Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Listen to my prayer, O God

Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. My enemies shout at me, making loud and wicked threats. They bring trouble on me, hunting me down in their anger. Psalm 55: 1-3 NLT

Are you surrounded by noise most of the day? Traffic noises, electronic media, phones, neighbors and co-workers, perhaps even your dishwasher can drown out even your own please and prayers for help.

This is what the psalmist seems to be going through. His enemies are shouting at him, threatening him. Their voices are full of anger and hatred. How can God hear the psalmist's own pleas through all this noise? The psalmist asks for God's attention through all the noise. Even the psalmist is raising his voice to “cry” to God. Is God even listening?

Perhaps all the noises in your own life are drowning out what you need to be saying to God. Can God hear you over all the other sounds around you? I suggest taking some time today to go to somewhere quiet – not even where your pet can beg from you – and just be with God. Take time to talk to God so that you are not just shouting your requests at God. Be still and listen to God as well.

God, we are surrounded by so much noise but your voice is being drowned out. So are our voices as well. Help me to find the quiet time and space to talk with you today. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

If you do this, I'll do that

I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you; I will praise your name, O Lord, for it is good. For you will rescue me from my troubles and help me to triumph over my enemies. Psalm 54: 6-7 NLT

On the one hand, this sounds like a bargain with God. If you will rescue me, God, I will go and take a sacrifice to the temple. God, if you will just defeat my enemies, I will give some extra money to the church this month. God, I promise, if you just get me out of this situation, I will be a better person.

Have you ever tried to make such a bargain with God? If so, how did it turn out? Did you keep your end of the bargain? Or did God have other plans for you?

If you have never bargained with God, why not? Have you ever made a vow, pledge or promise to God? Why or why not?

On the other hand, this sounds like a description of what is going to happen in the psalmist's life. I will go give a sacrifice and praise God's good name. God will rescue me from trouble and help me triumph over my enemies. Just a regular day in the life of the psalmist.

Does this sound like one of your regular days?

God, we should praise your name always for you are good and your mercy is everlasting. You are our God and you love us so much. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus. In his name we pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, November 28, 2011

God is my Helper

But God is my helper. The Lord is the one who keeps me alive! May my enemies' plans for evil be turned against them. Do as you promised and put an end to them. Psalm 54: 4-5 NLT

Even when you feel attacked, remember that God is your helper. God gives you life. God fulfills all of God's promises – not always what we want God to do but what God has promised to do.

God can turn our enemies plans and use them against them. We must be careful, however, that we don't become the enemy ourselves. God wants us to follow God, not just to get revenge. God needs our full commitment to God, not to just looking good in the world's eyes. God is not out to make sure we are always #1; that is God's position.

Before you ask for God's help, spend some time thinking about your own mistakes, your own inactions and your own sins. And ask for God's forgiveness.

God, we come asking for your help. But sometimes we need to first take a good look at our own hearts and minds. You are our helper. It is you who gives us life! Thank you! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rescue Me!

Come with great power, O God, and rescue me! Defend me with your might. O God, listen to my prayer. Pay attention to my plea. For strangers are attacking me; violent men are trying to kill me. They care nothing for God. Psalm 54: 1-3 NLT

What is your number one prayer request right at this moment?

Does it have anything to do with others or even satan attacking you? Do you feel like you are being targeted? Are you dying a bit inside each day because of the calamity surrounding you? What kind of help do you need from God? What actions do you think God will expect you to take? Or will God do it all for you?

From time to time in our lives we need God's defense. We ask for God's mighty protection. We plea for God's help. We need God's awesome power.

Let's spend some time today asking for God's help in our lives over big and small issues.

Come with great power, O God, and rescue me! Defend me with your might. O God, listen to my prayer. Pay attention to my plea. In Jesus' holy name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, November 26, 2011

O That Salvation Would Come!

Oh, that salvation would come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel! For when God restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice. Psalm 53: 6 NLT

Salvation is all about being rescued.

Have you received rescue from God? Have you been restored to God and God's people?

When that happened, did you feel joy? Were you moved to shout? Did you cry out with happiness?

Perhaps you need rescuing right now. Maybe you aren't sure of your own salvation. Or you are in a really bad spot at the moment.

Come, Lord Jesus, fill the hearts of your faithful. Rescue those who need your salvation. Restore us, O Lord, and we will rejoice! Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, November 25, 2011

Will we ever learn?

Will those who do evil never learn? They eat up my people like bread; they wouldn't think of praying to God. But then terror will grip them, terror like they have never known before. God will scatter the bones of your enemies. You will put them to shame, for God has rejected them. Psalm 53: 4-5 NLT

What an image: the evil ones who eat other people up like bread. Is this cannibalism? I suppose there are those who eat up other people. Perhaps they make money at the cost of other people's lives and/or livelihoods. I can think of many companies whose CEOs get bonuses while the workers get laid off. That is eating others up like bread. Or in other countries where certain religious or racial groups are killed and their homes and possessions taken by their enemies. Being eaten up like bread.

Do those who do such things, take advantage of others as though eating them, not pray? Do they even think about praying?

The psalmist says that God notices. Those who do such cannibalistic acts will be struck with terror that they have never known nor inflicted upon other people. When you totally reject God, God will turn and totally reject you.

God, help me to not eat others up like bread – not even a nibble. Convict me when I even get close to that kind of evil. May I always turn to you in prayer. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Big Picture

God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if there is even one with real understanding, one who seeks for God. But no, all have turned away from God; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not even one! Psalm 53: 2-3 NLT

How often has God looked down on the entire human race and seen no one who has real understanding or seeks God? If you think it is something for our modern times, think again.

These verses seem straight out of the beginning of the Noah's Ark story. Or the story of Lot leaving Sodom and Gomorrah. Or even the Samaritan village that wouldn't allow Jesus and his disciples to enter.

And how about the so-called Dark Ages? Or even the years prior to World War II? Time and again God must look down on the human race and we all seem pretty much turned away from God.

God, when you look down on the human race, do I seem to seek understanding? Am I seeking you? Or do you find me turned away and corrupt? Help me to seek you, to seen understanding, to do good and to turn from corruption. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Only a Fool

Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; no one does good! Psalm 53: 1 NLT

So, are atheists all evil? Do those who don't believe in God never do good? Are they all corrupt and their actions all pure evil?

Perhaps it is better to say that they are fools. But I am a fool as well. I am a fool for Christ. Yes, my beliefs as a Christian may look foolish to others. My Christian standards may seem hopelessly old fashioned. I may seem strange in my outlook. I understand my foolish appearance and accept it for the price of following Christ.

At the same time, I am to be reaching out to those who don't believe in God. I can't say that there are no corrupt atheists. Sometimes I have my doubts about those who call themselves Christian. But I am to be open to conversation, relationships and prayers for those who are foolish enough to say that there is no God. They may have rejected God but God has not rejected them. May their goodness flourish and their hearts be strangely warmed.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Past, Present and Future

I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will wait for your mercies in the presence of your people. Psalm 52: 9 NLT

These two sentences are the past, the present and the future.

The first sentence of this verse says that the psalmist will praise God forever for what God has done. Glorifying God for the past is what the praises to God are all about. Remembering God's mercies is the focus of the glorification.

The second part of the verse all about the future and a bit of the present as well. The psalmist waits for God's mercies. There is an expectation that God will do great things in the future. But the psalmist is not alone. Waiting with him or her is the congregation. The psalmist is in the midst of the present and in the midst of the other believers.

What has God done for you that you can praise God for right now?

What mercies are you looking for from God in the near future? Where can you go (physically or otherwise) to share in the waiting?

I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will wait for your mercies in the presence of your people. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, November 21, 2011

Like an Olive Tree

But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I trust in God's unfailing love forever and ever. Psalm 52: 8 NLT

When I think of this image of an olive tree, thriving in the house of God, I think of what I know about olive trees. I once heard of a tradition in Israel of planting an olive tree when your child is born. Olive trees take many years to mature. But when you plant one at the birth of a baby, when the person is an adult they will have a tree to depend upon for years to come.

Many of the olive trees that I have seen in the Holy Land are very old. Their roots are well-established. They are sturdy. They produce relaxing shade and good fruit. In other words, they are thriving. Even when an olive tree is cut down, it can grow back from the roots.

To be like an olive tree in God's house means to be well-rooted from birth. It also means that you won't be going away from God. Instead, you will continue to grow, producing viable fruit for years to come.

Trusting in God's unfailing love means that you will be well-rooted, sturdy, growing and producing fruit.

God, help us to trust you and your unfailing love forever and ever. May we be like an olive tree in your presence. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, November 20, 2011

God or Money?

The righteous will see it and be amazed. They will laugh and say, “Look what happens to mighty warriors who do not trust in God. They trust their wealth instead and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.” Psalm 52: 6-7 NLT

Look what happens to the mighty who trust in their wealth rather than in God.

Do you trust God as much as you do your money? Could you give all you own away and trust God to provide? Do you find yourself praying at times for more money when you should be praying for more trust in God's own provision?

When we trust our money, credit ratings, savings account and retirement income more than God we can quickly become more bold in wickedness. When we trust God we rely on God and move away from wickedness.

God, help us to rely on you, not on the income we bring into our households. May our trust in you turn us away from doing that which is wrong. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, November 19, 2011

You call yourself a hero?

You call yourself a hero, do you? Why boast about this crime of yours, you who have disgraced God's people? All day long you plot destruction. Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor; you're an expert at telling lies. You love evil more than good and lies more than truth. You love to say things that harm others, you liar! But God will strike you down once and for all. He will pull you from your home and drag you from the land of the living. Psalm 52: 1-5 NLT

So, how do you define a hero?

Is it someone who commits crimes? Does a hero disgrace those who follow God?

Would you say that a hero plots destruction or tells lies? Does a hero harm others by what he or she says (and enjoys it at the same time)?

Obviously not. So, why would someone call themselves a hero when they do these things? Are they disillusioned? Mentally ill? Incredibly full of themselves?

I happen to know many Christians who always make themselves into heroes, whether they fit the definition or not. It seems to me that they have put themselves rather than God into the center of life. Instead of praising and glorying God, they come off praising and glorifying themselves.

And I can't say I have not done the same. What about you?

God, you are the hero. I am not. Let me remember always your saving grace. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rebuilding the walls

Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will be pleased with worthy sacrifices and with our whole burnt offerings; and bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar. Psalm 51: 18-19 NLT

Reading these verses reminds me a of churches who are struggling to survive. What kinds of walls have been torn down in those places? How can they go about rebuilding their walls so that God will be pleased with their worship and offerings? Can they do it themselves or do they need to be asking God to do this for them?

What walls have been torn down in your own life? What do you need to rebuild in order to strengthen your relationship with God? What is preventing you? Who do you need to ask to help you in this task? Have you thought about going to God with your request?

God, help us to see where we need help in rebuilding our own walls. May we rebuild in order to strengthen our relationship with you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, November 17, 2011

God wants Repentance

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me – now let me rejoice. Don't keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don't take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to sinners, and they will return to you. Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. Unseal my lips, O Lord, that I may praise you. You would not be pleased with sacrifices, or I would bring them. If I brought you a burnt offering, you would not accept it. The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51: 7-17 NLT

The psalmist wants God to wipe away all of their sins so that the psalmist is renewed and restored to God.

In return, the psalmist promises to go to other sinners and teach what it means to be a follower of God. This will in turn cause the other sinners to repent.

So, this isn't just a personal request for forgiveness but a communal request. If one person asks God to turn them around, that person will help others to do the same.

God doesn't want offerings or sacrifices. God wants repentance.

Will you offer yours today?

Unseal my lips, O Lord, that I may praise you. You would not be pleased with sacrifices, or I would bring them. If I brought you a burnt offering, you would not accept it. The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Teach me to be wise

For I was born a sinner – yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you deserve honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being. Psalm 51: 5-6 NLT

Two things are important in these verses.

The first is that none of us is free from being a sinner. I don't believe in the “conceived in sin” theology as totally true. God created us the way we are and I don't believe he created us as sinners. I think we sin later on. However, I do believe that there is not one among humans who never sinned. Perhaps we sin rather than Sin. But we are not free from sin.

The second is important idea is that we are not doomed forever because of sin. If we are honest with God, that is all God wants. Tell God the truth when you make mistakes, hurt others, do something or don't do something. Never try to sugar coat our behavior to God nor act like it doesn't matter to God. Be honest with God from our heart, our inmost being. Then we shall be wise.

God, teach me to be wise. May I admit my mistakes from my heart. May I be totally honest with you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Have Mercy

Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my shameful deeds – they haunt me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgement against me is just. Psalm 51: 1-4 NLT

My freshman high school English teacher once said that she would love to meet the person who, if caught speeding, would freely admit to the police that they had been doing wrong and accept the consequences of their actions without making excuses or bursting into tears.

I have to admit I am not one of those people.

But here God wants us to do this every thing: admit our mistakes and accept the consequences.

God wants us to face up to our sins, our guilt, our shameful deeds and our evil actions. We in turn ask God to blot out our sins and make us guilt free. We admit that we have only sinned against God and accept God's punishment.

Are you ready?

Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my shameful deeds – they haunt me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgement against me is just. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, November 14, 2011

Giving Thanks to God

“But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23 NLT

I have never thought of giving thanks as keeping with God's path. But I have learned that being appreciative of others helps my relationship with them.

Take my marriage, for example. I have recently discovered how wonderful my spouse is. Only took 18 years. But I am not just thinking my spouse is wonderful but noticing all the great things he does around the house. And telling him thanks. When you thank someone you become less picky about the minor things. You begin to notice more and more great things they are doing. This means you will be doing more thanking.

The same thing is happening to me at church. When I tell someone thanks or send them a thank you note, I notice more and more what they and other people are doing around the church. I am less likely to criticize and more likely to be appreciative.

Giving thanks to God works the same way. We begin to notice more and more what God is doing in our
lives. We stray less and less from God's path. We become more aware of God's own plan for salvation.

God, help me to give you thanks as my greatest sacrifice. May our relationship become stronger as I follow your will for my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Can you ignore God?

Repent, all of you who ignore me, or I will tear you apart, and no one will help you. Psalm 50: 22 NLT

Can you ignore God?

I know I have done it. Just as I learned to ignore my parents on occasion while a teen/college aged. Sometimes I know what God wants me to do. And I do the opposite or don't pay God any attention.

Now my reasons are varied and some of them are quite legitimate. Sometimes I am scared (lack of trusting God), sometimes I am busy (making my own schedule and not following God's plans), while other times I am not trained/capable/prepared (God will provide a way). Obviously, I am ignoring God while straying from God. Perhaps I know I have strayed in some way and hope by tuning God out that things will work out.

Sometimes they end in disaster. And no one will help me.

But God wants us to repent. That is the focus of this verse. Repent now and stop ignoring God.

God, I repent of my wickedness and give you my full attention. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Don't pretend to obey God

But God says to the wicked: “Recite my laws no longer, and don't pretend that you obey me. For you refuse my discipline and treat my laws like trash. When you see a thief, you help him, and you spend your time with adulterers. Your mouths are filled with wickedness, and your tongues are full of lies. You sit around and slander a brother – your own mother's son. While you did all this I was silent, and you thought I didn't care. But now I will rebuke you, listing all my charges against you.” Psalm 50: 16-21 NLT

I was talking recently to another Christian whose son used to go to this terrific optional service for teens and young adults here in town. But she said that she had to prevent him from going because of all the drugs that were being sold and consumed in the parking lot.

The parking lot.

Of the place of worship.

Did the kids not get anything from attending?

But, who am I to judge? Who are you? How many times have we spoken ill of someone else in the church while standing in the parking lot? Gee, how many “meetings” have we attended after the meeting while standing around our cars? And how many good church folks have I found out were having affairs with one another? Not to mention the things teens have done around my own church.

I suppose we think God isn't watching or doesn't' care because we don't usually get reprimanded forthis type of behavior. But God does see. God does know. And God will rebuke us.

Now is the time to take a good look at our own behavior and make sure we are not counted among the wicked.

God, so many times we think of the wicked as those who don't attend church. But your word reminds us that the wicked may appear to be obeying you when they are not really. Help us to monitor our own behavior and convict us when we stray. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, November 11, 2011

I am God, Your God!

“O my people, listen as I speak. Here are my charges against you, O Israel: I am God, your God! I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offerings you constantly bring to my altar. But I want no more bulls from your barns; I want no more goats from your pens. For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. Every bird of the mountains and all the animals of the field belong to me. If I were hungry, I would not mention it to you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. I don't need the bulls you sacrifice, I don't need the blood of goats. What I want instead is your true thanks to God; I want you to fulfill your vows to the Most High. Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” Psalm 50: 7-15 NLT

I don't have anything against the animals that you are killing on the altar. But I have enough of that. In fact, all animals are mine. If I were hungry, would I even have to mention it to you or depend on you? What I want instead is true thankfulness from you. Fulfill to me the things you have promised to do. Trust me. I will rescue you and you will give me glory, not sacrifices.

I don't have anything against your tithe or your offering. But I have enough of that. In fact, all the world's mine in the first place. Would I tell you if I needed something or would it just happen? I want instead your thanks, your trust, your promises and vows fulfilled. Then, when you are in trouble I will save you and you will give me glory.

God, may we be truly thankful, trust in you and give you glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, November 10, 2011

God has Spoken

The mighty God, the Lord, has spoken; he has summoned all humanity from east to west! From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines In glorious radiance. Our God approaches with the noise of thunder. Fire devours everything in his way, and a great storm rages around him. Heaven and earth will be his witnesses as he judges his people: “Bring my faithful people to me – those who made a covenant with me by giving sacrifices.” Then let the heavens proclaim his justice, for God himself will be the judge. Psalm 50: 1-6 NLT

I am trying to picture this scene: God has summoned all of humanity. God is ready to judge all of them. God shines in great radiance. God makes the noise of a great storm. Fire marks God's path. God asks for those who have been following his covenant by making sacrifices. All of the sky proclaims God's justice.

I am kind of scared at this point. I a going to be judged. Will I pass? Make the mark? Will God see something in me or an action I have done (or haven't done) that will cause God to punish me? How faithful have I been?

How faithful have you been? What will God see when you come before his throne?

All I can say is that I throw myself on the mercy of God through Jesus Christ. May Christ's blood and atonement cover my many sins. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Don't Be Dismayed

So don't be dismayed when the wicked grow rich, and their homes become ever more splendid. For when they die, they carry nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave. In this life they consider themselves fortunate, and the world loudly applauds their success. But they will die like all others before them and never again see the light of day. People who boast of their wealth don't understand that they will die like the animals. Psalm 49: 16-20 NLT

I hate getting the magazines from two of my Alma Maters: my college and graduate schools. The reason is those long lists of people from the same schools who have accomplished great things. Usually they have been promoted to some great position in their company or won some prestigious award. Often they are my age or younger.

Then there is the magazine from my sorority that showcases those alums who have given hours and hours for volunteer work. Many of them have also been lauded for their contributions to society. They often are married, work and have children. Just like me. Yet, they have given so much of themselves to charitable organizations and really good causes.

My name never appears in any of these lists.

What then, shall I boast in?

The good news is that I can boast in what Christ has done for me. There won't be an article written up about me. You won't see me in an Alumnae Blurb. But I know what Christ has done. And I am not afraid to share it with others.

God we know what Christ has done for us. That is what we should all boast in. Help us to stop being jealous of those other people who seem so successful and wealthy. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

God will redeem my life

Like sheep, they are led to the grave, where death will be their shepherd. In the morning the godly will rule over them. Their bodies will rot in the grave, far from their grand estates. But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of death. Psalm 49: 14-15 NLT

But as for me, God will redeem my life.

Not power.

Not fame.

Not wealth.

Not success or prestige.


God redeems us.

God snatches us from the power of death through the sacrifice and resurrection of his own son, Jesus.

Grand estates don't matter in the big picture.

God matters in the big picture.

God, thank you for redeeming me. Help me to stop being jealous of those who have tremendous wealth and help me to appreciate what you have given me. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, November 7, 2011

Death is the great Equalizer

Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind. The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever; they may name their estates after themselves, but they leave their wealth to others. They will not last long despite their riches – they will die like the animals. This is the fate of fools, though they will be remembered as being so wise. Psalm 49: 10-13 NLT

The psalm opened saying that the psalmist himself was very wise. Here he admits that even the wise who are wealthy cannot escape death. He seems to suggest that those who are wealthy and wise sometimes name their estates after themselves, giving their money to others as though they are going to live forever through them. But, like animals, no money will save them from death. They will die like all living creatures. They will die like fools even though they are remembered to be wise.

Death is the great equalizer.

Think of someone that you just cannot stand, for whatever reason. Don't dwell on what they have done to you or against you. Just picture them in your head. Now think about this: you and that other person will someday die. Is that other person a believer? What are you going to do when you see them in God's presence? Will they still be the same person you can't stand? And if they aren't a believer, what kind of personal gripe have you had that has prevented you from trying to share the gospel with them? Have you ever prayed for their salvation?

God, sometimes we consider ourselves wise because we believe in you. But that is not what you want from us. You want us to share the gospel and to forgive others as you have forgiven us. Forgive us for thinking of ourselves more than we should. Help us to reach out, even to those we cannot stand. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims


Sunday, November 6, 2011

You can't take it with you

Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, everyone in the world! High and low, rich and poor – listen! For my words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight. I listened carefully to many proverbs and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp. There is no need to fear when times of trouble come, when enemies are surrounding me. They trust in their wealth and boast of their riches. Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God. Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave. Psalm 49: 1-8 NLT

Death is the great equalizer.

The psalmist wants us to hear that wealth will not save you from death. Therefore, we should not be afraid of enemies who boast in wealth's power. We have something far greater: the power of the Lord our God.

Money will not buy redemption. Sure, you can get medical treatments to help you live a bit longer or look a bit younger. But money will not keep death away.

In fact, money won't get you saved, either. Belief in and following Jesus is what you need no matter the size of your paycheck.

Using money as a means to control others cannot be used to control death – or God.

God, we boast about what we have. We show others our stuff. We think we can control our lives with money and sometimes we think we can control others with money. But it is only you who matter. Your love is worth more than all the gold in the world. Money cannot buy our redemption: Jesus has already paid the price for us. In his name we pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Share your Story

O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple. As your name deserves, O God, you will be praised to the ends of the earth. Your strong right hand is filled with victory. Let the people on Mount Zion rejoice. Let the towns of Judah be glad, for your judgments are just. Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers. Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations. For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will be our guide until we die. Psalm 48: 9-14 NLT

How will you describe your life of faith to future generations? Do you tell any children right now of how you came to Christ? What details would be important for folks to know in the future? What significant things has God done in your life that would witness to others who want to know more about Jesus?

We all tend to think that our story is not important or has very little meaning in the big picture. But if we can't share our story with others, how are nonbelievers going to believe that God matters? Will they too see themselves as insignificant? Will they think they have to have a Road to Damascus experience to become a believers? If future generations of believers don't hear your story, then there may be fewer future generations.

Share your stories of your faith: describe your own towers, walls, citadels and the God who is your God forever, guiding our lives and our lives after death.

God, help all who read this devotional to share their faith with others. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, November 4, 2011

How great is my place of worship!

Sorry I was late in posting today!

How great is the Lord, and how much we should praise him in the city of our God, which is on this holy mountain!It is magnificent in elevation – the whole earth rejoices to see it! Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King! God himself is in Jerusalem's towers. He reveals himself as her defender. The kings of the earth joined forces and advanced against the city. But when they saw it, they were stunned; they were terrified and ran away. They were gripped with terror, like a woman writhing in the pain of childbirth or like the mighty ships of Tarshish being shattered by a powerful east wind. We had heard of the city's glory, but now we have seen it ourselves-- the city of the Lord Almighty. It is the city of our God; he will make it safe forever. Psalm 48:1-8 NLT

If you had to describe your place of worship, what would you say?

Would you point out what God has done? The amount of people it holds for worship? Would you find yourself talking about the buildings or physical plant or would you focus on the people? If you talk about the buildings, how are they like God? Does just looking at your place of worship inspire terror of those who are not of God? Do you feel like God will make this place of worship safe forever?

Of course, we all know that Jerusalem and God's holy temple were not kept safe forever – at least physically. God had a different temple in mind: Jesus Christ. The focus went from the building to the person of Christ.  And many of us know that the power of our place of worship is not in the physical plant but in the people filled with the Holy Spirit. Certainly, we don't want people to look upon our church people in fear; in awe perhaps, but not in terror.

Thank you, God, for providing a place for me to worship. Thank you most of all that you gave your only son as our Temple that I can worship you in Spirit and in truth wherever I am. In his name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, November 3, 2011

God is King

For God is the King over all the earth. Praise him with a psalm! God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne. The rulers of the world have gathered together. They join us in praising the God of Abraham. For all the kings of the earth belong to God. He is highly honored everywhere. Psalm 47: 7-9 NLT

In a recent sermon series in my church, we have talked a great deal about how God is our sovereign Lord. In other words, God is our King. So, we should treat God as such. In fact, God is King over all of creation. God is not just king inside our sanctuaries.

How infrequently we fail to join with other believers in giving God praise! We would rather worship God in private, behind closed doors. We don't want to offend anyone with our praise to God.

But if we really and truly believe that God is King, we should be giving him praise and honor all the time, not just one hour on Sunday. The psalmist is here to remind us of God's sovereignty and our allegiance.

God, you are the King over all the earth. I praise you with this psalm! In Jesus' holy name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Praise God!

God has ascended with a mighty shout. The Lord has ascended with trumpets blaring. Sing praise to God, sing praises; sing praise to our King, sing praises! Psalm 47: 5-6 NLT

I enjoy singing, especially singing in church. The funny thing about me is that I enjoy singing the songs out of the hymnal, singing special choir music, singing gospel-style songs and singing contemporary Christian rock music. I love it all!

The good thing is that, no matter your preferred type of music or song, it is all about praise. We praise God when we sing – no matter how good our voices are. God is our king, God is worthy to be praised. Even if you don't like that particular song it is better to go beyond that and remember who you are singing to: God.

And God wants to hear your praises to him. After all, God has ascended with shouts and music. We need to worship and bow down to the Lord our maker.

God, help us to sing your praises in church, around the house and wherever we go. May we overlook the type of music or the song and remember to whom we are singing. You are worthy and almighty! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Clap your hands!

Come, everyone, and clap your hands for joy! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the Lord Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth. He subdues the nations before us, putting our enemies beneath our feet. He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance, the proud possession of Jacob's descendants, whom he loves. Psalm 47 1-4 NLT

Growing up, I always understood from my mother that it was rude to clap your hands in church. So, even if the rest of the congregation was clapping, I followed my mother's example and never did. I guess that was to indicate that we were in worship not in a performance.

In my current church, we clap for various reasons but mostly to celebrate with someone who brings their praises to the congregation. It is a sign of happiness, of joy. We join in with that individual or family in their praises. Not only that, if we like a song, we feel comfortable joining in and clapping. It is a way to express praise.

The psalmist tells us that we should clap our hands with joy (sorry, Momma). We should be shouting to God in worship (tell that to us Caucasian Methodists). We aren't just being noisy or rude.

The reason is that God is king over the earth. God has subdued all the forces of evil, putting them beneath our feet. God has given us a grand inheritance, even greater than the Promised Land: eternal life.

God, you are awesome and you love us. We give you thanks and praise with shouts and clapping of hands. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims