Friday, September 30, 2011

Why are you so busy?

We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth for someone else to spend. Psalm 39: 6 NLT

What are you working for? For whom does your pay check really go? Are you trying to get wealthy yet will never reap what you sow? Perhaps you are living as though you are wealthy and trying to earn money to pay all those creditors.

Either way, why are we trying to make so much and climb that ladder of success? Sometimes I think I am just making money to pay taxes so that others can live a nice life of retirement. I don't see what I give to the government as ever really helping me out.

Yet, I am busy rushing around. I am working hard earning that paycheck. I don't have time to slow down and enjoy life because I am so busy with my job. Gotta get stuff done!

Here the psalmist reminds me that my rushing ends in nothing. I am merely a moving shadow, my money going to someone else. Slow down. Think about what is really important. May God, not money your priority.

God, help us to see how foolish our working lives can be compared to our lives in your care and on your road. Change our priorities, Lord, and bring us closer to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Keeping your mouth shut

I said to myself, “I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will curb my tongue when the ungodly are around me.” But as I stood there in silence – not even speaking of good things – The turmoil within me grew to the bursting point. My thoughts grew hot within me and began to burn, igniting a fire of words. “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath.” Psalm 39: 1-5 NLT

How often we do sin with our mouths! Our words are sometimes more tools of the devil than instruments of God's grace. We say we aren't going to open our mouths. The psalmist says he will curb his tongue around the ungodly. Then, like the psalmist, our thoughts grow “to the bursting point,” and begin “to burn, igniting a fire of words.”

Have you ever been in that position? What do you do? What has happened in the past? Have you gone ahead and said something? Did you regret it later? Or were you able to walk away?

The psalmist calms down by reminding himself just how human he is. His days are numbered. His existence is but a breath to God. God is far more important and one's words are weighed and heard by God. The psalmist will keep his promise by remembering how brief his time on earth really is.

God, remind us how mortal we are. Help us to keep our mouths shut even when the response and the anger boils up inside us. Our silence will be like gold to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

You Know What I Long For

You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh. My heart beats wildly, my strength fails and I am going blind. My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease. Even my own family stands at a distance. Meanwhile, my enemies lay traps for me; they make plans to ruin me. They think up treacherous deeds all day long. But I am deaf to all their threats. I am silent before them as one who cannot speak. I choose to hear nothing, and I make no reply. Psalm 38: 9-14 NLT

There are times in our lives when we feel very lonely. It may seem if all our friends have deserted us. We may miss our family. Only those who are out to get us seem to be paying us any attention.

In these times, sometimes it is best to turn a deaf ear to those people. Don't listen to their threats. Don't say a word, either in anger or in frustration. Be silent. In fact, don't even hear what they have to say. Don't respond. Be as deaf and quiet as a rock.

God knows what we truly long for. God hears our pain and our silent prayers. God has not left or abandoned us. God can give us the strength to make it through.

You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh. I am eternally grateful. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A burden too heavy to bear

O Lord, don't rebuke me in your anger! Don't discipline me in your rage! Your arrows have struck deep, and your blows are crushing me. Because of your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins. My guilt overwhelms me – it is a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins. I am bent over and racked with pain. My days are filled with grief. A raging fever burns within me, and my health is broken. I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart. Psalm 38: 1-8 NLT

The psalmist goes back and forth between blaming God for all the suffering they are going through and blaming their own sins. Of course, the acknowledgment of sin is understood as being something God punishes. And this punishment or discipline has a bodily component. This isn't just feeling bad for something one has done. This is a complete loss of health due to the burden of sin and guilt.

What has this guy done?

Have you ever felt like your health is a reflection of your behavior? Have you ever blamed God for your visits to the doctor or your mental anguish? How did you get beyond those feelings?

There are consequences when we make bad choices. Sometimes our emotional health can take a toll on our bodies. But God wants to forgive us. God isn't looking for an excuse to beat us up over what we have done wrong. And we shouldn't blame God when we lack the fortitude to completely confess and accept God's forgiveness.

God, forgive me. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, September 26, 2011

Your Future

Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future lies before those who love peace. But the wicked will be destroyed; they have no future. The Lord saves the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble. The Lord helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in him. Psalm 37: 37-40 NLT

What does your future look like?

The psalmist promises that a wonderful future lies before those who love peace.

Do you love peace?

I am not speaking just of absence of war. I am talking about personal peace. In your home. At work. Where you volunteer. At your child's or grandchildren's school. In your neighborhood. In your town.

Do you love peace in these places? How hard are you working for peace in all these areas?

Begin with yourself. Be at peace with where you are and who you are. Let the anger and perfection go. Hang out in God's castle and feel God's saving grace for your life. Just breathe and be at peace.

God, I am not at peace. I say I want world peace but my own home is a battlefield. My heart is primed for war. I just want to attack everything, beginning with myself. God, I ask for your peace and your protection. Let me allow you to lead me and fight my battles for me. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don't be impatient for God to act!

Don't be impatient for the Lord to act! Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you, giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed. I myself have seen it happen – proud and evil people thriving like mighty trees. But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them! Psalm 37: 34-36 NLT

Have you ever been impatient for the Lord to act? What were you waiting for? How long did it take for God to act? Had you given up by that point?

I prayed to meet my birth mother for years. Then I discovered that she was most likely deceased. My next prayer was to meet her family. I prayed for 2 ½ years. I had almost given up when I was befriended by her brother on Facebook. I was impatient for the Lord to act. God had God's own timing and it was perfect: last year I got to meet my three half-sisters and their families. And I also got to officiate at my middle sister's wedding!

What have you been praying about for a long time? Are you tired of waiting? Don't give up! Travel steadily on his path, continuing your prayers. God is with you and will answer you in God's good time.

God, I lift up to you this prayer request: ________________________________. You know I am becoming impatient. But I will be traveling steadily on you path, waiting for your answer and knowing that it will be good. Wickedness will not overcome your answer. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fill your heart with God's law

The godly offer good counsel; they know what is right from wrong. They will fill their hearts with God's law, so they will never slip from his path. Those who are evil spy on the godly, waiting for an excuse to kill them. But the Lord will not let the wicked succeed or let the godly be condemned when they are brought before the judge. Psalm 37: 30-33 NLT

How do you fill your heart with God's law so that you never slip from God's path?

For me, it is about reading, absorbing and living out scripture. To fill your heart with God's law, you have to know what it says. For that reason, reading scripture is how you can learn about God's law. But what if you don't understand it or maybe just read to say you have read it? You need to absorb it. That means going to Bible classes, reading commentaries, talking with others about scripture, struggling with the hard parts, praying over it and just letting it sink in. Once you have done that, then you have to live it. How does scripture change you? How do you live out what you have read and struggled with? Would anyone know you have been filling your heart with God's law just by observing you? They should!

If you fill your heart with God's law, you will never slip from God's path.

God, thank you for your law and thank you for the path you have laid out for me. Help me to fill my heart with your law and never slip from your path. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, September 23, 2011

Turn from evil and do good

Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever. For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will perish. The godly will inherit the land and will live there forever. Psalm 37: 27-29 NLT

There is hope for those who turn from doing evil and turn to God.

The psalmist tells us that God loves justice. That means that God is just. God won't punish someone for past deeds when they have admitted their faults, asked for forgiveness and begun living godly lives. God forgives completely.

How unlike the rest of us! When we see someone doing bad things, we immediately judge them. And if they confess and ask for forgiveness? We have a really hard time accepting that forgiveness.

That is why I am glad that God is in control and not me or someone like me! There is hope for me, too, to be forgiven completely. God is just and forgiving. I am not.

God, thank you for being just and forgiving. Help me to confess my wrongdoings and live a changed life. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How generous are you?

Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly forsaken, nor seen their children begging for bread. The godly always give generous loans to others and their children are a blessing. Psalm 37: 25-26 NLT

So, how generous are you? I don't mean how much money do you give away. I mean to ask: what kind of attitude goes with your giving? Do you expect something from your gift, whether from God or others? Do you think if you give a lot, God will turn and reward you? Or do you expect your church or other non-profit to make much of you, to do as you ask, to follow your own recommendations over those not so generous?

Generosity means giving with your hand open. You are not ready to grab the hand that takes the money. The money is freely given and the trust in the one to whom it is given is irreversible.

The psalmist looks at the godly and sees that they give generous loans. There is no expectation of a pay-back. They may not have much but their children will not starve and are actually faithful and godly themselves.

So, if you are unsure about how generous you are, perhaps you had better look at your children.

God, I have experienced your own generosity in various ways in my life. Most importantly, you gave your son freely for our sake, not expecting anything in return. For that we are truly and eternally grateful. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Every detail

The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers. Those blessed by the Lord will inherit the land, but those cursed by him will die. The steps of the godly are directed by their Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. Thought they stumble they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Psalm 37: 21-24 NLT

Let these words of assurance seep into your heart and mind today. Read these sentences slowly to yourself, taking a break after each one. Let them sink into you.

The godly give generously.

The godly will be blessed by the Lord.

The steps of the godly are directed by God.

God delights in every detail of their life.

Even if the godly stumble, they will not fall because God has them by the hand.
God, continue directing my steps and holding my be the hand. I want to be generous and blessed while you delight in every detail of my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What I really need

Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive a reward that lasts forever. They will survive through hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough. But the wicked will perish. The Lord's enemies are like flowers in a field – they will disappear like smoke. Psalm 37: 18-20 NLT

Even in hard times, you will have more than enough.

What kind of hard times have you been through in your life? Did you have what you needed? Would you say that God provided for you?

The innocent, the righteous, will survive. In fact, they will be rewarded with something that lasts forever (not money or things).

What do you need right now from God? Lift up your prayers today and ask God for what you need.

God, what I really need right now is: __________________________________________________. I trust you to provide more than enough. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, September 19, 2011

May we be godly, not rich

It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and posses much. For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly. Psalm 37: 16-17 NLT

It is better to be a faithful follower of God than to be rich and own lots of stuff.

On the one hand, I would like my own child to learn this lesson. But on the other, I need to learn it first.

I can't tell you how many of my friends and relatives seem to have more than me. Better cars, nicer and newer clothes, fancier houses, and expensive vacations to exotic locales. And let's not even talk about the parents at my son's private school!

Scripture makes it plain that what is important is not what you own or how much money you have.

The important thing is to be godly, to be right with God. Instead of looking at possessions, I need to be looking at my prayer life. How rich is that right now? Am I reading God's word for my own benefit or others'? Am I trusting God or am I consumed with jealousy? Am I focused on worship or focused on comparing with others? Am I a godly person?

How about you?

God, may we be godly. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Lord just laughs

In a little while, the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone. Those who are gentle and lowly will posses the land; they will live in prosperous security. The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgement coming. The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right. But they will be stabbed through the heart with their own swords, and their bows will be broken. Psalm 37: 10-15 NLT

The Lord just laughs.

Is this a “I am completely power and have you totally in my mercy” kind of laugh? You know, a sort of godly “Bru ha ha ha!”

Or is it more a chuckle, an all-knowing smirk?

Perhaps it is a good laugh from the belly – a sort of God meets Santa Clause kind of laugh.

And what kind of God is it that laughs – in any of the above forms – when others are about to be judged and punished?

Wouldn't God be weeping instead? Perhaps this is like when people are really happy they cry. Maybe when God is really sad, God laughs.

I don't know.

All I do know is the reassurance that the good guys will win in the end. God, whether laughing or crying, will make it so.

God, we trust you for our future even when we feel surrounded by the enemy. For yours is the last laugh. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, September 17, 2011

God will ...

Don't worry about the wicked. Don't envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like springtime flowers, they soon wither. Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart's desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him , and he will help you. He will make your innocence as clear as the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop your anger! Turn away from your rage! Do not envy others – it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land. Psalm 37: 109 NLT

Rather than worry about others, focus on the following:
Trust in God.
Do good.
Take delight in God.
Commit everything you do to God.
Be still in God's presence.
Be patient for God to act.
Don't be angry when others take action against you.
Never envy others.

If you do these, then God will:
Keep you safe and prosperous.
Give you your heart's desires.
Help you.
Grant you true justice.
Give you possession of God's kingdom.

Lord, may I trust you, do good, take delight in you, commit all I do to you, be still and patient in your presence. Remove all envy and anger from my heart. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, September 16, 2011

God's Protection

Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. Don't let the proud trample me; don't let the wicked push me around. Look! They have fallen! They have been thrown down, never to rise again. Psalm 36: 10-12 NLT

Have you ever been in a really big crowd where you are being pushed around by all the bodies shoved up against you? If you have, you will know that it is a scary, panicky feeling. You know that you are helpless in the sway, push and pull of others. If you fall, you will most likely be trampled. And all you want to do is get out.

That is the visual that comes to me when I read these verses. The psalmist is in a crowd composed of the proud and the wicked. They are surrounded. They are being pushed and pulled, always with the threat of being pulled down and trampled upon.

Their plea to God is to remember those who love God. Provide justice to those who are honest. The psalmist is the one who loves God. The psalmist is the one who has an honest heart. It is up to God to save them from the crowd.

Then the psalmist sees that the wicked and the proud have stumbled and fallen. They are the ones who are being trampled and conquered. Their own actions have been turned against them.

God, sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the ones around us, the proud, the wicked, the unfaithful. We ask for your protection. Remember us, Lord! Help us to continue to love you and keep ourselves honest. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Praise God!

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your rivers of delight. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. Psalm 36: 5-9 NLT

These verses are a praise hymn to God. They don't thank God for a particular action on the psalmist's behalf. These verses aren't full of gratefulness for answered prayer.

Instead, these verses of Psalm 36 describe who God is.

God is as vast as the heavens.

God's faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.

God's righteousness is like a huge mountain range.

God's justice is as bottomless as the ocean depths.

God's care includes both humans and animals.

God's love is precious.

All human beings find shelter in God's wings.

God provides abundance and delight, life and light.

Now it is your turn. How do you describe God? Who is God for you?

God, we praise you for your faithfulness, righteousness, justice, care, and love. You are the almighty God in whom we delight. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

God at the center

Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God to restrain them. In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are. Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do what is good. They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their course of action is never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil. Psalm 36: 1-4 NLT

Those who do not fear God have nothing to keep them from doing evil or planning devious plots. Does this mean true fear or is it more a mark of respect? Should we be terrified of God, cowering under the threat of judgment/punishment? Certainly a healthy respect of God would make most of us think twice about doing something wicked.

But these wicked people of this psalm are more than doers of evil. They are also blinded to their own wickedness. They don't even have the realization that what they do is evil. I think that a healthy fear of God is more than just respect. It is also a realization that you are not the center of the universe. God is. With God at the center of your world, you are less likely to do your own will and more likely to do God's. You are also better able to see when you do wrong.

Putting God at the center of our world keeps sin from whispering deep in our hearts. We have God to restrain us. We can then act wisely and do what is good.

God, you are the center of my world. YOU are the center of my world. Help me to see myself clearly and orient myself to where you are. In Jesus name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thank you for being a friend!

May those who rejoice at my troubles be humiliated and disgraced. May those who triumph over me be covered with same and dishonor. But give great joy to those who have stood with me in my defense. Let them continually say, “Great is the Lord, who enjoys helping his servant.” Then I will tell everyone of your justice and goodness, and I will praise you all day long. Psalm 35: 26-28 NLT

Thank goodness that the psalmist has friends who stick by him through even the worst times.

Who are your friends that you can count on? I mean real friends, not the facebook kind.

Today send them a note or email and thank them for being such great friends.

God, we praise you for all you are and all you do. We thank you for special friends in our lives who stand with us in our defense. Thank you that we can count on friends in times of need or disgrace. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, September 8, 2011

All Rise!

O Lord, you know all about this, Do not stay silent. Don't abandon me now, O Lord. Wake up! Rise to my defense! Take up my case, my God and my Lord. Declare me “not guilty,” O Lord my God, for you give justice. Don't let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles. Don't let them say, “Look! We have what we wanted! Now we will eat him alive!” Psalm 35: 22-25 NLT

So, does God ever go to sleep? Why is the psalmist asking God to wake up?

These verses sound like a courtroom scene. Perhaps God has gotten bored with the proceedings and dozed off. I am sure that God sometimes would like to doze off when I do stupid and trivial things. But in these verses the psalmist needs God to stand up and testify in the psalmist's defense. This is because God is the one who gives true justice.

When lately you have felt on the stand in a courtroom? Who was the judge? Someone you don't like? A friend? God? Perhaps yourself? What kind of defense did you need? Or did you have to plea guilty as charged?

God, you are awake. You are our judge and defender. Please forgive us when we do wrong and help us to have the courage and admit our faults. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Falsely Accused

Don't let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat. Don't let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow. They don't talk of peace; they plot against innocent people who are minding their own business. They shout they have seen me doing wrong. “Aha,” they say. “Aha! With our own eyes we saw him do it!” Psalm 35:19-21 NLT

This part of the psalm feels as though the emotions of the one crying out to God have been spent. The anger is not so fierce now. There is mainly sorrow and dejection. The main request is that the psalmist's enemies would not rejoice and gloat over them. The enemies are not going to make peace. Instead, they'll be finding new things to witness falsely about. The innocent are minding their own business, why can't their enemies do the same?

I cannot stand being falsely accused. It really makes me angry. Falsely accuse me of something and I probably will do something wrong! Being unjustly accused is one of my own hot buttons that will release my temper.

But the psalmist seems caught up in this whole drama. There seems to be no escape. Even if they had done anything wrong, it feels as if they are now being accused of things they had not done. Where is God in all this?

God, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where you seem far from us. We pray for rescue but you seem silent. Things get worse and we wonder if you care. Help us know that you are always with us, even when you don't answer us or rescue us when we want you to. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How long, O Lord?

How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing? Rescue me from their fierce attacks. Protect my life from these lions! Then I will thank you in front of the entire congregation. I will praise you before all the people. Psalm 35: 17-18 NLT

Okay, so God, why aren't you doing anything in this situation?

You know, if you just do something like, perhaps, completely coming to my rescue, removing all these obstacles from me and saving me from all these awful troubles.

Then, you know what, God? Then I will go to church and get up in front of everyone and praise you.


Gonna praise you in front of everyone.

But only if you save me first.

Just do something, God, and I'll praise you!

God, you want our praises. And we should praise you even if you don't answer our prayers. Even when you look on and do nothing. Even when we are not rescued, we should stand in front of the people and praise your name. We praise you, God! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, September 5, 2011


But they are glad now that I am in trouble; They gleefully join together against me. I am attacked by people I don't even know.; they hurl slander at me continually. They mock me with the worst kind of profanity, and they snarl at me. Psalm 35: 15-16 NLT

Is it worse to be attacked by strangers or friends?

Certainly friends who attack you can quickly hurt more because you thought they cared for you and valued you. But being attacked by strangers can feel like the world has become upside down.

Is it worse to be attacked verbally or physically?

In this psalm, these attacks are mostly verbal: slander, mockings, profanity, and snarls. Physical pain is real but sometimes it is easier or faster to heal from than verbal attacks. It may take years to recover from verbal abuse and there are no obvious wounds.

God, we call on your healing power on over our lives. Heal us, Lord, heal us from physical injuries as well as verbal ones. If we need help from a physician or a counselor, give us permission to seek the help we need. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Malicious Witnesses

Malicious witnesses testify against me. They accuse me of things I don't even know about. They repay me with evil for the good I do. I am sick with despair. Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I even fasted and prayed for them, but my prayers returned unanswered. I was sad, as though they were my friends or family, as if I were grieving for my own mother. Psalm 35: 11-14 NLT

They accuse me of things I don't even know about.

Yet, when they were ill I went and prayed for them and was sad like I was grieving for my own mother.

Goodness! These verses invoke a lot of emotion. The psalmist is being accused of things they could not have possibly done or even known about. And those who are accusing them are the ones they have been praying for and grieving with in solidarity. Sounds like some close friends have now become enemies.

Have you ever lost a friend over a disagreement? Did they wrongfully accuse you of something? Did it feel like they had turned on you and began making stuff up about you? Did you feel like the psalmist, sick with despair? What would it take now to “bury the hatchet” with that person or persons? Would you be willing to try?

God, you know what we despair over. You love us through all the ups and downs of our lives. Help us to know when to make peace with those we have considered enemies and fill us with the courage to do so. In Jesus' precious name we pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, September 3, 2011

God Looks On

Then I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be glad because he rescues me. I will praise him from the bottom of my heart: “Lord, who can compare with you? Who else rescues the weak and helpless from the strong? Who else protects the poor and needy from those who want to rob them?” Psalm 35: 9-10 NLT

I recently read an article on the internet about a man in Arkansas that decided to take aerial pictures of his home. While in the plane, he looked down and saw two men robbing his house! He called the police and a relative and even followed them in the plane, giving the police directions on how to find the fleeing robbers on a country road.

These verses reminded me of that story. In a way, I suppose that is how God follows us. God looks down and sees those who are helpless being taken advantage of and provides ways for them to be rescued. No one else sees or notices. But God has a great vantage point and can see even those things we and others want to keep hidden.

Then I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be glad because he rescues me. I will praise him from the bottom of my heart: “Lord, who can compare with you? Who else rescues the weak and helpless from the strong? Who else protects the poor and needy from those who want to rob them?” In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, September 2, 2011

Declaring War

O Lord, oppose those who oppose me. Declare war on those who are attacking me. Put on your armor, and take up your shield. Prepare for battle, and come to my aid. Lift up your spear and javelin and block the way of my enemies. Let me hear you say, “ I am your salvation!” Humiliate and disgrace those trying to kill me; turn them back in confusion. Blow them away like chaff in the wind – a wind sent by the angel of the Lord. Make their path dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them. Although I did them no wrong, they laid a trap for me. Although I did them no wrong, they dug a pit for me. So let sudden ruin overtake them! Let them be caught in the snare they set for me! Let them fall to destruction in the pit they dug for me. Psalm 35:1-8 NLT

With the use of repeating ideas in each verse, the psalmist comes across as extremely angry. God, fight for me, destroy my enemies, do harm to those to whom I had never done any wrong. May the same things they are doing to me be done to them. I want you to truly be my salvation! This is almost as if every dark and evil thing the psalmist can think of is being thrown at those who have hurt them. But the desire here is for God to do all these things for the one praying.

What battles do you want God to fight for you this day? What instructions or methods would you enthusiastically suggest God use? Who are your enemies that you have hurt you deeply?

God, we really want you to oppose those who oppose us. We can easily become angry and want you to lash out for us. Help us to keep calmer heads and that our tempers are held in check. May we remember that you are God and we are human beings. We will let you be you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Serve and Trust God

Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. Everyone who trusts in him will be freely pardoned. Psalm 34: 21-22 NLT

Serve God and trust God. Then you will be freely pardoned. But if you serve and trust God already, what are you being pardoned from? Small infractions? Or deeper sins? Can we be counted as righteous and yet not be perfect?

The answer would be yes. You do not have to be perfect to follow God. Serve God as best you can. Trust God with the big picture and even the small details. Confess when you do wrong and accept the forgiveness that God freely gives.

God, thank you for your forgiveness and your free pardon. In Jesus' name who made it all possible do I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims