Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Keeping us from Harm?

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous face many troubles, but the Lord rescues them from each and every one. For the Lord protects them from harm – not one of their bones will be broken! Psalm 34: 17-20 NLT

I have said before that God may not always rescue us from suffering but God will take away our fear and our hopelessness.

These verses want to prove me wrong.

This part of psalm 34 says that God will rescue God's people from harm. God is close to those who are brokenhearted and will revive their crushed spirit. I wonder if this means those who mourn or those who are depressed or both?

Certainly, the psalmist reminds us that we will suffer. We will have troubles in our lives. Yet, God rescues us from each and every thing that causes us suffering. God will even go so far to keep our bones from being broken. God will prevent harm from coming to us.

Is this true? Will God always keep me from harm? If I do get a broken bone, will that mean that I am no longer one of God's people or that I am not righteous?

God, these verses are confusing for me. They make me feel secure in you yet cause lots of questions to form in my mind. I want to be protected from harm but I am still not sure that you will rescue me from everything. God, be with me in my struggles. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Children's Moment

Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. Do any of you want to live a life that is long and good? Then watch your tongue! Keep your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living at peace with others. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. Psalm 34: 11-16 NLT

What does your place have worship do during children's time at church? My church has a puppet named Esmeralda. She is very funny but learns a lesson each week. I am never sure if it is the children or the adults who get more out of what she is talking about.

I think these verse are what we are really supposed to be teaching our kids. I imagine Jesus learning this psalm as a child. Children, do you want to live a long and good life? Then listen to me and I will teach you how to fear God. The main things you need to do are:
  1. Watch what you say
  2. Don't tell lies
  3. Turn away from evil
  4. Do good
  5. Work hard at living in peace with others
For if you do evil, God will turn God's face from you. But if you do what is right, God will listen to you when you need help.
Now that is a lesson we all need to learn – no matter what our age!

God, help us to watch what we say, to do good and to work hard at living in peace with others. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, August 29, 2011

Taste and see!

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in him! Let the Lord's people show him reverence, for those who honor him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will never lack any good thing. Psalm 34: 8-10 NLT

Are you hungry yet?

Taste and see... all you need...young lions go hungry...never lack any good thing.

What is for supper at your house tonight or (if it is late) tomorrow night? Still need to go to the grocery? Wondering if there is enough in the bank account to cover what is needed?

The psalmist tells us to trust God so much that we will trust that God will provide even the food we need to eat.

I don't know if I am willing to trust God for my next meal. What I mean to say is that I want more control over my food. I plan ahead. My husband and I write out a menu each week and we try not to go to the store more than once a week (we usually have to make at least one other trip). I know where my next meal is coming from.

But if God is so good, why can't I trust God more with my food? Do I doubt that God will not make sure I have every good thing that I need? How can I increase my trust when it comes to what I put into my mouth?

God, you are good. You promise that those who give you honor will have everything they need – including enough good things to eat. Yet, God, I have not yet reached the point of trusting in you that much. I pray for a deeper trust even though I am scared of what might happen. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Nothing to Fear?

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears. For the angel of the lord guards all who fear him, and he rescues them. Psalm 34: 4-7 NLT

What are you afraid of? I mean really afraid?

I'm not talking about spiders. I mean the fear that absolutely paralyzes you or leaves you desperately hopeless.

When confronted with a fear, have you ever prayed to God? Have you asked God for help?

It is interesting that the psalmist doesn't say that God necessarily will rescue us from what makes us afraid. Instead, God sets us free from fear. God saves us from being slaves to fear. Instead of fear overwhelming us, God gives us joy. We still must face what caused our fear in the first place. But God has given us clearer heads and a higher purpose. God listens to us and gives us hope.

God, you free us from fear. Yet, we hesitate to even ask for help when we become truly afraid. We get so caught up in our feelings that we forget about you. Help us, Lord, when our fears become overwhelming. Give us instead hearts free from fear, clear heads and a overwhelming sense of your heavenly joy. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Boasting on God

I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are discouraged take heart. Come, let us all tell of the Lord's greatness; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34: 2-3 NLT

I like boasting about my family and sometimes myself. Don't you like to brag on your kids or your spouse's accomplishments? Doesn't it feel nice to tell your friends how well things are going in your life?

Yet, the psalmist says that he will boast only in God. Obviously that has depressed someone (perhaps a proud mother like me). So, the psalmist continues by saying that we (the crowd, the congregation, the readers) shouldn't get down about it! The psalmist must know how much we like to brag. Instead, the focus is not on our families but our God. The suggestion is that we all tell of the wonderful things that God has done for us as individuals and as God's people. We can take heart and feel better when we give God the praise and honor together.

Take a moment right now and boast of one thing that God has done in your life this past week.

I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are discouraged take heart. Come, let us all tell of the Lord's greatness; let us exalt his name together. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, August 26, 2011

Constantly Praising God

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. Psalm 34: 1 NLT

Just as Paul said that we must pray without ceasing, so Psalm 34 tells us that we must praise God without stopping.

Can I do that?

Can you?

What would praising God all the time be like? I don't think I would have time to do anything else! I certainly would not be talking to anyone but God. It would be hard to write. I would probably be spending most of my time trying to get my brain to stop wandering off and thinking of something else.

Two things occur to me as I write this.

  1. If I did attempt to praise God at all times, I certainly would be controlling my sinful thoughts and my unloving tongue. It would change what I think about and how I am focused.
  2. Perhaps it isn't just the words I would use to praise God but how my actions could be a praise to God. Instead of just washing dishes because they were dirty and my family was expecting me to wash them, I would wash them for the glory of God. Washing dishes would then become a blessing rather than a chore. I think it was St. Benedict who thought along these same lines for the monks in his order: every action becomes a prayer.

Would that kind of living and praising not change you and me both?

God, I will praise you at all times with my thoughts and my actions. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Depend on God

The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do. The best equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior. Don't count on your warhorse to give you victory – for all its strength, it cannot save you. But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. We depend on the Lord alone to save us. Only he can help us, protecting us like a shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we are trusting in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone. Psalm 33: 13-22 NLT

God made your heart and understands everything you do.

Kind of scary to think about, isn't it?

These verses remind us that we are not to depend on ourselves, our own strengths, our possessions or our own might to solve our problems, create victory in our lives or save us when we are in great need.

God understand us but wants us to depend on God. God wants us to see that it is not by our own will but by God's will that we are saved. God alone can help us.

And when we trust in God, our hearts are happy.

God made your heart and understands everything you do. And God loves you.

God, I depend on you alone to save me. You alone can help me, protecting me like a shield. My heart rejoices in you as I trust in your holy name. Let your unfailing love surround me, Lord, for my hope is in you alone. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Plans? What Plans?

The Lord shatters the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the Lord's plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen for his own. Psalm 33: 10-11 NLT

What are your plans?

I was recently asked by my superior how long I wanted to serve my current church. I could have given the number of years that I felt would look good or be appropriate. However, I told him honestly that I was willing to serve as long as God was calling me there.

Perhaps I was acting out today's verses.

God's plans will always overthrow our own or those of entire countries. God's intentions and plans are firm.

Our plans are simply subject to how they fit into God's intentions. That doesn't mean we should not make any plans. But it does mean that we need to allow for God to intervene, change, and reformat our present and future plans. We should embrace God's plan with joy.

God, your plans stand forever. Your intentions are firm. May we claim you as our Lord and have joy rather than anger when our own plans are thwarted or shattered by your own. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In Awe of God's Creation

The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. He gave the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in fast reservoirs. Let everyone in the world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him. For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command. Psalm 33: 6-9 NLT

God has a powerful voice. It is the voice of creation. God's breath or Spirit can do remarkable things.

Even when science explains the how we should be in awe of God.

God is the why. God's voice is the voice of creation. God's breath is the breath of new life. We should not be afraid of understanding the world through science while at the same time being in awe of all God's creation. Just because the world did not appear as if by magic does not make God's voice, God's breath and God's creative power less believable.

God, we are in awe of you. Help us to embrace the discoveries of science so that we can be more and more in awe of what you have created in this world. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, August 22, 2011


For the word of the Lord holds true, and everything he does is worthy of our trust. He loves whatever is just and good, and his unfailing love fills the earth. Psalm 33: 4-5 NLT

God's word holds true and we can trust God. God is worthy of being trusted.

Who in your life do you trust right now?

Over the past few years, I have found myself trusting the leaders of my denomination less and less. I don't trust them enough to share with them what is really going on with me and with my life. I have seen too many people stabbed in the back or run over or treated like business associates rather than Christians.

Makes me wonder how much people trust me. I try my best to be someone that holds confidences. I think I do pretty well in that department but I probably could do even better. I try not to gossip or speak ill of someone who is not present. I know that I fail miserably.

God loves what is just and good. God loves us when we can be trusted. Perhaps if we all trusted God more we could be trustworthy as well.

God, everything you do is worthy of our trust. Help us to be just, good and trustworthy ourselves. May we trust in you. In Jesus' name.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What are you singing today?

Let the godly sing with joy to the Lord, for it is fitting to praise him. Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp. Sing new songs of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp and sing with joy. Psalm 33: 1-3 NLT

What song is on your mind today? Are you singing a melody in your heart? Are you listening to music right now? Is the song a praise song or could it be sung as a praise to God? If not, what song could you think of right now if you were to sing a praise to God?

God wants our music in praise. Whether we sing, play an instrument or just listen to praise music, God wants us to lift up our songs. God wants to hear our joy, feel our grateful emotion s through music, and be surrounded by our praise.

Take sometime today to listen to and sing along with a favorite song or hymn of praise. Perhaps you could play an instrument instead. Or just sing right where you are your praise to God.

God, here is my praise and worship in song. May it be pleasing to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Did you confess yesterday?

Therefore, let all the godly confess their rebellion to you while there is time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The Lord says, “ I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” Many sorrows come to the wicked but unfailing love surrounds those who trust in the Lord. So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure! Psalm 32: 6-11 NLT

I love the image of God leading us like a pack mule, guiding us the best way for our lives. And we, the mule, are so stubborn. Instead of simply following, we require a bit and a bridle to make sure we obey God.

I think the bit and bridle imagery means that we fall short of God's direction. We rebel and sin and do things that are me-centered rather than God centered. We would rather do our own thing and live in sorrow rather than confess and live in joy.

What would happen if all Christians got on their knees this very day and confessed their sins to God? I mean truly and honestly confessed. Would we see changes in the way people act and carried out their everyday lives? Would hearts be healed and transformations occur? Would your own heart be filled with gladness enough to shout?

I know you probably skipped yesterday's confessional, didn't you? Well, here is another opportunity:

God, I confess my sins to you. Not the superficial stuff but the real deep sins that I carry in my heart.

Forgive me, Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, August 19, 2011

Confession: Good for the Soul

Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Psalm 32: 1-5 NLT

Do you feel bad but it isn't because of the summer heat? Are you weak and miserable? Do you find the hand of God's discipline heavy upon you?

Confess. Have an honest talk with God, with a trusted friend, or with your pastor.

Joy is not found because we are sinless. Joy is found when we honestly and completely confess to God all our sins, transgressions and trespasses. Joy is found when God forgives us and removes all our guilt. Our sin is put out of sight, our record is clean. We live in complete honesty rather than lies.

God, I confess my sins to you. Not the superficial stuff but the real deep sins that I carry in my heart.

Forgive me, Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Courage and Strength

Praise the Lord, for he has shown me his unfailing love. He kept me safe when my city was under attack. In sudden fear I had cried out, “I have been cut off from the Lord!” But you heard my cry for mercy and answered my call for help. Love the Lord, all you faithful ones! For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes all who are arrogant. So be strong and take courage, all you who put your hope in the Lord! Psalm 31: 21-24 NLT

Where in your life do you need to be strong?

What would it take for you to act with strength?

What kind of courage do you need this every day?

What has been your biggest fear this week?

Do you want to be strong and filled with courage? Do you trust in God, I mean really trust in God? Is your hope firmly in God or are you hoping in the upcoming elections or your monthly check?

Even when we think God has abandoned us and we cry to God in our helplessness, God provides the help we need.

God, we place our faith and hope in your. Give us strength for this day, this week and always. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blessings to You

Your goodness is so great! You have stored up great blessings for those who honor you. You have done so much for those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues. Psalm 31: 19-20 NLT

God is so good! In fact, God is more than just plain good – God's goodness is great!

This psalm tells us that God blesses us by providing protection.

That's right – not by giving food, clothing or shelter but by protecting us from harm. I see this harm as from evil (some might even say “Big Red”). Blessing comes in the form of being saved from the devil. Not being saved from suffering but being saved from evil. Accusations and conspiracies are deflected. Those are the blessings the psalmist speaks of in these verses.

Where in your life lately have you received God's blessings?

May you be blessed by God this day! Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Your Future

But I am trusting in you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly. Let your favor shine on your servant. In your unfailing love, save me. Don't let me be disgraced, O Lord, for I call out to you for help. Let the wicked be disgraced; let them lie silent in the grave. May their lying lips be silenced – those proud and arrogant lips that accuse the godly. Psalm 31: 14-18 NLT

Your future is in God's hands.

Does knowing that make you feel cared for or powerless? Do you want more say-so about your future?Or are you content and trusting that God will do the right thing for you?

Please note that this may not mean a worry-free and safe future. Afterall, the psalmist knows that their future is in God's hands even when wicked people accuse them and hunt them down.

The biggest help we can have is to trust God and to proclaim that God is our God. There will be times that we feel in need of rescue. We may have to continually say: “You are my God!” more to convince ourselves that others. We may cry out to God for help. But we can still trust God.

I am trusting in you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, August 15, 2011

Have you heard the rumors?

Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress. My sight is blurred because of my tears. My body and soul are withering away. I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Misery has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within. I am scorned by all my enemies and despised by my neighbors – even my friends are afraid to come near me. When they see me on the street, they turn the other way. I have been ignored as if I were dead, as if I were a broken pot. I have heard the many rumors about me, and I am surrounded by terror. My enemies conspire against me, plotting to take my life. Psalm 31: 9-13 NLT

I have heard the many rumors about me....

I greatly dislike hearing rumors. But I especially despise rumors about myself. Of course, I am usually the last to hear such rumors. I know they are out there. I have never thought about feeling terror because of rumors . However, I have been afraid of losing my job, of being criticized and losing credibility. Those are closely associate with terror. At least they could become terror if I spent too much time worrying about them. And I am good at worrying.

What rumors have you heard about yourself? Would you like to ask God to take away your worry and your terror?

God, take away my worry and my terror. Help me to turn a deaf ear to rumors about me. Help me not to pass along rumors about others. May I be filled with your mercy and strength. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Overcome with Joy

I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to my enemy but have set me in a safe place. Psalm 31: 7-8 NLT

God loves you.

God sees all that you are going through.

God cares about the anguish of your soul.

God sets you on a safe place.

God may not rescue you like you want to be rescued. God may not take away all that weighs on your heart. But God knows you and gives you the joy because of the care and love God does have for you.

May you be overcome with joy because of God's unfailing love and caring.

In Jesus name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I trust in the Lord

I hate those who worship worthless idols. I trust in the Lord. Psalm 31:6 NLT

Although hate is a strong word, we Christians know how to hate pretty well. We've hated those who are of different religions (Muslims, Jews, Hindus) as well as those who are of no religion. Just take a look at world history to see our hate in action. Today in America we tend to hate those who are participating in immoral sexual behavior, those who kill the unborn and those who are here illegally.

But what about those who worship worthless idols?

Not idols made of clay or wood.

Idols like celebrities. Writers. Self-help gurus.

Idols who speak on talk radio or “act” on reality television shows.

Idols who show up on the nightly news or entertainment magazines and websites.

Idols who have become successful, rich, and powerful.

We do tend to worship such idols. Just look at the hit show “American Idol.”

The psalmist reminds us that only God is worthy of our worship. We should trust in God. And in God alone.

Honestly, who do you worship?

God, we trust in you alone. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pulled up by God

You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this peril. Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me, for I find protection in you alone. I entrust my spirit into your hand. Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God. Psalm 31: 3-5 NLT

Have you ever fallen down or into some hole and needed someone to help you up? There is something powerful in that feeling of reaching up while the other person reaches down then being pulled up onto your feet. You must trust the one who is pulling you up. You are grateful for the other person. The help you receive creates a friendly bond between the two of you. Even if you didn't really need the help, the teamwork expressed in being helped is something you can feel in your heart. Gratefulness and camaraderie are what come to my mind as to what I would feel.

Imagine God reaching down and grasping you by the wrist. You trust God. God pulls you gently but firmly to your feet. You are grateful. You feel somehow closer to God after that. Your trust in God is greater, your gratefulness has increased. God truly has become your rock and your fortress.

God, you are my rock and my fortress. I find protection in you alone. I entrust my spirit into your hand. Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Great Rock of Safety

O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don't let me be put to shame. Rescue me, for you always do what is right. Bend down and listen to me; rescue me quickly. Be for me a great rock of safety, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Psalm 31: 1-2 NLT

God, protect me.

Keep me from being shamed.

Rescue me.

God, you always do what is right.

Bend down to my level.

Listen to me.

Rescue me quickly!

Be my great rock of safety.

Be my fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.

God, you always do what is right.

In Jesus' name I pray.


Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! Psalm 30: 11-12 NLT

I know of at least three individuals who are in mourning for their spouse. And not a single one of them are joyfully dancing, even though for at least one it has been several years since their loved one's death.

I have not yet lost someone as close as a spouse or a parent. But I am trying to understand how mourning can become joyful dancing. The mourning that I see is dark, suffocating and depressing. There is no joy in that.

Yet the psalmist seems to give the impression that if mourning is turned into joyful dancing by God, then God will be praised and thanked. The idea seems to be that if we are mourning, we aren't going to be able to be praising God. God wants our thanks and praise not our weeping. When we weep, we turn away from God and stop giving God the glory.

The key phrase is that God is the one who turns mourning into dancing with joy. The question is: when will we be ready to allow God to make that change?

God, we lift up to you all those we name who are mourning. God, turn their mourning into dancing so that they will be joyfully giving you thanks and praise. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hear me, Lord

When I was prosperous I said, “Nothing can stop me now!” Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain. Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered. I cried out to you, O Lord. I begged the Lord for mercy, saying, “ What will you gain if I die, if I sink down into the grave? Can my dust praise you from the grave? Can it tell the world of your faithfulness? Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me. Help me, O Lord.” Psalm 30: 6-10 NLT

These verses remind me of King David's own period of contrition when the baby born to his illicit union with Bathsheba was at the point of death. Certainly, David's actions during that time were of the “Nothing can stop me now – not even sinful behavior” variety. David had God's favor. He seemed above the law.

Then he found out differently.

I wonder if his prayer was this one. Or like this one. David was shattered. Surely God would save his baby. Were the prayers for the baby or for David himself? Was David ever filled with shame for his behavior? Did he see this death as a punishment for what he had done? Did he think God would overlook it and have mercy on him (rather than the child)?

I wonder how many times we cry to God and ask for mercy when we are the ones who are lacking in mercy. How often do we cry for help when we should be crying for others? When the baby died, David immediately took a bath and stopped crying to God. This amazed the servants who thought the baby's death would really send him over the edge. Are we as self-centered as King David?

God, we cry to you for help. We thank you for prosperity. But we don't always take responsibility for our own behavior. May we do your will at all times. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, August 8, 2011

Joy Comes with the Morning

Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30: 4-5

This is God with a silver lining. God may be angry at us. God may even punish us for a time. Or at least it will seem that way. However, God's anger never lasts. Compare this to God's favor and honor – they last forever. Just like crying all night long, when the sun rises feelings of joy resurface. Sadness, like God's anger, will not last for ever and ever.

Have you ever felt like God was punishing you? What did you feel you had done to deserve that discipline? How did you act or react during that time? At what point did you feel God's anger had abated? Did you have to do something in order to feel as though you were back in God's favor? Did you feel as though you had been crying all night but as soon as the sun rose you were happy again?

Thank God that God' favor lasts for a lifetime. Let us sing to the Lord and praise God's holy name! Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, August 7, 2011

God My Victor and Redeemer

I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death. Psalm 30: 1-3 NLT

Have you ever been very sick? Have you ever had to spend time in the hospital undergoing tests to find out what was wrong with you? Have you been diagnosed with cancer and then gone into remission?

Then this is the prayer, the psalm for you.

In these verses, the enemy is disease, cancer, poor health. The victor is God. God is the savior and the redeemer.

Even if you have never had this kind of experience, God can still be your victor and redeemer. God is the healer whom we all need in our lives, no matter how healthy we remain.

I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Peace of God

The Lord rules over the floodwaters. The Lord reigns as King forever. The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalm 29: 10-11 NLT

After the voice of the Lord has caused destruction and mayhem like a natural catastrophe, God brings peace. God is not only in the fury of the storm but also the peace and calm following the storm.

Think of what it is like after a storm has passed by. The birds resume singing. There is a gentle breeze rather than abrupt thunder. Streams are full and run smoothly by the banks. It is as if nature is again breathing with a sigh of relief. The air seems cleaner, cooler, and more refreshing. This is the peace of God.

The psalmist reminds us that it is God who rules, even during a storm. The reason we know this is the same peace that reigns following a storm is the peace that God also gives God's people.

God, thank you for the peace you give to each one of us. May your peace reign in our hearts this day. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, August 5, 2011


The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders. The Lord thunders over the mighty sea. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars; the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon's mountains skip like a calf and Mount Hermon to leap like a young bull. The voice of the Lord strikes with lightening bolts. The voice of the Lord makes the desert quake; the Lord shakes the desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!” Psalm 29: 3-9 NLT

God's voice – not something you want to hear after reading this scripture. God's voice echoes over the sea: imagine the sound of thunder and how it echoes several times before a storm. The rest of that verse echoes the meaning of the first part. God's voice is like thunder, like thunder over the waves of the sea. God's voice is immensely powerful. Just the sound of God's voice breaks trees, shakes the mountains and strikes like lightening. The sound of God's voice shakes the deserts and razes forests.

God's voice is the fury of nature during a catastrophic storm. God's voice is like an earthquake. God's voice roars with the sound of a forest fire.

God's voice is not kind and gentle but overwhelming, powerful and terrifying.

No wonder everyone in worship shouts, “Glory!” It is almost a prayer for help and deliverance as it is a response of praise.

God, you are more powerful than we often realize. We think we want to hear your voice but we don't know what we are asking for. We give you the glory and the praise. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, August 4, 2011

To God Be the Glory

Give honor to the Lord, you angels; give honor to the Lord for his glory and strength. Give honor the Lord for the glory of his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29: 1-2 NLT

What does it mean to give someone, specifically God, honor?

When I think of honoring someone, I think of paying tribute to someone who has accomplished a great task or many accomplishments. Paying tribute would mean holding a gala for them. Honoring someone would mean having them as a guest of honor at a special banquet or show and singing, joking, laughing and telling stories in a way that makes them feel good and special about themselves. This would include having others there that mean something to that person as well as being persons who highly respect that individual being honored.

To honor God, then, would mean a worship service. Many people would be invited. Stories would be told about the great things that God had done for us all. Scripture would be read about creation and about Jesus. Songs and favorite hymns would be sung. Individuals who had miracles to share with everyone would stand up and speak, praising God as they did so.

Shouldn't this be our worship? Should we not be honoring God when we gather each week? This scripture makes me re-think how we worship on Sunday morning at my church. How about you?

God, we give you the honor and the glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Praising God

Praise the Lord! For he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. The Lord protects his people and gives victory to his anointed king. Save your people! Bless Israel, your special possession! Lead them like a shepherd and carry them forever in your arms. Psalm 28: 6-9 NLT

What can you praise God for at this very moment?

How has God heard your cry for mercy this week?

Has God helped you recently? Given you strength? Shielded you from danger?

Take some time right now to give God praise, listing all God has done for you.

Praise the Lord! For he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Don't drag me away

Don't drag me away with the wicked – with those who do evil – those who speak friendly words to their neighbors while planning evil in their hearts. Give them the punishment they deserve! Measure it out in proportion to their wickedness. Pay them back for all their evil deeds! Give them a taste of what they have done to others. They care nothing for what the Lord has done or for what his hands have made. So he will tear them down like old buildings, and they will never be rebuilt! Psalm 28: 3-5

I want nothing to do with those people!

They are friendly to your face but plan on putting you down at the first opportunity. There is a special place in hell reserved just for them. In fact, they just need the punishment they deserve, right God? Why don't you measure out their punishment in proportion to the hurt they have caused others? They need to be paid back for all the evil they have done, the mean things they have said and the lives they have destroyed. God, you really should give them a taste of what they have done to others. They don't care about you or about what you have done. Tear them down like old buildings so that they will never be rebuilt!

Sorry, God, I got a bit carried away. I know, I know, you are the one who is slow to anger and quick to forgive. I tell you what, I will ask for help when I need it but I will let you decide on the punishment or the grace. I will simply depend on you for my own strength and determination to keep to the narrow path.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, August 1, 2011

Don't be silent, God

O Lord, you are my rock of safety. Please help me; don't refuse to answer me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die. Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary. Psalm 28: 1-2 NLT

If God is silent, if God does not help me, if God refuses to answer my pleas, I might as well give up. Death would be better than silence from God.

A friend of mine is seeking some discernment from God for a major life change. She keeps praying and listening and seeking. But God has been rather silent. We prayed together. God didn't speak to me, either. She has not given up and is listening instead to her own heart and life experience to guide her.

When in your life has God been silent? How did you cope? Did you give up to despair? If so, how did you recover?

God, you are our rock of safety. When you are silent, we are often driven to despair. Help us not be ones who give up hope but are anchored in your love and mercy. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims