Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Calling on God

I will call on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, for he saves me from my enemies. Psalm 18:3 NLT

What makes you call on the Lord?

Do you wait and call on the Lord when you need something?

Or do you call on God just to be in contact with God?

Here the psalmist gives two reasons for calling on God. The first is that God is worthy to be praised. There is something wonderful about giving God glory and honor. God is sovereign and mighty. We need to simply bask in God's mighty being. The second reason for calling on God is that God does things for us. God loves us. God saves us. God offers new life to us. We bask in God's saving grace. We ask for God's continuing help in beating back our enemies, whomever or whatever they may be.

What reasons can you give right now for praising God?

What needs to you have that you want God to hear?

Remember these are your reasons and your needs, not your loved ones or your neighbors.

God, hear my prayer. I praise you for: _________________________________.  I ask that you save me from: ___________________________________. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, May 30, 2011

God is My Rock

The Lord is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold. Psalm 18: 2 NLT

I feel so sorry for those who find themselves in terrible predicaments and they do not know God. Where do they find their strength? How do they get through each day? Do they simply depend upon drugs or other earthly means of survival?

This verse was especially meaningful for a friend of mine whose son was into drugs and later was incarcerated. For her, this verse had particular meaning because it was only through God's strength, protection and foundation that she was able to make it through each day. God was a rock that gave her courage to face whatever life was throwing to her at that time. God didn't just give her life meaning; God kept her propped up and firmly anchored. He protected her from gossip, from family squabbles and from self-doubt. God have her strength to not only keep going but to provide spiritual help and comfort to others when they were going through hard times. She became firmer in her convictions and her belief in God's merciful power.

Where has God been a rock in your life? Have you ever needed God's protection? How can you share this part of God's nature with others?

God, you are my rock, the one in whom I find protection. You are my shield, the strength of my salvation and my stronghold. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I love you, God!

I love you, Lord; you are my strength. Psalm 18:1 NLT

Once when my spouse was leaving the house, I said, "I like you!" rather than "I love you!" We both laughed about it - he said that he liked me too. But it made me think about the difference between liking and loving someone.

I tolerate lots of people. I like some people. In fact, I probably find it easier to love others than like others. Does that make sense? I can both love and tolerate someone. To like them takes more effort and there is also a part of liking someone that is not something you can manipulate. It just is or it isn't. Sometimes if I have made an effort, I can come to like someone. But it is a lot of hard work. As I said before, sometimes it is easier to just love them.

Or is it? Maybe I have confused loving someone with tolerating them. Or putting up with them. Or just acknowledging that they exist.

And the scary thing is that I wonder how much I have done that with God. When do I just tolerate God? Or simply acknowledge that God exists? Do I spend time trying to get to know God so that I can like God? Or do I just say I love God? Perhaps I am simply putting up with God when I should be in love with God.

Are you in love with God? I think if we really look deeply, we may be surprised at the answer.

If you are in love with God, God will be your strength.


Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Face to Face

But because I have done what is right, I will see you. When I awake, I will be satisfied, for I will see you face to face. Psalm 17:15 NLT

What does it take to be able to see God?

If you do what is right, you will see God. This means following God's commandments, avoiding sin and staying on God's path (see verses 3-4). It also means not focusing on earthly gain nor being cruel. So, in order to see God, one must focus on God.

What does it mean to see God?

It means to be awake, to be fully conscious. I suppose this also indicates that we are like sleep walkers right now. When we come to see God fully, we will actually wake up. Right now we are like those who dream.

We will also be fully satisfied when we come face to face with God. I imagine that includes having no doubts, having all our questions and curiosity answered, and being content.

God, we look forward to the day when we will see you face to face and be fully awake. Help us to continue to follow you on the path you have set before us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, May 27, 2011

Earthly Gain

Arise, O Lord! Stand against them and bring them to their knees! Rescue me from the wicked with your sword! Save me by your mighty hand, O Lord, from those whose only concern is earthly gain. May they have their punishment in full. May their children inherit more of the same, and may the judgment continue to their children's children. Psalm 17: 13-14 NLT

Save me, O Lord, from those whose only concern is earthly gain.

That is something I can sink my teeth into.

It seems like most everyone in society is after earthly gain. Better homes, better cars, better vacations, designer clothes and the best electronics seem to be the number one items on everyone's list. And I admit that I am no different from anyone else.

Certainly, I have taught this to my own child. He has just interrupted me to ask for his allowance. He wants the same bubble toys that were given to one of the classes at his school for a year-end gift. Just like us, he sees what others have and wants it for himself.

If we Christians are concerned with earthly gain, it is no wonder that our enemies are even more so. We certainly all need God's help -- not just in being saved from our enemies but also being saved from ourselves.

God, stand and save us! Rescue us from being only concerned with earthly gain. Free us from temptation and deliver us from punishment. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Protect me from wicked people who attack me, from murderous enemies who surround me. They are without pity. Listen to their boasting. They track me down, surround me, throw me to the ground. They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart -- like young lions in hiding, waiting for their chance. Psalm 17: 9-12 NLT

At first you may not think that these verses have anything to do with our modern times. But how about if you think of these verses in terms of your monetary debts. What if you considered all those people you owe money to as your enemies? If you have ever had a debt collector calling your home or a repo man knocking on your door, you will appreciate the imagery of being tracked down, surrounded and thrown to the ground.

Ever owe taxes? Do the words "they are without pity" mean more to you when you think of taxes?

If you have ever sat down to pay bills and are forced to make a choice - cable or water bill this month? - perhaps you know what it is like to be tracked by hungry lions. You are torn apart when having to decide what bill to pay or how much to pay on what bill. The bills themselves become young lions in hiding, waiting for their chance.

The good news is that God does not want us to be attacked. God is willing to save us. That does not mean God will provide for us through the winning of a lottery. Instead, God gives us free will to make choices. When we make poor choices, God gives us the opportunity to do something about it rather than just blame the people we owe money to. If you are feeling surrounded by your own bill collectors, I invite you to do more than pray for protection.

God, we want to be protected from our enemies. But we know that we must admit to the poor choices we have made in our lives. Help us to know when we need to ask for forgiveness, when we need to change our lifestyle and when we need to ask for help from others in order to make better choices. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Show me, save me, guard me, hide me.

Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. You save with your strength those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as  the apple of your eye. Hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17: 7-8 NLT

Show me, save me, guard me, hide me.

What do those words mean to you and your life? Take some time right now to seriously think about this.

How could God show you God's love in your life? Perhaps God has already done so and you just need to take this opportunity to express your thanks.

What do you need to be saved from at this time? If you think carefully about this, the answer may surprise you.

How closely does God need to be guarding you? Maybe God has already been guarding you and you were unaware of this fact.

Why would God need to hide you at this particular time in your life? The image of hiding under God's wings is both powerful and comforting.

God, show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. You save with your strength those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as  the apple of your eye. Hide me in the shadow of your wings. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bend down and listen

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Psalm 17: 6 NLT

God is the parent. I am the child. I speak to God because I know that, unlike other adults, God will listen to my words. God will hear what I have to say. And God will answer my questions, give me comfort and help me in my distress.

God will bend down as an adult bends down to be on the child's eye level. God will bend down and see things from my point of view. God may not always agree but God is always available to listen. I don't have to wait for God to finish whatever God may be in the middle of. There is never another conversation that I have to wait to be over before God will talk to me. God is always available and willing to hear me.

Therefore, I will speak to God. I will pray to God. I will pray knowing God hears me and will give me an answer.

God, I am praying to you because I know you will answer. Bend down and listen as I pray! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, May 23, 2011

Your Honor!

O Lord, hear my plea for justice. Listen to my cry for help. Pay attention to my prayer, for it comes from an honest heart. Declare me innocent, for you know those who do right. You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing amiss, for I am determined not to sin in what I say. I have followed your commands, which have kept me from going along with cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you. Psalm 17: 1-5 NLT

This sounds so much like a courtroom scene.

This prayer is an argument before the judge. This is an attempt to get a lighter sentence or to have the whole case thrown out.

I am asking for justice, for help.

I am being honest here - I have sworn on the Bible to tell nothing but the truth.

I ask that you declare me innocent because you are one who knows those who do the right thing.

You have heard the testimony of my heart and my thoughts.

You have cross-examined me and found nothing to question further. I am determined to answer as fully and as well as I can to all your questions.

I have followed the law and stayed on the straight and narrow way.

I have not followed those who are criminals.

I have followed you.

God, we come before you as before a judge's bench. We place ourselves on the mercy of the heavenly court. Forgive us and grant us your grace. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Heart is Filled With Joy

No wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my mouth shouts his praises! My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your godly one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. Psalm 16: 10-11 NLT

I am planning for this devotional to be published on blog post the day of my wedding anniversary. These verses remind me of that wedding day. I was nervous at first but by the time the ceremony ended, I was so happy! The promises that my husband and I made with one another were much like the ones we make with God. And the phrase about being shown the way of life and having joy and pleasure in living with God also remind me of the anticipation of being married to the love of my life.

Of course, marriage is different from our relationship with God in many ways. There are days in marriage where joy seems far away and it may not seem as pleasurable to live with your mate forever.

But our relationship with God is so much different from marriage. For one thing, only one of us is human while the other is capable of infinite love and mercy. While marriage partners help one another through the maze of life, God is the partner who shows us the way. And it is only when we go to be with the Lord that we truly know the joy of God's presence and the pleasure of living with God forever. I don't think that means lying on clouds and playing a harp, either. I think it will be something so truly joyous that we cannot comprehend it in this lifetime.

God, thank you for marriage. But most of all, thank you for our eternal relationship with you. We celebrate your joy, your presence and your pleasure forever and ever. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I will bless the Lord

I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. Psalm 16: 7-8 NLT

These are such comforting words! What if you were able to memorize these two verses? Then whenever you feel fear or discomfort, when things seem to be getting to you or even when things are going well in your life, you can pray these verses out loud.

I will bless the Lord who guides me. Sounds funny to be blessing God. Shouldn't God bless me? But blessing is reciprocal and God wants us to bless him.

Even at night my heart instructs me. Even when I am asleep, I shall do the right thing. My dreams will also be blessed.

I know the Lord is always with me. We say this but we don't act like it sometimes. We act more like God has left us.

I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. I will stick to my convictions because God sticks to me.

Will you pray this prayer out loud today?

I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Cup of Blessing

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! Psalm 16: 5-6 NLT

God is our inheritance. There is nothing else that we shall receive that shall be as wonderful as our relationship with God. We have received God because of all the investing that our ancestors did on our behalf. God did not come to us out of the blue, but through the teaching, preaching and sharing of the faith from those saints who came before us.

God as our inheritance is also our blessing. Have you ever thought about your relationship with God as a blessing? Do you feel blessed by your closeness to God - no matter how much closer you feel you ought to be?

And God guards our relationship with him. As God is our inheritance, we have this blessing that shall never be taken away from us. God will guard all that is ours and all that is ours is God. Although the psalmist is speaking quite literally about the promised land, we have a pleasant land as well. It is where we dwell right now in God's sight, in God's care, as God's blessing.

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The True Heroes

The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them! Those who chase after other gods will be filled with sorrow. I will not take part in their sacrifices or even speak the names of their gods. Psalm 16: 3-4 NLT

When this psalm was written, people worshipping other gods was very real. In fact, the Israelites were the only culture in the area who were monotheists. It was very tempting to have other gods when everyone surrounding them believed in all these gods. How can one hold onto just one God? Can one God do all these multiple gods do? What if you have specific needs? What would be the harm in believing in more than one god?

While there are still some polytheistic religions today, most of us don't know anything about them or are even tempted to worship as they do. The gods we face, especially in a Western culture, are the gods of happiness, power, money, good looks and fame. We are always tempted to try something to make us happy. We want power through our political associations, our job/volunteer positions and even through our cell phones. We are consumed with thoughts of getting money, spending money, borrowing money, and being in debt because of lack of money. We spend hours on our bodies - whether we are dieting or eating, exercising or buying clothes, dying our hair or botoxing. And even if we claim we don't want notoriety, we are all susceptible to being liked by others and greatly admire celebrities.

Our gods have changed. Chasing after them and being filled with sorrow has not changed.

God, help us to look to the godly people in our land and in our acquaintance. May we take pleasure in them and see them as heroes. May we turn aside from chasing after all our modern gods. Fill us with your joy. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I said to the Lord, "You are my master! All the good things I have are from you." Psalm 16: 2 NLT

Take a moment right now to think about all the good things you own or have. Do you have a place to live? Clothes? Food to eat? Some kind of income?

Think about the people you are related to - whether by marriage, blood or even association. Are any of those relationships good?

Think about your relationship to God and what Christ has done for you. Would you say those are good as well?

If you have any good things in your life, would you be able to say that God has given them to you?

Lastly, is God the master of your life? Another way to think about this is to ask whether you consider yourself to be God's servant. Or, is God more a co-pilot? Or perhaps an advisor.

God has given you all the good things in your life. When will you be ready to declare God your master?

God, you are my Master! All the good things I have are from you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

God's Refuge

Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge. Psalm 16:1 NLT

Where in your life do you need God's protection?

I think right now in my own life that I am my own worst enemy. I am easily distracted, I tend to take on too much, I plan huge projects that no real human being could ever complete on their own and I put off some things while going ahead with the items that could wait. I guess I need God to keep me safe from myself. This is because I often create my own storms, my own tornadoes, my own tsunamis.

My refuge in God would be to delegate, to spend more time in prayer and Bible reading, to find ways to worship where I am not in charge and to just be present rather than having to be doing. Is my imagined refuge too big to tackle? Most of it contains things that I must do rather than what God will provide. I am asking for God's refuge, not Amelia's refuge.

What would refuge in God look like for you?

God, keep me safe. I have come to you for your refuge, not mine. And, Lord, keep me from interfering with what you are doing to provide such shelter. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stand firm in the Lord

Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to slander others or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. Those who despise persistent sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord and keep their promises even when it hurts. Those who do not charge interest on the money they lend, and who refuse to accept bribes to testify against the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever. Psalm 15: 2-5 NLT

Would you like to stand firm in God forever? Then here are the top four things that you should do:

1) Lead a blameless life - do what is right and speak the truth sincerely.

2) Refuse to hurt others by what you say - do not slander others, harm your neighbors or speak evil of your friends.

3) Be accountable and hold others the same - despise those who continue to sin even after they have repented of the same; honor those who follow God, even when they don't do it like you do; and keep your word, even when you will be shamed or ridiculed.

4) Don't use money in your relationships - if you give money to someone, don't expect anything in return and don't be bribed through any means (power, job advancement, fame) in order to blame the innocent.

Then you will stand firm in the Lord forever.

God, help us to live blameless lives, stop hurting others with what we say, be accountable and hold others to be the same and refuse to use money/power/fame in our relationships. Then we will stand firm in you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Who is welcome in worship?

Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Psalm 15: 1 NLT

Think about where you worship regularly. Is it traditional, contemporary, blended or something else entirely? What do people normally wear to your church? Is there a mix of casual and dressy? What do you feel most comfortable wearing there? Has anyone ever entered your place of worship and been obviously out of place?

Do you have greeters or ushers that control the flow of who gets in and out?

I remember reading about the time of civil rights protests here in the South. Many white "churches" would literally lock their doors so that only the acceptable (i.e. Caucasian) people would come. The answer that they would give to the first verse of Psalm 15 is "whites only."

I know of a couple of current traditional churches that only allow you to wear your Sunday best in church. They may not lock the doors on you but you can count on getting a really cold shoulder while trying to worship the Lord. The answer they would give? Only the properly dressed.

What if a homeless person entered your worship this Sunday/today? Imagine someone in raggedly clothes who obviously has not bathed in some time. How would they be received? How would your place of worship answer the question in verse one of this psalm?

God, you invite all to worship in your sanctuary. You invite all who see you to enter into your presence in your holy place. Thank you. May we keep this in mind. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Restore your relationship

Oh, that salvation would come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel! For when the Lord restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice. Psalm 14: 7 NLT

Name one thing that could happen in your life at this very moment that would restore you to good health, good credit/finance or good relationships.

If that happened, how would you feel? What would be your immediate response? Who would you tell?
Would you be truly happy or would you then want something else to happen to another area of your life?

All that God's people want is to be be restored to Mount Zion. All God's people want is to be saved. When that happens, the people will rejoice. When that occurs, the people will shout with joy. There is no other response, no higher wish, no deeper desire than to be restored not to a place but to God. For Mount Zion is where God dwells for the people of the Old Testament. When one is restored to God, one has true joy. Everything else in life pales in comparison.

How is your current relationship with God? Hanging on by a thread? Or tightly woven? If you could restore your relationship with God this very moment, how would you feel? How would you respond? Who would you tell?

Would restoring your relationship with God change the answer to the very first question we asked ourselves today?

God, restore us to you. Bring us your salvation. Deepen our relationship with you, the Divine. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, May 13, 2011

Will They Ever Learn?

Will those who do evil never learn? They eat up my people like bread; they wouldn't think of praying to the Lord. Terror will grip them, for God is with those who obey him. The wicked frustrate the plans of the oppressed but the Lord will protect his people. Psalm 14: 4-6 NLT

This verse makes me think of two occurrences in the Old Testament. The first is when the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt. When Moses starts coming to Pharaoh, Pharaoh does not let God's people go but increases their work. The Egyptians seem to be eating the Israelites like bread.

The second occasion that I am thinking of is when the Israelites are sent into exile and Jerusalem is destroyed. The glory of the Lord has left God's chosen people and they are forced to work and life in Babylon, far from God. The wicked have frustrated the plans of the oppressed but God remains with God's people, no matter how far from home they are.

When in your life have you been in slavery? I don't mean literally sold on the block but when have you felt as though you were a slave to someone else's desires and commands? Did you feel like you were being gobbled up like a hot Krispy Kreme donut?

When in your life have you felt in exile? Were you truly far from home? Or did you just feel cut off from everything familiar, including the Lord? Did you feel like your plans were being frustrated?

God is with those who obey him. God is going to protect God's people. You may feel swallowed up or oppressed but God has not forgotten you.

God, thank you for always knowing where we are and what we are facing in life. Even when we don't feel your presence, help us to remember you are still with us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Seek Understanding. Find God.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if there is even one with real understanding, one who seeks for God. But no, all have turned away from God; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not even one! Psalm 14 2-3 NLT

There are times in our lives when the whole world does seem corrupt. We look at all the misery, suffering, debauchery, crime, hatred and violence around the world and it simply seems hopeless. Why bother at all? Why even try to do anything for anyone? Just take care of yourself and pray nothing worse happens to you.

But God is looking for one with real understanding.

God does want someone seeking God.

There is some action on the part of the human race that God is seeking. We are not to turn inward. We are to try to come to grasp with all the poverty, disease and sin. We are to ask why. We are to seek wisdom. We are to wrestle with the hard questions.

We are to seek God.

For it is not in receiving answers that we find peace and hope. It is in the act of trying to understand that we find God and turn to actively pursue God's will.

We don't get answers. We get God.

That's even better.

God, look down on the entire human race. See if there is one with real understanding. See if there is one who has not turned away from you. See if there is one who seeks your face. And may that someone be each of us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Praying for our Leaders

Only fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; no one does good! Psalm 14: 1 NLT

There are a lot of people in this modern world that say in their hearts,"There is no God." The problem then is that they tend to make themselves into a god. Once you take God out of your heart, you have no compass, no real moral stance and often no accountability. I have said on more than one occasion that I would rather have a President who is of another religion rather than one who is atheist. Those that call themselves Christian, no matter what party they are affiliated with, already tend to lose touch with God in their hearts. I always say I am going to pray for each president, but I often just end up criticizing them throughout their term. If there is anyone who needs prayer, it is the leader of our country!

If we are truly wanting a leader who is not a fool, who has a hedge of protection around them to prevent corruption, and whose actions are not evil but good, then we need a leader who says, "There is a God!" in their heart of hearts. Will you commit with me to pray for your leaders - local, statewide and of your country?

Let us pray:

God, I lift up to you all who hold leadership positions in our nation:
I lift up to you all who hold leadership positions in our state or providence:
I lift up to you all who hold leadership positions in my local town/village or city:
I especially pray that they hold you in their hearts, that you grant them wisdom and that you help them to do the most good for the people they lead. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

God is so good to me

But I will trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he has been so good to me. Psalm 13: 5-6 NLT

During the recent tornadoes that came through the south, a man in Alabama said something like this: the devil tried to take everything away from us but God provided what we needed.

In Psalm 13, it isn't clear if God has turned to answer the psalmist. Certainly, the psalmist feels rescued. But there is also a bit of unanswered prayer. The psalmist is going to trust in God's unfailing love regardless. The song to be sung to God is not because God has answered a specific request but because God has been so good to them.

Can you sing such a song in your life right now? How has God rescued you? Where has God been good to you this past week? This very day?

Spend sometime with God today listing all the good things God has done for you and giving thanks.


Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, May 9, 2011

Turn and answer me!

Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the light to my eyes, or I will die. Don't let my enemies gloat, saying, "We have defeated him!" Don't let them rejoice at my downfall. Psalm 13: 3-4 NLT

First we have the complaints and pleas. Now we have the argument.

Picture this: the psalmist is arguing to God's back, trying to get God to respond. Perhaps they are hoping to get God's ire up? They reach out and pull on God's shoulder; "Look at me when I am talking to you!" the psalmist seems to say. "Give me some hope here. Stop letting those who hate me laugh at my expense. Why don't you do something so that I won't go down in complete misery?"

What time or times in your life did you feel like arguing with God? When have you ever wanted God to turn God's eyes in your direction? At what point in time did you want God to restore light to your eyes and hope to your heart? What happened? Did God listen? Or did your enemy or enemies rejoice at your misery?

God, we ask that you turn and answer us. Restore the light to our eyes, don't let our enemies rejoice over us. May we ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, May 8, 2011

How Long Will You Forget Me?

O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Psalm 13: 1-2 NLT

This is a song of lament. It makes me think of those who grieve -- when everyone else thinks a person should be over it, that person is still in the depths of their loss. The feelings are ones of isolation and loneliness. No one, not even God, understands them or what they are going through.

God, how long will you forget me and look the other way? Forever?

A person suffering from anguish deals with life on a second by second basis. What is causing the anguish is constantly in their heads and on their hearts. They struggle to make it just one more hour, one more day.

How long must I struggle? How long must I live through this sorrow each day?

Whether tragedy comes through other people, nature or even poor personal decisions, it feels as though an enemy has them in their clutches. The enemy may be real or perceived but the feelings of being held down are tremendous.

How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

These questions are good ones to have when we are suffering through a terrible loss in our own lives.

God, you want to hear our pleas and our complaints as in Psalm 13. You want our true feelings to be revealed to you in our words and prayers. Thank you, God, that you can take our hurts and still hold us fast to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Wicked Strut About

Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land. Psalm 12: 7-8 NLT

Well, that about sums up the atmosphere in any generation: the wicked strut about and evil is praised throughout the land!

What wicked things or people are strutting about right now?

What evil is being praised throughout the land at this time?

What is being lied about even while you are reading this?

How is God protecting the oppressed and preserving them forever?

How can you be God's instrument in that protecting and preserving?

God, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation. Reveal to us how we can be your instruments in this generation. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pure and Perfect

The Lord's promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over. Psalm 12: 6 NLT

I have never thought about God's promises being pure. In fact, I never knew that silver was refined. According to Wikipedia, in ancient times copper was often refined by heat several times to purify it and remove both silver and gold. Silver might be refined more but I am not sure about seven times! However, I do know that whenever numbers are used in scripture that I need to pay attention. The number seven always indicates perfection - like seven days of creation/days of the week.

So, this is silver so refined, so pure that it is perfect.

And that is what is so wonderful about God's promises - they are so pure that they are perfect.

When you hear the words "God's promises" what come to mind? What has God promised to you and your life?

God, your promises are pure as silver refined seven times. Thank you that you give us perfect promises.
In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, May 5, 2011

God sees, hears and rescues

The Lord replies, "I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do." Psalm 12: 5 NLT

Many of the hardest hit areas in Alabama by the recent tornadoes are also some of the poorest and lower socio-economic areas. Why would God allow such things to happen to folks who already have less than the rest of us? We can't answer much of why God would allow such a force of nature to harm anyone -- we do know that God allows us free will and that nature allowed to be a completely untamed force.

The positive side is that God has seen the violence done to the helpless. God has heard their groans. You may be asking where God is and how God is going to rescue them.

God has already been rescuing, rising up and being in the midst of them. God has been in the actions of neighbors, emergency personnel, utility workers, and volunteers. God is speaking on facebook, through cell phones and on the Internet and other media. God is acting through those who are helping others, even those who have lost so much themselves. God has been overwhelming in care, love and concern through thousands around the U.S. and the world who are reaching out to help.

God, thank you for seeing, for hearing, for rescuing and for simply being present. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our lips are our own -- who can stop us?

Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth! Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and insincere hearts. May the Lord bring their flattery to an end and silence their proud tongues. They say, "We will lie to our hearts' content. Our lips are our own -- who can stop us? " Psalm 12: 1-4 NLT

Our lips are our own -- who can stop us?

We can do so much damage with what comes out of our mouths. And it is true, who can really stop us when we can't even stop ourselves? Sometimes it feels as though our lips are not even our own but belong to someone else entirely! We tend to have such a disconnect between what we say and how what we say can hurt others.

I admit that I have succumbed to the hoof in mouth disease, sometimes even when I think I am helping others. I tend to speak what I think before letting my brain and my conscious edit what is being said. Just because a thought is on my mind does not mean I have to repeat it. All my thoughts are not godly - perhaps a few are but mostly they are all about me. How else would I have the overriding need to continue to speak when I should be listening? I have embarrassed others, hurt others, made others angry and turned friends into enemies: all with just the ability of my mouth.

God, our lips are our own but we constantly need you to prevent us from telling lies or saying things that are not spoken out of love. We need you to stop us. Help us, Lord, help us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, May 2, 2011

Where do we see God's face?

For the Lord is righteous, and he loves justice. Those who do what is right will see his face. Psalm 11: 7 NLT

This verse is hard for me to get hold of this day. I just drove through a small section of Alabama where the tornado had come through last week. The pictures are awful but seeing it in person - especially a familiar sight destroyed. There were folks parked on the side of the highway, families walking through what was once a neighborhood, emergency management types in green combing the woods on the side of the road, many power trucks working on the lines while cars and trucks are being loaded with whatever can be salvaged.

In the meantime, people are dancing in the streets because Bin Laden has been pronounced dead.

Where is the justice in all this? Where do we see God's face?

Such a great loss and so tragic on any side you look. Was there justice in the way Bin Laden was apprehended? Was there justice in the fact that the killer tornado that came through several cities and towns in Alabama where many of our poorest live? Is there justice for us to be celebrating? Should we not instead be mourning all those who have lost their lives because of that man?

Those who do right will see God's face. May we be those who do what is right, no matter the tragedy that surrounds us.

God, please help us. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims