Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wait Patiently

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27: 14 NLT

Patience is not my strong suit. Is it yours?

I can't stand to wait in line at the checkout counter. I get impatient with service people who are slow or who don't know what they are doing. Don't get me started on my feelings when my nine-year-old hesitates to obey my directions (“Just a second!” is his favorite phrase).

And don't get me started with God. Or maybe you should. I actually have more patience with God than with anyone else. I guess that is because I have seen God answer prayers that took years but the outcome was awesome. God has done the impossible while I have been waiting. God has often done more than I could ever hope or imagine.

We are to be brave and courageous in our patience. And that is probably the best advice. It does take courage and bravery to wait on God and not take matters into our own hands.

God, we wait patiently for you. Increase our bravery and our courage. Yes, we wait patiently for you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Teach me to live

Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the path of honesty, for my enemies are waiting for me to fall. Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I've never done and breathe out violence against me. Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Psalm 27: 11-13 NLT

Are you confident that you will see God's goodness while you are yet alive? I guess the better question is can you hope in that goodness while you are living even in the face of what evil things are done against you?

Many people only hope in the afterlife, in being in God's presence in heaven. The suffering of this world and the evil surrounding them is too much for them. They have lost their hope and the assurance of better things in the here and now.

The psalmist teaches us that God's goodness can be found in the here and now. This is despite of the false accusations against us and the violence surrounding us. God will teach us how to live, not how to die.

God, teach me how to live. Lead me along the path of honesty. I am confident that I will see your goodness while I am here in the land of the living. In Jesus' precious name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hold me close

Do not hide yourself from me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don't leave me now; don't abandon me. O God of my salvation! Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. Psalm 27: 9-10

Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will not.

My mother abandoned me. She gave me up for adoption. I have no clue who my father is.

But God never abandoned me. I know that with the same assurance that I am breathing.

I know of several families where the father has left and not seen his children in months or years. I even know of at least one mother who has done the same. But has God abandoned them? No.

No matter how many people you love leave you, God will never abandoned you.

God, do not hide yourself from me! Show me your presence. Help me to know you are with me, that you will never forsake me. Hold me close. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Come and talk with me

Listen to my pleading, 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

Come and talk with me, God says to you.

What does your heart say in response?

I find myself apologizing for not talking more to God. And when I do spend some time talking to God most of the time I find myself rushing through it. I enjoy it but I am also on a schedule.

I also find myself doing most if not all of the talking.

As the psalmist seems to suggest, my heart is in it but my brain is somewhere else.

God, you want is to talk with you. Yet, we make excuses, fill up our time with just about everything else and mostly whine when we do come into your presence. You still want us to talk. Thank you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Desire of My Heart

What is the one thing that you seek most? What do you delight the most in? What is the main desire of your heart?

Why do you think that is the main desire of your heart? If you received that one desire, how would you act? Would you be different in any way?

Hear what the psalmists' one desire is and how he would act if he received what he sought.

The one thing I ask of the Lord -- the thing I seek most -- is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord's perfections and meditating in his temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold me head high, above me enemies who surround me. At his Tabernacle I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music. Psalm 27: 4-6 NLT

This is not the dream of a priest (the only one allowed to make sacrifices and be at the Tabernacle) but of a human being who simply loves God. Yet, he asks God for this one thing.

God, you know the one desire of my heart. You know the deep dream I have. With you anything is possible. If you answer the desire of my heart, I know I will be changed. But I believe you have placed this upon my heart for a reason and I trust in you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No Fear

The Lord is my light and my salvation -- so why should I be afraid? The Lord protects me from danger -- so why should I tremble? When evil people come to destroy me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will know no fear. Even if they attack me, I remain confident. Psalm 27: 1-3 NLT

Wow. This is supreme trust in God.

Being totally without fear seems impossible most days. But the psalmist says that God is his light and salvation. Even though he is surrounded by enemies, he does not fear them. Instead, he depends on God to cause them to stumble and fall. Even if attacked, he will be confident.

I suppose that doesn't mean he will just stand around waiting for God to act. He will be doing some fighting. However, he will do it without fear.

This is the David who fought against Goliath. This is the David who overcame attempted murder and exile. This is the David who not only became king but built up an empire.

God is his light and his salvation.

God, you are our light and our salvation. Help us to feel no fear but to delight in you. May we face all our enemies with confidence and trust. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, July 25, 2011

Guilty until Forgiven

Don't let me suffer the fate of sinners. Don't condemn me along with murderers. Their hands are dirty with wicked schemes, and they constantly take bribes. But I am not like that; I do what is right. So in your mercy, save me. I have taken a stand, and will publicly praise the Lord. Psalm 26: 9-12 NLT

So, is the psalmist innocent or not?

Don't let me be condemned with all those evil doers. I am not like that, I wash my hands of that crowd. I do what is right.

So... have mercy and save me? Shouldn't this be: I know you will condemn them but not me? Has the psalmist been to close to those that take bribes? Why would God confuse them of being in the same group?

I wonder if God would get us confused with the wrong group, too. Or perhaps we aren't as innocent as we like to claim. Are the very things we accuse others of the exact same things we are doing? This is like accusing members of a certain political party of being self-righteous and judgmental. Once those words have left your mouth are you not also being self-righteous and judgmental?

In the end, we all need to depend on God's mercy.

God, be gracious and merciful to us. We want to claim innocence but you know us better than we know ourselves. Forgive us our sins and grant us grace. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, July 24, 2011

God not Popularity

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. I wash my hands to declare my innocence. I come to your altar, O Lord, singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your miracles. I love your sanctuary, Lord, the place where your glory shines. Psalm 26: 4-8 NLT

If this person was in high school, they would be on the cafeteria fringe for sure. Have you ever noticed that often the popular crowd in high school does a lot of lying, gossiping, bullying and generally keeping their popularity by being mean? Yes, there are exceptions and one or two who are well-liked but not mean.

This person has great self-awareness and confidence. They don't feel compelled to go along with the crowd and lie. Or be mean during the week at school and then "Christian" on Sundays at church. In fact, this person refuses to have anything to do with evil or wicked groups. Quite different from all those who want to be popular and kiss up to those who are popular in order to enter their orbit.

Popularity is not this person's goal. God is their goal.

What is your goal?

God, we place you first in our lives. Help us not to look to others for our affirmation but to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Declare me Innocent

Declare me innocent, O Lord, for I have acted with integrity; I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and affections. For I am constantly aware of you unfailing love, and I have lived according to your truth. Psalm 26: 1-3 NLT

The psalmist is pretty confident of their innocence. So much so that they are willing for God to put them on trial and cross examine them, to test their motives. They see themselves as having acted with integrity and living according to God's truth.

This makes us ask ourselves: what motivates me?

If God put me on trial right now, would I come clean?

Or would God find my integrity lacking?

Am I really all that innocent?

Have I trusted God without wavering?

God, I am constantly aware of your unfailing love. Yet, I don't always act according to your truth. Forgive me and help me to live with trust, integrity and truth. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, July 22, 2011

Not just about me

O God, ransom Israel from all its troubles. Psalm 25: 22 NLT

This last verse in Psalm 25 turns the whole psalm upside down. Here we were thinking that the psalm was about an individual's pain, that the enemies spoken of were an alliteration and the problems were simply a part of life. But perhaps the psalmist is David asking for help against true enemies. Whereas we read this psalm as personal, the king is praying for his country. He needs help not just for himself but an entire people.

How often do our own prayer concerns focus on ourselves rather than the bigger picture? How often are we praying for those we love and forget those whom we have never even met? Only when faced with disasters do we open up our circle of petitions.

This psalm teaches us that we must pray for the forest as well as the trees.

God, we have so many personal concerns that we forget to pray for those outside our circle of friends. We neglect to include those whom we have never met. Forgive us. We ask now that you ransom our country from all its troubles. We pray for those who are suffering from famine and war. We ask for peace in our world. May poverty be cast out and your glory reign. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, July 21, 2011

For I trust in You

Turn to me and have mercy on me, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins. See how many enemies I have, and how viciously they hate me! Protect me! Rescue my life from them! Do not let me be disgraced, for I a trust in you. May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you. Psalm 25: 16-21 NLT

I was speaking with an older gentleman this week who was in deep distress. He has lived a fairly rough life but recently things seem to be overwhelming him. His wife had to be placed in a nursing home as he could no longer care for her himself. As he is pretty much illiterate and very dependent on her help, he has lost his anchor for much of his daily needs as well as someone he loved very much. His best friend and fishing buddy died a few months back and he also decided to sell all his fishing gear. Now his stepkids are trying to move him closer to his wife who is now across town. In the meantime, his license needs to be renewed and he is very lonely. In fact, he felt suicidal just the other night.

When you hear his story, you can see how the words of Psalm 25 become very real.

I love how the psalmist asks God to see all their problems, feel for them and forgive their sins.

Perhaps you felt overwhelmed by life... until you heard this man's story.

In any case, may we all trust in God.

Oh God, do not let me be disgraced, for I a trust in you. May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Looking To God For Help

My eyes are always looking to the Lord for help, for he alone can rescue me from the traps of my enemies. Psalm 25: 15 NLT

My eyes are always looking to the Lord for help.

At least that sounds good here in my devotional. But I know in reality that I am pretty good at looking to myself, my spouse, my church, or my friends for help. Only after casting around for help from another source do I realize that I also need to pray. I should be doing that first before looking for help from other sources.

I am not sure why I don't first cast my cares upon God. I can't give a straight answer to why I don't look to God for help first thing. I'm a Christian and a pastor. My eyes should go to the Lord first.
Do your eyes go to God first for help? Are your eyes always cast toward God when you seek assistance?

God, you alone can rescue us from the traps of our enemies. Yet, we resist looking to you first for help. May we change the way we do things from this day forward. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

God's Friend

Who are those who fear the Lord? He will show them the path they should choose. They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the Promised Land. Friendship with the Lord is reserved for those who fear him. With them he shares the secrets of his covenant. Palm 25: 12- 14 NLT

Friendship with God is reserved for those who fear God? What kind of logic is that? I am not friends with anyone that I am afraid of. Can you be friends and still be fearful of someone else? Does this mean no one is friends with God? Certainly there are those who do fear God but they seem more horse-whipped than friendly.

It is in friendship that we learn all the other person's secrets. It is the same with God. When we are friends with God, we learn the secrets of God's covenant. We grow closer to God and closer to obeying God's commandments.

Being friends with God should be a goal for Christians, right? But perhaps because God is God, then fear needs to come before friendliness. God is not just another person. There should be some kind of Holy barrier between us and God. We should look at God with awe rather than contempt or judgment (as we tend to do with some of our friends). Fear is a good way of putting that Holy barrier up.

God, we want to be your friend. We have a hard time really fearing you, yet you ask us to look to you in awe and trembling. You do hold our eternal lives in your hands. Thank you for Jesus who give us access to you and makes our friendship possible. In his name we pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, July 18, 2011


For the honor of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins. Psalm 25: 11 NLT

Confession is good for the soul.

So, why don't we do it more often?

Why do we overlook our own sins and point enthusiastically at others' faults?

Today, in honor of God's name, let us list, either out loud or on a piece of paper, our many sins. Excuse me, our many, many sins. No, don't skip to the prayer. Right them down! Don't go to another website. Say them out loud! Even if it does take longer than a minute, name them. Now!

Lord, for the honor of your name, forgive these sins of mine. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, July 17, 2011

God's Way

The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them his way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all those who keep his covenant and obey his decrees. Psalm 25: 8-10 NLT

What is God's way? Why do I continue to want to do things my way? Why am I always having to be shown the proper path because I have gone astray? God is good and does what is right. God leads with unfailing love and faithfulness. I try to keep God's covenant and obey God's decrees but it is so easy to make excuses and rationalize my behavior.

There is a person in my church who always gets their way. They are like a spoiled child that everyone lets do their own thing in order to avoid a temper tantrum. I have been fussing to my husband lately about this person. But in reading this psalm, I realize how much I am like that other person. I, too, seem to always get my way. Recently I had a fit with my parents in order to go to eat where I wanted to eat. And me a grown woman and my parents well over retirement age!

I do the same thing with God.

What about you?

God, you are good and do what is right. You try to show us the proper path. You attempt to lead us in what is right. You show us unfailing love and faithfulness. Yet, we are here still trying to throw a tantrum and stomping our feet. We want our way rather than your way. Be gentle with us, Lord, and show us the right path. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, July 16, 2011

With the Eyes of Love

Remember, O Lord, your unfailing love and compassion, which you have shown from long ages past. Forgive the rebellious sins of my youth; look instead through the eyes of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord. Psalm 25:6-7 NLT

If you have either a child or a pet, you know how hard it is to discipline them. Perhaps some of us love our pets so much that discipline has gone out the window. Hopefully, we have not done the same for our children. In either case, we have eyes of love for our furry and not furry children. Even when they do something really bad, we still love them.

God is the same about us. God loves us even when we do bad things. God loves us even when we try to leave God. For the most part, we get better about these things as we age.

The psalmist seems to be having a crisis of guilt. Perhaps the psalmist has done something in the past that he does not want to be judged on in the present. God is being gently reminded of God's own unfailing love, compassion and mercy. God, please forget my stupid rebelliousness of my youth. Have mercy on me and see how I am right now. Just look at me with eyes of love and I know I will be okay.

Can you think of a time in your past where you did something totally against God? Have you asked God to forgive you? God does see with eyes of unfailing love!

God, please forget my stupid rebelliousness of my past. Have mercy on me and see how I am right now. Just look at me with eyes of love and I know I will be okay. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, July 15, 2011

God's Path

Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow. 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: 4-5 NLT

I love the image of following a path. It is an image that I come back to again and again. To follow the path that God calls me to walk is my own personal goal.

I have to admit I am not very good at staying on this path. I am always finding my own way to travel, getting glimpses of better kept and easier roads much of the time. Or I am trying to blaze my own trail in the wilderness when God actually has a simpler route in mind.

The psalmist simply asks God to show them the way. The way for them is to follow God's truth, God's teaching, God's salvation and God's hope. Seems easy enough, right?

Why then do you and I find ourselves so far from God's path so often I in our lives?

Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow. 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. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, July 14, 2011


To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others. Psalm 25:1-3 NLT

What is disgrace? To me it is like being shamed in public. To be disgraced is to be as one who has no honor and is not trustworthy because of something that person has done.

For the psalmist, disgrace comes when a person tries to deceive others, probably for that individual's own benefit. The temptation seems to be to deceive others: the psalmist asks that God not let them be disgraced. Instead, the psalmist wants to trust in God. Even when defeat seems close, the psalmist will trust that God will save. The psalmist trusts in God, lifting up his soul to God. Neither the joy of enemies or the disgrace of friends will be had if one trusts in God.

Do you trust in God? Are you lifting up your soul to him? Or are you too busy trying to make people believe and do what you want them to do (deceiving them in your so-called good intentions)?

God, to you I lift up my soul. I trust in you, God, in you alone. Do not let me be disgraced. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who is the King of Glory?

Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The lord, strong and mighty, the Lord invincible in battle. Open up, ancient gates! Open up ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord Almighty -- he is the king of glory. Psalm 24: 7-10 NLT

Who is the king of glory for you?

Is he a mighty warrior on a horse, come to do battle?

Or is he a wise mentor coaching you through the difficult passages of life?

Is God like a good friend who listens to you, meets with you, loves you even while pointing out your weaknesses?

Is the king of glory more like a trusted counselor and peaceful companion?

Who is the king of glory for you?

God, you are the King of Glory. We thank you for how you manifest yourself in each one of our lives. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Who is Worthy?

Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord's blessing and have right standing with God their savior. They alone may enter God's presence and worship the God of Israel. Psalm 24: 3-6 NLT

Who is holy enough, pure enough, and worthy to stand with God?

I am reminded of Moses. He lived a lie (his wet nurse was his actual mother), was raised in Pharaoh's household (you can't tell me he didn't worship any of those Egyptian gods and live there for long), murdered a man and then ran away from home to escape punishment.

Yet, it was Moses who was invited to approach the burning bush and take off his sandals on holy ground. It was Moses who climbed the mountain and spent 40 days and nights with God. It was Moses who got to see God's backside. It was Moses who spent so much time in God's presence that his face glowed so that no one could look upon it.

Who is holy enough, pure enough, and worthy to stand with God?


God, may we receive your blessings and have a right standing with you, our Lord and savior. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, July 11, 2011

What is yours, anyway?

The earth is the Lord and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths. Psalm 24: 1-2 NLT

Recently I heard a child say to my child when we were at their home, “Let me sit there. This is our house, not yours.” The parents stepped in and corrected the child but it made me think about what we claim as ours.

I say we have a house but really the bank owns it. I always talk about “my” church but I don't own it, either. I have my husband and my child but neither are my possession. I have my clothes and my books – either of which can be used by others.

Psalm 24 reminds us that even the things we think are ours are actually belonging to God. All of the earth is God's. God is the creator. All people of the earth are God's as well. That includes me.

God, thank you for letting me use part of your creation for my enjoyment and my daily needs. I pray you delight in their use and that I don't ever become territorial with your things. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23 NLT

God has given you everything you need. Can you feel it in your life right now? Even if you are in the darkest valley or sitting across from your enemy, God is treating you as a special guest and a precious lamb. Spend a moment now imagining the rest God is providing for you, the peace God wants you to experience and the love God has for you.

God, you have blessed me. You love me. You treat me as a special guest. May I follow you all the days of my life and life in your house forever. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hear Everything God Has Done

Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Let all mortals – those born to die – bow down in his presence. Future generations will also serve him. Our children will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those yet unborn. They will hear about everything he has done. Psalm 22: 29-31 NLT

We talk about feeding the poor but now we are going to make sure even the rich are part of this celebration and worship of God. Everyone – rich and poor alike – is to bow down before God.

And this isn't a one time thing, either. We are to share these stories and praises with all who come after us. We want all children to hear about God so that they will tell future generations about what God has done.

Are you including the wealthy in your feasts and your stories? How are you spreading the gospel to generations yet unborn? Have you told any child about God? What would have to change for you to do so?

The psalmist reminds us that God is not something to keep to ourselves.

God, may we share your love and message with the rich and children alike. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Lord is King!

I will praise you among all the people; I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. People from every nation will bow down before him. For the Lord is king! He rules all the nations. Psalm 22: 25-28 NLT

This psalm moves us from our personal praise, to the praise of the community of believers, to world-wide praise of the living God. And in the midst of this the poor eat and are full.

We are reminded of the fact that God created the whole world and loves all the people in it. God wants all people to return to him and acknowledge him. In fact, God is looking for all the people of every nation to bow down before him. When that happens, all the world's poor will have plenty.

But before we get excited and start working on world-wide sovereignty and the end of poverty, we need to begin with ourselves.

How are you worshipping God lately? Are you praising God? How often do you bow before God? Do you acknowledge God all the time or do you find yourself returning again and again? Do you really see God as king in your life? And how often are you feeding the poor, by the way?

God, we praise you among all people. For you are our king! May we live like we mean it. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, July 7, 2011

God has not turned and walked away

Praise the Lord, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show him reverence all you descendants of Israel! For he has not ignored the suffering of the needy. He has not turned and walked away. He has listened to their cries for help. Psalm 22: 23-24 NLT

Interesting that this psalm does not say to praise God for all that God has done for you. This psalm says to praise God because God has not ignored the sufferings of those in need. Praise God for God has not turned God's back on those who suffer. Praise God because God has heard their cries for help.

Not my cries for help. But their cries for help.

Certainly the idea is that the psalmist has been needy and suffering at one time. But this is more than just a story about a personal rescue. This is all about God's nature. God hears and delivers those who suffer. This might be you. Or it might be a child halfway across the world. God is not just personal but global.

What suffering are you under at this moment? Where are the needy in your community who need God at this moment? How about around the world?

Praise God that God hears our cries and their cries! Praise God that God does not ignore the suffering of the needy! May we also not ignore or turn and walk away from the needy. May we listen for their cries for help. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bargaining with God

O Lord, do not stay away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid! Rescue me from a violent death; spare my precious life from these dogs. Snatch me from the lions' jaws, and from the horns of these wild oxen. Then I will declare the wonder of your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among all your people. Psalm 22: 19-22 NLT

What bargaining in the psalms today!

God, I need you to keep close and give me strength. I need you to help me out here. Rescue me, spare my life, snatch me from these dangers. Then I will tell others about you wonderful name and I will praise you in the congregation.

God if you will only do these things to help me...then I will do these other things to help you.

Does God need such an agreement? Do we? Will God not save us without some bargaining? Will we not praise God or tell others about God if God lets us receive unjust punishment?

Something to think about today....

God, do not stay away! May we praise you in your sanctuary. May we tell our brothers and sisters all about you. May we struggle to be your faithful followers without trying to bargain our salvation. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Surrounded by a pack of dogs

My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count every bone in my body. My enemies stare at me and gloat. The divide my clothes among themselves and throw dice for my garments. Psalm 22: 16-18 NLT

This is the imagery, the prophecy of Jesus on the cross. Verse 18 seems to ring in my head today. I am thinking of all my own possessions. What if the police or government agents seized me and all my goods? What if I were forced to watch folks gamble my own clothes away? Auction all my things? How would I feel? How would you?

There was a song by John Mellencamp about his family's farm being auctioned off. In the song the auctioneer apologises for having to do this but gives the excuse that it is just his job. It may be your job, Mellencamp sings, but it sure isn't right.

These are the times when we desperately need God. May we all search for God in good times so that we won't feel alone when we are surrounded by a pack of dogs.


Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, July 4, 2011

Do not go too far!

Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me. My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!  Like roaring lions attacking their prey, they come at me with open mouths. My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. Psalm 22: 11-15 NLT

What imagery in these verses!

A herd of bulls - think the bulls running down the streets of Madrid. What if they were all surrounding you and you were wearing bright red?

Roaring lions, attacking their prey (you) and coming toward you with their mouths open. Can you feel their hot breath?

Your will to live is pouring out of you like water. All your courage has melted like hot wax. Your strength is like clay: hot, dried and cracking in the sun. You can neither say anything nor swallow because your tongue is stuck to the roof of your mouth.

God has laid you down in the dust, leaving you as though you were dead.

Yet, there is still the plea for God not to go to far away because there is no one else who can help.

God, do not go far from us in times of trouble. No one else can help us like you can. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Trust in God

Yet you brought me safely from my mother's womb and led me to trust you when I was a nursing infant. I was thrust upon you at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born. Psalm 22: 9-10 NLT

I am adopted. I am constantly thankful that my birth mother never decided to have an abortion. I am also very aware of God's presence with me even in her womb and through the foster care period until my parents adopted me. I had something called "failure to thrive" which I believe was brought on by not having that bond with my mother or a mother in those first couple of months. God made sure that I survived, however. That is how I know God was my God from the moment of conception. I had to trust God at a very early age in my life.

At what point in your own life did you really find yourself trusting God? Do you still trust God?

God, you have brought us safely from our mothers' wombs and have tried to lead us to trust you since then. Some of us have done better with this trust than others. Help us to remember your presence with us since the moment we were born. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I am a worm and not a man

But I am a worm and not man. I am scorned and despised by all! Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, "Is this the one who relies on the Lord? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!"Psalm 22: 6-8 NLT

The psalmist feels down. In fact, the psalmist feels so down that he feels like a worm rather than a man. He feels like a creature that lives in and eats dirt, a creature so low that it is never regarded and usually stepped on. The psalmist sees that everyone despises him and treats him poorly. They even make fun of the psalmist's faith in God.

Think back on a time when you felt as low as a worm. For me, it was elementary school. I was fat, smart, not athletic and did not have many friends. I was always last to be chosen by any team unless it was "Red Rover." I never was cutely or stylishly dressed. I didn't listen to rock music. I watched very little television, so didn't know the characters or shows that everyone else talked about. I always felt that other people either ridiculed me behind my back or felt sorry for me. I felt like a worm.  I escaped my feelings of inferiority by reading.

What can we do when we feel so low? The psalmist prays to God. We can as well.

God, sometimes we just feel surrounded by enemies and made fun of. Lord, in those times when we feel like worms, help us to continue to call on you. Help us to know you are with us even in the mud. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, July 1, 2011

Our ancestors were not disappointed

Yet, you are holy. The praises of Israel surround your throne. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. You heard their cries for help and saved them. They put their trust in you and were never disappointed. Psalm 22: 3-4 NLT

Were any of your ancestors Christian? How about your great-grandparents? Or even your grandparents? Did you ever talk to them about their faith? Did they ever share any stories with you about how God helped them or rescued them at any point in their lives?

Perhaps your family was not Christian. Hopefully, you are part of a church family or have connections with other long-time Christians. Some time today, give one of them a call and ask them if they have any stories from their own lives when God saved them. Perhaps they had a particular prayer request that was answered. Or found themselves in deep trouble yet were inexplicably saved.

We all need to hear stories of trust from those who have come before us. It makes us realize that we are part of a great cloud of witnesses. And that we too should trust in God.

God, you are holy. The praises surround your throne. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. You heard their cries for help and saved them. They put their trust in you and were never disappointed. We shall do the same. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims