Psalm 25:5 NLT

This is an amazing Psalm. Over and over again it reminds us that there is only one place we are to look for help, hope, healing, deliverance, direction, instruction, inspiration, mercy, forgiveness, and love. Whether things are going great or life has taken a turn for the worse, David tells us that, from his experience, God is worth trusting. In fact, all throughout this Psalm David uses the Hebrew word qavah, which means “to wait for, hope for, and to look eagerly for.” There is a sense of anticipation and expectation built into the word. This is not about some hopeless resignation because there’s nothing else we can do. It is an eager expectation based on God’s reputation for righteousness, mercy, love, power, forgiveness, and salvation. David doesn’t just pray for God’s deliverance, he fully expects it.

David had a long-term perspective. He did not let current circumstances cloud or influence his understanding of God’s faithful love and ability to deliver at just the right moment. He knew he could trust God to come through for him. But he knew more than just that God could deliver from trouble. He knew God could direct and guide, providing a clear understanding of what path to take in life. David’s God didn’t just protect his life, He pointed out the way to live a full and meaningful life. David asks God to “show me the right path” (Psalm 25:4 NLT). He isn’t just asking God to point it out, but to clearly make it known so that there is no chance of mistake. David asks God to “lead me by your truth and teach me” (Psalm 25:5 NLT). The word translated “lead” carries the idea of God showing David where to place each footstep along the way. And David knows that God’s direction comes from God’s Word. The amazing thing is that David asks God to teach him. The word David uses for “teach” is the Hebrew word lamad, which means to strike with a rod or to chastise. It was a word used in reference to the training or discipline of cattle. David is inviting God to train him, even if God has to use a little physical discipline. When was the last time you asked God to teach you and not spare the pain?

How could David ask such a thing? He knew that his God was holy, just, righteous and good. “The Lord is good and does what is right” (Psalm 25:8 NLT). He “leads with unfailing love and faithfulness” (Psalm 25:10 NLT). David knew that God had his best interest in mind – all the time. Even in his worst moments, David knew that he could turn to God and God would understand, empathize, rescue, restore, teach, guide, discipline, and love him through it all. This Psalm reminds us that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, faithful, righteous, merciful, personal, forgiving, and completely worthy of our trust. David looked to God. He kept his eyes focused on God. But we live in a world where it is easy to focus our attention elsewhere. We can easily look to someone or something else to bring us peace, escape from pain, hope, happiness, wisdom, and protection. But none of those things can deliver. None of them can give us what we’re looking for. They offer empty promises and always leave us with unfulfilled desires. But God delivers. God comes through. God always shows up, so David kept looking up. “My eyes are always on the Lord, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies” (Psalm 25:15 NLT). Where are you looking today? Why not look up and eagerly wait for God to show up?

Father, this Psalm is so rich and jam-packed with insights into Your character. Help them to come alive in my life and experience. I want to look to You, rely on You, rest in You, wait on You, and eagerly hope in You. Because You are my God. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 24 – Day 2

The King of Glory
(Based on Psalm 24)

Not only does the earth belong to the Lord,
So does everything on it, including every single person.
It is God who separated the land from the sea
When He created the world in the first place.

So who has a right to come into the presence of someone so powerful?
What would allow anyone worthy of standing before someone so holy?
Think about it. Only the person who has clean hands and a pure heart!
Someone whose life is not characterized by worthless conduct and lies.
It’s that kind of person who will receive God’s blessing and justification.
That’s the kind of people who seek You, O Lord.

Open up the gates, swing open the doors,
And let the King of Glory in!
How will you know who the King of Glory is?
He is the Lord, powerful and strong,
He is the Lord, who has proven His strength in battle.
So open up the gates, swing open the doors,
And let the King of Glory in!
How will you know who the King of Glory is?
He is the Lord, the leader of the armies of heaven,
He is the King of Glory.

Psalm 24 – Day 1

The King of Glory.

“Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle.” – Psalm 24:6 NLT

Ultimately, this song is about God. It speaks of His holiness, power, glory, and transcendence. God is not like us. We are not like God. We can’t just come into His presence any time we want – flippantly or arrogantly. We must recognize His holiness and our own sinfulness. God is separate from us. He is the creator and we are His creation. Everything, including us, belongs to Him. We exist by Him and for Him – not the other way around. God is not our personal valet. He is not our life coach or personal trainer. David reminds us that God is not someone who is to be treated lightly or with disdain. Those who seek God and enjoy the benefits of a relationship with Him are those whose deeds are blameless, whose hearts are pure and innocent, and whose lives are not marked by worthless, vain conduct. They recognize that their behavior plays a big part in their ability to enjoy God’s blessings.

God is the King of glory. He is deserving of our praise, adoration, worship, wonder, awe, reverence, fear, and respect. He is strong and mighty. He is holy and righteous. He is set apart. He is above all and deserving of all glory and honor. It is God’s separateness and our own sinfulness that make the cross of Jesus Christ special to us. It is Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross that allows us – as sinful men and women – to have access to the very throne room of God. It is what He has done that allows us to share in His righteousness and be viewed by God as holy. We have access into His presence not because WE are blameless and pure in and of ourselves, but because Jesus Christ was blameless and pure. Because He took all our sinfulness on Himself at the cross, we inherited His righteousness. We are seen by God as blameless, innocent, clean, pure, holy and righteous.

And God has given us His Holy Spirit to indwell us and empower us to live holy lives. We have the ability to live righteously and rightly – in spite of the presence of our sinful natures. We can live by the Spirit or we can live according to the flesh (our sinful nature). We can live in obedience or disobedience. The choice is up to us. Each day we must recognize God’s holiness and our own sinfulness. We must remember what Christ has done for us on the cross. We must rest in the fact that we have the same power that raised Christ from the dead living within us in the form of the Holy Spirit. We can live holy lives. We can say no to sin and yes to God’s transformative power in our lives. Our daily desire should be to come into God’s presence – recognizing His holiness and our responsibility to treat Him with dignity, honor and respect. Paul put it this way, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him” (Romans 12:1 NLT). We belong to Him. He paid for us with His own Son’s life. We are to give our lives to Him and allow Him to transform us into the likeness of His Son – and in so doing, honoring Him for who He is – the King of glory.

Father, never let me treat You with anything but respect, glory, and honor. Never let me get so casual with You that I lose sight of your holiness. Never let me take for granted that I have access into Your presence because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. You are the King of glory and You deserve my respect, honor, and awe. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalm 23 – Day 2

Shepherd Wanted.
(Based on Psalm 23)

I’m just a sheep, but I’ve got a Great Shepherd.
Thanks to Him, I have everything I need.
He leads me to pastures with abundant grass,
And streams with clean, cold water
Where I find it easy to relax and renew.
He has a reputation for keeping me on the right track.
But even if he has to lead me down a difficult path,
I don’t panic or stress, because He’s always with me.
He uses the tools of his trade to keep me safe.
It’s like God is treating me to a banquet,
Right in front of my enemies.
He honors me, and they can’t stand it.
He blesses me, and it drives them crazy.
Throughout my life, God pursues me with His goodness,
He showers me with His unfailing love.
He has made me a permanent guest in His home.