Thursday, March 31, 2011

Look Deep Within

The Lord passes judgment on the nations. Declare me righteous, O Lord, for I am innocent, O Most High! End the wickedness of the ungodly, but help all those who obey you. For you look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God. Psalm 7: 8-9 NLT

Well, this is pretty presumptuous!  Declare me righteous, God. I am innocent, God. Help those who obey you (like me), God. How can we justify our own goodness and righteousness?

But the psalmist continues by saying: you look deep within the mind and heart.

God looks deep within the mind and heart. If we are good, if we are righteous, if we are innocent, God knows it. We should as well.

I suppose I rarely think that, however. I always think I am guilty of something. I am never good enough. Certainly, I don't think I am so good that God knows it by looking into my heart. That is why I depend upon Jesus and God's mercy!

How about you? Have there been times (this may be one of them) that you felt innocent in your heart and mind? Has there been any occasions when you claimed goodness but inside knew you were not? What were your prayers like during these times? Have you ever prayed a prayer such as found in these verses?

God, you look deep within my mind and heart. You alone are completely righteous. May I be righteous in my innocence and my obedience, O Most High. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wake up, God!

Hello! Not sure if anyone out there is still reading these daily devotionals. If so, I apologize for getting behind this past week. My writing day is Wednesday and if I loose one Wednesday, it is difficult to catch up. Will do my best to not let that happen again. Thanks for reading and please share with your friends! 

Arise, O Lord, in anger! Stand up against the fury of my enemies! Wake up, my God, and bring justice! Gather the nations before you. Sit on your throne high above them. Psalm 7: 6-7 NLT

Get up!
Stand up!
Wake up!
Gather up!
Sit up!

Is that any way to talk to God? Like you are the parent fussing at a wayward child? Or a coach at a underperforming player?

Wake up, God, and come judge all these people for me! Stand up, God, and do what is right! Just get angry, God, and come face my enemies!

Perhaps not the best attitude to have about God, as though God is the genie in the sky who is at our personal beck and call. However, this is real.

So many times in our lives we, as both individuals and communities, see injustice done or have been victims of what we perceive to be injustice. When that happens we want God on our side. We want God to vindicate us. We then cry out to God to wake up, stand up, judge up. It isn't as though God is going to be at our beck and call. But with the psalmist wanting the same kinds of things, we know that it is acceptable and healthy to cry out to God in this manner.

Thanks be to God for the psalms! And thanks be to God for allowing us to cry out in this way! Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, March 25, 2011

On My Honor

O Lord my God, if I have done wrong or am guilty of injustice, if I have betrayed a friend or plundered my enemy without cause, then let my enemies capture me. Let them trample me into the ground. Let my honor be left in the dust.  Psalm 7: 3-5 NLT

The psalmist speaks of what they feel is dishonorable:
Doing wrong.
Guilt over doing an injustice.
Betraying a friend.
Plundering one's enemy without cause.

If the psalmist has done any of those things, God can let their enemy capture them and trample them to the ground. Their honor is already dust in that case: so should their body be as well.

What are some actions that you would consider to be dishonorable? 
Have you ever done something that someone has considered dishonorable? 
Do people even admire those who are honorable anymore? 
Or has what was once considered to be honorable changed? 

God, we all have different views of what is honorable. But we want to be honorable in your eyes. Help us to govern our actions and behavior so that we are always honorable to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, March 24, 2011

They will maul me like a lion

I come to you for protection, O Lord my God. Save me from my persecutors - rescue me! If you don't, they will maul me like a lion, tearing me to pieces with no one to rescue me. Psalm 7: 1-2 NLT

Psalm 7 begins very simply and honestly.  God is being asked to protect the one praying. This is a personal request made to a personal God. I am just coming to ask you for protection, God. Please save me, rescue me!

Then  Psalm 7 begins to become graphic. If you don't save me, God, I will be mauled like a lion. I will be torn to pieces. I will be left bleeding and dying on the ground. You are the only one who can rescue me. If you don't save me, there will be no one to save me. Is this manipulating God? Or is this just continuing to be truthful?

Have you ever been in a circumstance where you felt God was the only one who could rescue you? Have you experienced a time in your life when you felt like you were going to be mauled by lions? What did you pray to God (or did you)? Did you find yourself becoming a bit over dramatic or did you stick with the truth?

God, we come to you for protection when we feel there is no other course of action. Help us to always ask for your protection no matter our circumstances. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Go Away

Go away, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my crying. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer. May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame. Psalm 6: 8-10 NLT

Sometimes when I am sad I like to have people around to comfort me. At other times, give me some chocolate, a box of tissues and a good movie!

The psalmist is here wanting some serious space. Go away all you evil people! God will listen to me, even if you won't! I appealed to God and I know he listened to my petition. I would like to see you disgraced as I have been! I wonder if you would like it to be as terrified as I am! May you realize your mistake and be shamed.

Are these really evil people? Are these the same people who hurt the psalmist? Do they need to be disgraced and terrified, to experience the same types of things? Do they need to be shamed?

Or is the psalmist simply being hurt again by these same enemies?

God, when we are at the lowest points in our lives, we know that you hear our pleas. May we have the space when we need it and the comfort when that is our deepest desire. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Wet Pillow

I am worn out from sobbing. Every night tears drench my bed; my pillow is wet from weeping. My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies. Psalm 6: 6-7 NLT

This person is really hurting. The imagery in this psalm is powerful. Imagine being worn out from sobbing, from crying so hard that you fall in a deep but uneasy sleep. Visualize what you look like after crying. Think about a time you cried so hard that you could not see. Picture someone who has cried so much that they cannot make another sound. Think about how it feels to lie in bed with tears running down your face into your hair and ears.

This is not just a pity party. The psalmist is experiencing true grief and hurt. The anger of God is being felt by the psalmist at a personal level. The psalmist is heart-breakingly sorrowful. This is not just a mental but a physical reaction to grief and punishment. The proof is in the wet pillow.

Have you ever felt like this?

How did you get through this?

Did you spend anytime in prayer?

What could you do to help others who may be experiencing this kind of sorrow?

God, we sometimes feel overwhelming grief over losses, hurts and mistakes. Help us to cry out to you in these times. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, March 21, 2011

Save Me Because...

Return, O Lord, and rescue me. Save me because of your unfailing love.  For in death, who remembers you? Who can praise you from the grave? Psalm 6: 4-5 NLT

Okay, this is pretty sneaky. It reminds me of the time God got very mad at the people who were misbehaving while Moses was receiving the ten commandments. God wanted to destroy them all and make descendants from Moses. Moses countered: What would all the surrounding nations think of God who saved his people from slavery only to destroy them?

These verses are of the same kind of argument. God, you need to save me now because what good am I going to be to you dead? I won't be able to praise you then. Of course, you and I as Christians could argue differently. But for the psalmist, this was a pretty good argument.

Have you ever argued with God? Have you ever made a deal with God? Did you ever say, God if you will do this, then I will do that? Rescue me now and I will praise you forever!

The best argument you and I need is the one hidden in the midst of verse 4: Save me because of your unfailing love.

Save me because you love me.
Not because I can do something for you.
Not because I can only praise you while living.
Not because we've made some big deal.

Save me because of your unfailing love.

God, you love us so much. Help us not to make deals with you but to simply love you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sick At Heart

O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage. Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my body is in agony. I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord, until you restore me? Psalm 6: 1-3 NLT

During the season of Lent it is customary to have some kind of prayer of confession during worship. Because of what Jesus did for each of us, we come to this time admitting our faults and realizing how far we have let ourselves drift from God. We promise to turn over a new leaf, to do better this next year. But even in being penitent, we overlook how God may be really seeing us. Perhaps we think that if we can just do this right, God will forget all about our wrongdoings.

The psalmist has done something that has greatly angered God. The psalmist also realizes their wrong. I am weak, in agony and sick at heart God. When will you stop being angry at me? When will you have compassion on me? When will you restore our relationship, God?

The psalmist knows that God is not going to forget the wrongdoings but that God does have compassion and mercy. God is willing to forgive.

Are you willing to truly admit your wrongdoings?

God, you are willing to restore us but we must be willing to honestly see our wrongdoings. Help us to have eyes to see and hearts quick to realize our faults. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Love and Joy

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Protect them, so all who love your name may be filled with joy. For you bless the godly, O Lord, surrounding them with your shield of love. Psalm 5: 11-12 NLT

Too many times we think that God's protection means we will not suffer and we will be rewarded materially. But these verses remind us that the rewards given to those who are in right relationship with God are joy and love.

Joy: Let all who take refuge in you (depend upon you, declare you as their savior) rejoice, let them forever sing with joy. In your protection, in loving you, will they be filled with joy. Filled with enough joy that it makes you want to sing God's praises eternally!

Love: Bless the godly and surround them with your shield of love. Surrounded by love!

Although we agree that this sounds nice, is that what we are really wanting God to do for us? How many of us are longing for a relationship with God that is rewarded with peace and prosperity? Sure, we can trust God but we are also looking for God to take away suffering in our lives. Can joy and love be found in the same moment as suffering? Was Jesus feeling joy and love when he gave his life for us?

I don't have the answers. But I do understand that what God wants to reward us with is different from what we want to be rewarded.

God, protect us and fill us with your joy. Surround us with your shield of love. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, March 18, 2011

Let God do the Judging

O God, declare them guilty. Let them be caught in their own traps.  Drive them away because of their many sins, for they rebel against you. Psalm 5:10 NLT

How many times have you judged someone else who has done something to hurt you?  Have you been quick to devise some sort of punishment?

The psalmist lets God do the judging and the punishment.

God, you declare them guilty.

God I will let them be caught in their own traps -- I myself will not try to entrap them.

God, I will let you drive them away because of their many sins and their rebellion against you.

Instead of going around and bad-mouthing that person, the psalmist speaks against them in their prayers to God. It is God who hears their troubles and their hurts. It is also up to God to deal with the person who hurt them.

How can you let God do the judging and punishment in your own life?

God, we will hand over the judgments to you. It is for you to declare guilt and to drive the rebellious away. Help us not to think we can be you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Foul Talk

My enemies cannot speak one truthful word. Their deepest desire is to destroy others. Their talk is foul, like stench from an open grave. Their speech is filled with flattery. Psalm 5: 9 NLT

Our words can hurt. We can hurt others more easily than we think by what comes out of our mouth or even what we type on facebook or in an email. Our words can destroy friendships, create walls of hatred and sow discord.

How do we know this to be so?

Because you and I have been hurt. I know that there has been at least one time in your life where you found yourself saying: My enemies cannot speak one truthful word. Or perhaps you felt that others' deepest desire was to destroy you because of something they said. Do you remember a time like that? How did you cope?

Or maybe you were flattered by someone who was not being honest. They soon turned around and criticized you. You were not only hurt but surprised at their actions. What did you do in response?

Either way, their speech was foul, like the smell of rotting flesh. Ew!

So, because we have been hurt by others' words, we need to watch our own words. I am as guilty as the next person with putting my foot in my mouth. I have made enemies without even realizing it.

How about you?

God, help us to speak the truth and to watch what we say and write. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Show me which way to turn

Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Tell me clearly what to do, and show me which way to turn. Psalm 5: 8 NLT

I am really bad about making my own decisions and deciding to do things on impulse. Even when I spend some time in thought, I rarely invite God's direction. I might ask for advice from others but God is the last one to whom I will go. The only exception to this in the last couple of years has been for big life choices.

Psalm 5 reminds me and you that only God can keep us on the right path. We need simply ask for direction.

If we don't, our enemies (physical or otherwise) will conquer us.

God can tell us clearly what to do and show us which way to turn.

We just have to ask for discernment and direction.

What decisions - large or small - are you contemplating today?

Let's pray:

God, lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. I lift up this situation to you: ______________________.  Tell me clearly what to do, and show me which way to turn. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Deepest Awe

Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; with deepest awe I will worship at your Temple. Psalm 5:7 NLT

Psalm 5 has gone from listing what God can't tolerate to admitting that the psalmist has also done some of these same things. We know this because the psalm says that only God's steady love has brought them into God's place of worship. If the psalmist were dependent on his own deeds and righteousness, he'd be struck down upon entering.

So, it is with deepest awe that the psalmist can worship in God's house.

Do you worship regularly with a community of faith? Have you ever considered that you are only able to do so with God's mercy and grace? Have you ever felt unworthy in worship? Does your worship time include just realizing how powerful yet loving God is? When in worship do you feel the deepest awe of God?

Think on these things next time you are in church.

God, because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; with deepest awe I will worship in your sanctuary. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, March 14, 2011

Things God Can't Tolerate

O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the slightest sin. Therefore, the proud will not be allowed to stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil. You will destroy those who tell lies. The Lord detests murderers and deceivers. Psalm 5: 4-6 NLT

Here is a list of things that God will not tolerate:

Telling lies.

Most of these might seem obvious like sin and murder.

But what about pride? Or telling lies? Or deceiving?

Are you proud of your accomplishments? I mean P-R-O-U-D? Can't stop talking about them or bringing the conversation back to what you have done?

Have you ever told "a little white lie" in order to "protect" someone? Is there even a level of lying (black, white, grey, etc.)? Why do we always think we must say something, anyway?

How about deceiving someone? Have you ever covered up something at work to make yourself or your boss look good? Have you made a bigger deal out of one thing in order to hide something else? Deceiving can take many forms, even when we feel that the outcome will be good or at least will benefit us in some way.

Before pointing fingers, we must always first look at ourselves.

God, there are many things you cannot tolerate. Help us to not deceive ourselves into thinking we have never done any of those things. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Some Serious Praying

O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I will never pray to anyone but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5: 1-3 NLT

What words to use with praying: groaning, cry for help, will never pray to anyone but you, listen to my voice, I bring my requests and wait expectantly.

This is some serious praying! This isn't just about asking for a blessing or direction. The psalmist sounds like there is a specific need to bring to God's attention. The request is so dire that the one praying is groaning, calling aloud to God, and asking again each morning with the same expectation of being heard.

Many psalms are believed to have been written by King David. Certainly David had his share of prayer requests from being hounded by his liege, to facing the punishment for adultery, to his sons murdering one another and trying to take over his throne. This psalm would probably fit very well within the context of several dramas that was David's life.

But the gift of the psalms is that they also speak to situations of others.

What dire straits have you found yourself in lately? Have you ever prayed like these verse of Psalm 5? Do your prayers contain groaning or cries for help? How can this psalm help you in your own times of distress?

God, each day we bring our requests to you and wait expectantly. Hear our cries for help and our groaning. We never pray to anyone but you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bedtime Rituals

I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. Psalm 4: 8 NLT

Here is my list of bedtime rituals:

1) Shower, brush teeth, put on sleepwear, set out clothes for the morning
2) Say prayers with and tuck in our child.
3) Check in with my spouse.
4) Spend some time relaxing (watching television or reading)
5) Make sure all outside doors are locked and outside lights are on.
6) Turn out the inside lights - basement, den, kitchen living room, bedroom
7) Say a sleepy prayer with spouse
8) Snuggle under the covers and try to go to sleep

Hmmm. I keep adding stuff to this list but nowhere do I find that I am laying down to sleep in peace. Instead I  am  trying tp\o create my own atmosphere of safety with all these rituals (checking in, relaxing) and safety measures (turning on outside lights and locking doors).

The psalmist reminds me that all these measures are only a mock of what peace and safety that God can provide. It doesn't mean I should abandon these rituals. I just should not put my trust in them as much as in God.

Make a list of your bedtime rituals. Then, pray this prayer:

God, I have this list of things I do before going to bed. I like to think these help me get to sleep and/or keep me safe during the night. But you know better. You make me lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, March 11, 2011

Better Times, Deeper Joy

Many people say, "Who will show us better times?"  Let the smile of your face shine on us, Lord. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and wine. Psalm 4: 6-7 NLT

The focus of these verses turns from community happiness (God's smiling face shines on us) to individual joy (you have given me greater joy than those who have abundance).

What is the difference?

God smiles on the whole community but only after many people are wondering when they will have better times. Lately there has been one of those "pass it on" comments on a certain social media about how bad things are right now: the economy, gas prices, etc. People seem to be asking for God's smiling face.

This scripture indicates that God is smiling on us but only some are aware of God's happy countenance. Those are the individuals who are filled with God's joy independent of how things in life are going. They may not be bringing in the big harvest, but they are still content and happy at a much deeper level than others.

So where do you fit right now? Are you looking for better times? Or are you full of God's joy?

God, let the smile of your face shine on us. Give us greater joy than those who have abundance. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Proper Sacrifice

Offer proper sacrifices, and trust in the Lord. Psalm 4: 5 NLT

I am writing this devotional on Ash Wednesday and the words "proper sacrifices" take on an additional meaning at this time of year. I am referring to the traditional Christian emphasis on "giving up something for Lent." In other words, this is our modern way of fasting.

But when we fast, shouldn't our fasting be a "proper sacrifice?"

Sure, giving up sweets or facebook is a nice discipline but is it really what God wants us to be about? Just as in giving up eating we need to make sure all other outward appearances are normal. No chewing someone out just because they can drink soda and you can't for 40 days (by the way, Sundays are NOT a part of Lent). Don't lose your temper at an innocent by-stander when it is really the lack of sugar that has made you mad.

It goes much further than outward appearances, too. Have we taken the time to hear from God on what God wants us to give up or take on? Are we clear why we are even participating in these disciplines?

Are we giving God a proper sacrifice or just doing something to make ourselves feel good and holy?

God, you ask for proper sacrifices and trust in you. Am I truly doing this? Help me, Lord! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

You Can Be Sure of This

You can be sure of this: The Lord has set apart the godly for himself. The Lord will answer when I call to him. Don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Psalm 4: 3-4 NLT

Don't worry, the psalmist seems to say, you are in good hands. Don't get upset and do something you will regret later. Think on all of this overnight. Don't say anything at this point. Remember that God loves you and has set you apart as someone godly. God will answer your prayers of distress.

These verses are to assure us that 1) God has chosen us 2) God hears our prayers 3) God answers our prayers 4) we need to be patient, not angry. 

God has set us apart or made us holy because God loves us. The proof of this love is the giving of Christ for our sins. This also means that God does listen to our requests. It may not mean we get the answers we want when we want them - God is also not a genie in a bottle. But God will answer our prayers in God's time and way. If we become angry at God's silence, we need to not say or do anything rash. We need to let our anger cool down and rest -  perhaps overnight. 

We can be sure of this.

God, sometimes we forget how you do listen and answer, how you have set us apart. We tend to get angry and say hurtful things. Forgive us and help us to sleep on it and remain silent. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Ruined Reputation

How long will you people ruin my reputation? How long will you make these groundless accusations? How long will you pursue lies? Psalm 4: 2 NLT

This sounds like the retort of a famous celebrity on an entertainment show. Of course, this would be one of those times where I would wonder if all of this is some publicity stunt.

As I don't fit into that category, I have been thinking how this relates to me and my life. I am not sure that I have ever been in a position where others are telling outright lies about me. Even when I hate what others say about me, often there is a core of truth somewhere that I can admit to. Certainly others have greatly expanded upon simple truths to make my own faults more than they were. And there are always people whom I have unknowingly hurt who bring up everything I have ever done wrong.

Certainly the feelings in this psalm are very real. The psalm begins by saying that God knows they are innocent. It is people who are the accusers. I am reminded of the story of Job and his insistence in the face of his false friends that he had done nothing wrong to deserve suffering.

Has anyone ever accused you falsely? Told lies about you? Ruined your reputation? How did you react? What were you feeling? Did you pray to God as the psalmist does in this psalm?

God, there are times when we will be accused of things we have not done. May we always come clean with you God, and show you who were really are, asking for forgiveness and excepting your mercy. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, March 7, 2011


Answer me when I call, O God who declares me innocent. Take away my distress. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer. Psalm  4: 1 NLT

In studying the book of Mark and the story of Jesus' last twenty-four hours before his death and resurrection, I see many times when people are in distress. The disciples at the table are distressed over Jesus' pronouncements about being betrayed. Jesus is distressed in the Garden. Peter is distressed over being accused of knowing Jesus, then denying him.

Take away my distress.

What does that mean? Webster's defines distress (the noun) as physical or mental anguish.

Anyone else out there experienced physical or mental anguish lately? Wouldn't it be great if God took all that away from us?

The psalmist is calling out to God and asking for answers. The pray-er knows that God declares him/ her innocent. Because they are innocent in God's eyes, they ask that their suffering and grief be removed from them. After all, if God says you are innocent, why worry about what others think? Obviously this is easier said than done. A bit of supernatural help is needed. Help me, Lord, have mercy on me, and hear my prayer!

What distress are you under?

Would you like God to take it away?

Let's pray: God, answer us when we call. You declare us innocent. Take away our distress. Have mercy on us and hear our prayers. In Jesus' name. Amen

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Violent Revenge

Arise, O Lord! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked! Psalm 3: 7 NLT

Arise, O Lord! I am in need of some serious rescue, here! Kick my enemies in the teeth! Pommel them to death! Show them your might and your strength! Be my champion! Go, God, go!

This verse just sounds like a video game to me, full of violence and revenge. This is a Saturday morning cartoon where the bad guys are going to get it in the end when the hero comes and resorts to violence. This is "meet me in the alley" kind of behavior.

But when have you or I not felt like asking or needing God to do just that? Let's be perfectly honest and say there have been times when this is the kind of rescuing we are looking for. Although I don't seriously believe this is what Jesus wants us to do, it never takes away the desire for this kind of violent rescue by God.

In fact, this is precisely what God chose NOT to do when Jesus was falsely accused and tortured to death. There was no violent retribution. Just forgiveness, mercy and the gift of eternal life for all who believe and accept Jesus as their savior.

Despite our desires for violent revenge, God shows us again and again that He is Other, Different and Set Apart.

God, thank you for being you. I'll do my best not to plea for violent retribution. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, March 5, 2011

No Fear

I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side. Psalm 3: 6 NLT

Wow, and you thought you had problems!

Imagine having ten thousand enemies surrounding you on every side.

Top that off with not feeling any fear.

Why is that?

Because the psalmist, knows that God is watching over him.

This reminds me of the 23rd Psalm where God sets up a feast directly in the presence of your enemies.

Even in the midst of trouble, stress, and multiple obstacles in life, God can protect us and give us so much courage that we have no fear.

Are you willing to allow God to take away the fear in your life? Or would you rather keep being afraid in the face of so many challenges?

God, we have the option of being afraid or not. We often see the ten thousand enemies on every side and neglect to see your presence. Help us to open our eyes to you and your offer of courage. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Good Night's Sleep

I lay down and slept. I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. Psalm 3: 5 NLT

Boy, could I use a good night's sleep! Even though I was tired last night, my sleep was full of active dreams (I was packing up our Christmas ornaments and they were all delicate) and I kept waking up several times in the night. I did everything right before going to bed, too. I didn't eat anything after supper, I went to bed on time, I prayed with my husband before the lights were turned out, I even exercised during the day and did not consume much sugar or caffeine at all. And no "heated fellowship" happened before bedtime, either!

When I woke up, I didn't do so in safety. All I could realize when I woke up was that I was still tired.

The one thing I did not do was recognize God's presence. Sure, I prayed but it was more a tired prayer than anything (the kind where you just ask God to help you get rest). I don't think I asked for God to watch over me or my family and keep us safe. I didn't even acknowledge God's constant presence and supernatural protection.

But Psalm 3 reminds me to do so when I lay down and sleep. I need to lay down and trust God.

How about you. Could you use a good night's sleep?

God, we trust you and recognize your watchfulness over us, even while we sleep. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cry Out

I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. Psalm 3: 4 NLT

There comes a time in each of our lives when we cry out to the Lord. Perhaps this has already happened at least once in your own life. I would assume we may do this several times in our lives.

There is a certain comfort in knowing that crying out to God is allowed. It is part of who we are as God's faithful people. We don't have to keep our troubles buttoned down inside of us. Instead, we can freely express our difficulties and distress aloud to God. We can ask for help.

There is also a certain hopefulness in this as well. Not only are we able to verbally express our anguish to God but that God will answer us from God's own place of holiness. The remainder of the psalm reminds us that God won't just answer with a pithy saying. God will hear us and be with us. Perhaps God won't save us like we want to be saved. But God will never leave us alone.

Thank you, God, for hearing me when I cry out to you and answering from your holy mountain. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

God is my Shield

O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. So many are saying, "God will never rescue him!" But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory and the one who lifts my head high. Psalm 3: 1-3 NLT

Think for a moment. Who are you enemies?

Perhaps your boss or immediate supervisor is your enemy. Even if they have not declared war, you feel as if they are your enemy.

Maybe your own children seem like your enemy. When you are unable to someday care for yourself, do you assume they will shut you up in a nursing home and never visit?

Many people will probably picture an ex boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse. While you were with them, you felt like you had no worth and no one to rescue you. Those feelings never went away when they did.

There is a possibility that you are your own worst enemy. You are the one who claims that God will never save you.

Or maybe you say: "All of the above! I do have so many enemies!" Your list may include other enemies like time, creditors and your health.

But even when our lists of enemies is exhaustive, we do have a rescuer. In fact, God protects us even in the worst battles with God's shield. God gives us glory and God is the one to lift up our head.

As you go about your day, think about God being with you, offering his shield, placing his hand gently on your chin and making you raise your head ever so much higher.

God, thank you for giving us the glory and being our shield and defender. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Best Advice

Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God's royal son, or he will become angry, and you will  be destroyed in the midst of your pursuits -- for his anger can flare up in an instant. But what joy for all who find protection in him! Psalm 2: 10-12 NLT

Now act wisely!

Be warned!

Serve God with reverent fear!

Rejoice with trembling!

Submit to God's royal son!

If you make him angry, you will be destroyed in the midst of your own pursuits.

What joy you will find if you submit to his protection!

These words fit both with David's loyal citizens as they do with followers of Christ. Not that I see us in the hands of an angry God or a Jesus whose anger can flare up in an instant.

But how many times do we really act like Jesus is Lord? We may rejoice but there is little fear or trembling. We think too much of ourselves for that kind of behavior. Our thoughts of Christ as Lord competes daily with the world wide web, CNN/Fox, work, family, hobbies, sports, shopping and eating.

We have been warned. We have been given advice to act wisely. We have been told to submit to Christ and his protection. But we find ourselves in the midst of doing our own thing and sinking fast. We cannot live on our own. We must submit and truly place Christ as our Lord and Savior.

God, you have given us great advice. But we are too stubborn to listen. You have given us the ruler above all rulers, but in his place sits _______________ . May we fall on our knees and worship the one who is above all on earth and in heaven. In His name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims