Saturday, March 31, 2012

God in a Drunken Stupor

Then the Lord rose up as thought waking from sleep,like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor. He routed his enemies and sent them to eternal shame. But he rejected Joseph's descendants; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim. He chose instead the tribe of Judah, and Mount Zion, which he loved. There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens, as solid and enduring as the earth. Psalm 78: 65-69 NLT

God waking up as from a drunken stupor? Routing his enemies while suffering from hangover? Choosing a new favorite son to carry on the family business?

What kind of God is this? Would God really be that far gone to be considered drunk? Would God go to sleep on us and get up in a foul mood? Would God abandon us for someone else?

I think the key verse in this passage is that God ends up building God's sanctuary “as high as the heavens and as solid and enduring as the earth.” The idea seems to be that when God did set out to rebuild, God made it stronger.

I wonder if that is what happened with allowing Jesus to die on the cross. With the resurrection, God made Jesus stronger and revoked the power of death on all who believed.

God, help me to wake up from the stupor I am in. May I rebuild my life in the image of the one who loves me. In His name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, March 30, 2012

How Angry Can God Get?

They turned back and were faithless as their parents. They were as undependable as a crooked bow. They angered God by building shrines to other gods; they made him jealous with their idols. When God heard them, he was very angry, and he completely rejected Israel. Then he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh, the Tabernacle where he had lived among the people. He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured; he surrendered his glory into enemy hands. He gave his people over to be butchered by the sword, because he was so angry with his own people – his special possession. Their young men were killed by fire; their young women died before singing their wedding songs. Their priests were slaughtered, and their widows could not mourn their deaths. Psalm 78: 57-64 NLT

How angry does God have to be before he forsakes us?

In the books of Judges and I Samuel, God gets so jealous and angry with God's people. God finally gives up and allows his holy dwelling to be desecrated and the Ark to be captured. God allowed the people to be killed. This was not just a whim on God's part. God had tried again and again to allow the people to stay on the right path, but they never did. They were just like the previous generation in the desert, forever complaining and never doing as God asked.

What kinds of behavior do you see yourself doing as previous generations in your family? Is history repeating itself? Or have you broken the mold and done your faith journey differently? In your life, have you ever felt you had truly angered God? What kind of things happened to make you think that?

God, we don't want you to be angry at us so that your forsake us entirely. We tend to turn back and be as faithless as previous generations. May we turn around to you and follow where you lead now and always. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Like a Flock of Sheep

But he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely through the wilderness. He kept them safe so they were not afraid; but the sea covered their enemies. He brought them to the border of his holy land, to this land of hills he had won for them. He drove out the nations before them; he gave them their inheritance by lot. He settled the tribes of Israel into their homes. But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High. They did not obey his laws. Psalm 78: 52-56 NLT

The imagery of God as our shepherd is found throughout the bible. It must also be a comforting image because the 23rd Psalm is often read at funerals. But what does this imagery really mean for us?

It means we are dumb animals. We are just looking for something to eat or drink. We are easily frightened and not very obedient. We tend to know our shepherd's commands, however, and don't easily follow one who is not recognized as our shepherd. But if we stray from the flock, we are pretty much doomed. We can't find our own grass or water. We can be prey to many wild predators as well as in danger from the pitfalls of the land itself.

In Psalm 78, the imagery of God leading God's people as though they are sheep is very true. The people had just been released from slavery and had absolutely no idea of where they were going. Yet, even though God kept them safe, they still rebelled and tested God. They were still dumb animals.

God, help me to act more like your follower than just a dumb animal. I know I have tested you, failed to follow your laws and rebelled. Forgive me. Continue to have mercy on me and guide me. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What has God done for you?

They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the plain of Zoan. For he turned their rivers into blood, so no one could drink from the streams. He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them and hordes of frogs to ruin them. He gave their crops to caterpillars; their harvest was consumed by locusts. He destroyed their grapevines with hail and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet. He abandoned their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightening. He loosed on them his fierce anger -- all his fury, rage and hostility. He dispatched against them a band of destroying angels. He turned his anger against them; he did not spare the Egyptians' lives but ravaged them with the plague. He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family, the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt. Psalm 78: 43-51 NLT

In just a few verses, we have the whole story of God convincing Pharaoh to let his people go. I had not realized how God hit the Egyptians' economy, not just providing some interesting supernatural phenomenon. God destroyed their crops and livestock as well as removing their drinking water and their food. Then God attacked their very bodies, ending with the deaths of the firstborn males. The future of the Egyptians – from what they would be eating, to how they would be sustaining themselves in the world market, to the future of their families – was all put into jeopardy. And the people of God forgot about all this?

What have you forgotten that God has done for you?

God, help us to have good memory of what you have done for us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Testing God

Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland. Again and again they tested God's patience and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power and how he rescued them from their enemies. Psalm 78: 40-42 NLT

The Israelites tested God again and again in the wilderness. God was grieved again and again. Their memory was short. They soon forgot that God had saved them from being slaves. They forgot that God made sure they arrived at the desert. They forgot that God provided water, bread and meat when there was nothing to be had in the wasteland. They forgot that God extended grace rather than anger even when they had not obeyed or trusted God. They forgot about God's power.

How many times do I test God? How often do I forget all God has done for me? Even if the gift of Jesus Christ was all God had done for me, I still come out a winner. Yet, God has done much more. And still I feel myself pulling away from God. My trust is lacking. I speak about trusting God yet spend my time worrying rather than praying.

God, refresh my memory when I worry. Remind me of your love and faithfulness when I am experiencing doubt and fear. May I stop testing your patience. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lip Service

But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues. Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant. Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back his anger and did not unleash his fury! For he remembered that they were merely mortal, gone like the breath of wind that never returns. Psalm 78: 36-39 NLT

Lip service! How often have I seen this in the churches I have served! You honor me with your lips but your hearts are far from me, says God. The same people who confess Jesus as their Lord and saviour with the Apostles Creed on Sunday morning are the same back-stabbing business people you can't stand in your own workplace.

Yet, God still loves them. And God still loves me, too.

Even when we are disloyal, even when we break the covenant, God still forgives our sins, God still is merciful. God holds back his anger. God remembers that we are human.

IN the communion service, we say that even while we were yet sinners, God gave us Jesus Christ. That proves God's love for us.

It isn't the love when we are good that is true love. It is the love when we are bad that is true.

God, thank you for loving us when we are loyal and when we are sinful. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Taking God Seriously

When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously. Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer. Psalm 78: 34-35 NLT

Then they took God seriously.

When did you first take God seriously? Did something happen in your life to cause your relationship with God to change? Was it a tragedy (at least for you)? What did you do to repent? Did you say a prayer or confess your sins to another person? How did God appear to be a redeemer? How did God save you? Were there specific things that God saved you from?

God wants to be taken seriously. Sometimes it takes a serious happenstance in our own lives for us to finally understand this. God wants to always be our rock and our redeemer. God wants our trust 100% of our lives. God desires, God craves our right relationship with him.

Yet, we spend a great deal of time flirting with God rather than taking God seriously. We play with God rather than hold fast to God. We forget God's saving actions in Christ Jesus. Now is the time to remember and to seek him.

God, we seek you. You are our rock and our redeemer. We love you. We seriously love you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Despite his wonders

But before they satisfied their craving, while the meat was still in their mouths, the anger of God rose against them, and he killed their strongest men. He struck down the finest of Israel's young men. But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders they refused to trust him. So he ended their lives in failure,their years in terror. Psalm 78: 30-33 NLT

God tries generosity. The people still sin.

God tries punishment. The people still sin.

God tries wonders and miracles. The people still sin.

God gives up and allows the people to live their lives in failure and terror. God tried. Then God decides to begin again with the next generation.

Do you think God has given up with your generation? Why or why not? Is there hope for future generations? Do you think trust in God will increase in the future? Why? Why not?

God, we can't seem to do anything right. We sin, we crave, we petition, we don't listen, we ignore the helpless, we turn our backs on the plight of those who have little, we receive your blessings and keep on with the same behavior. Have you given up on us? Do you see more hope in future generations? Forgive us, we pray. May we be harbingers of your hope both now and in the future. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, March 23, 2012

What do you crave?

They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold. He released the east wind in the heavens and guided the south wind by his mighty power. He rained down meat as thick as dust – birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore! He caused the birds to fall within their camp and all around their tents. The people ate their fill. He gave them what they craved. Psalm 78: 25-29 NLT

What do you crave?

I am writing this devotional during Lent in which I have given up chocolate. I therefore crave chocolate. I crave chocolate anything – mocha lattes, ice cream, chocolate bars, brownies, German chocolate cake, death by chocolate, and chocolate chip cookies. The problem seems to be that I have tried to substitute other deserts for this chocolate but it does not have the same effect. I only crave chocolate.

God responded to what the rebelling people desired by providing so much of it that they were almost sick. He rained down meat as think as dust and as plentiful as the sand on the seashore! I think this was a bit sarcastic on God's part but also quite effective. It was almost as if God says: “So you think I can't provide meant? Well, here's an answer to that! I can not only provide meat but I will provide it until you are sick of it. Your cravings will be so far gone that you will wish you had not thought about meat.”

How will God respond to your cravings? Do you trust that he will give you what you crave?

God, I trust that you will meet my needs and fulfill the desires of my heart. Help my unbelief! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, March 22, 2012

God was Furious

When the Lord heard them, he was furious. The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, his anger rose against Israel, for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them. But he commanded the skies to open; he opened the doors of heaven. He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven. Psalm 78: 21-24 NLT

God was angry.

So what did God do?

God provided just what the people didn't think God could give them. Imagine what God would have done if the people had not rebelled but had remained faithful!

Has God ever been angry at you? How would you know? In fact, if God is this generous to us when he is angry, what would God's generosity to be like when God is pleased with us?

What steps can you take this very day to make it up to God? How can you please God more and more in your life?

God, have you been angry with me? Forgive me. Help me to be more in step with you and closer to you each day. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Limiting God

Yet they kept on sinning against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved. They even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can't give us food in the wilderness. Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can't give his people bread and meat.” Psalm 78: 17-20 NLT

Isn't this the biggest self-pity party ever: they demanded foods they crave – “God can't give us food in the wilderness. Yes, he can do the water thing but bread and meat, forget it!”

Let's limit God, shall we?

God may be able to lead me to my future spouse but he can't help us to find a place to live. God can answer our prayer for children but can't provide a way to give them a decent education. God can help me when I've lost my job but he can't heal our broken marriage. God can get me through this difficult disease but he can't do anything about my relationship with my children/parents. God can help me make it to retirement but he can't do anything to make sure my relatives don't eat up my savings.

God provided the water. God also provided meat and bread. Yet, the people continue to sin and rebel.

Where are you limiting God in your life?

God, forgive me when I try to limit what you can do in my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


For he divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up like walls! In the daytime he led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire. He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a gushing spring. He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river! Psalm 78: 13-16 NLT

Here is an impossible scene: water standing up like walls. And here is another: being led by a cloud in the day and by a pillar of fire by night. Yet another is rocks being split open to produce running water in the middle of a desert.

Think about your life. What impossible or improbable things have happened to you or ones close to you? Can you attribute these to God? Why or why not?

The psalm gives us pictures of the impossible and gives God all the credit. Perhaps with our scientific world view, we don't see the impossible as much anymore. Even coincidences have become good karma or streaks of good luck.

Open yourself to the miracles that God continues to do in your life in in the lives of those around you. Try to see with the eyes of the psalmist.

God, open my eyes to your impossible activities in the world today. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, March 19, 2012

Do you remember?

The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and fled on the day of battle. They did not keep God's covenant and refused to live by his instructions. They forgot what he had done – the great wonders he had shown them, the miracles he did for their ancestors on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt. Psalm 78: 9-12 NLT

How good is your memory? Do you recall the times when God came to your rescue, answered prayer, gave you peace, blessed your family, guided you through hard times and provided for your needs? Do you find yourself more trusting now than in the past? Or do you feel that your trust level is about the same? One way to tell is to see if your prayers sound like those you have prayed before. If you keep on praying for the same kind of things again and again, it is possible that you have forgotten what God has done.

The psalmist speaks of the warriors who flee in battle, not trusting God for their victory even though they have a whole story of how God saved them by miraculous means. This is because they have not been keeping the commandments or following God's instructions.

Do you see yourself as standing tall or fleeing when the enemy approaches? Keep remembering what God has done for you in the past and trust God with your future.

God, I remember all the things you have done for your people and for me specifically. May I stand tall when the enemy approaches. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Parenting Helps

For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them – even the children not yet born – and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors – stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. Psalm 78: 5-8 NLT

Do you teenage or grown have children? Would any of these adjectives describe them: stubborn, rebellious, unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. Why do you think they are like that? Is it simply the time of life, the culture they are in or perhaps your own failings as a parent?

Psalm 78 seems to suggest poor parenting.

This isn't Dr. Phil's advice, however. This is the advice of the faithful. The followers of God are instructed by God to tell their children the story of their faith. This was so that their children would tell the next generation and so on. If the faithful did not do this, then future children would be like those who came before Abram.

How well have we told the stories of the faith to our children? I am not talking Sunday school or VBS here. We – you and I – are responsible for telling our children. This is not the responsibility of our community of faith. They will only reinforce what our children and grandchildren have learned at home.

Have you told your children the stories of the faith? How about the stories of your own faith? It is never too late.

God, help me to share my faith stories with the next generation so that they can share the stories to future generations. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, March 17, 2012


O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past – stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. Psalm 78: 1-4 NLT

Are you a good listener?

I have been told I listen well. But I also speak well. Those two don't go together, do they? Many times I am speaking when I should be listening. My time with God is no exception.

When you spend time in your devotional or prayer time, how much of it is reading devotionals like this one? How much of that time is spent talking to God? And how much time do you spend listening?

I have to admit, I don't spend as much time as I should. Prayer should be a conversation between us and God. Yet, we are guilty of simply having monologues with God. If you have ever been around someone who talks nonstop and never lets you get a word in edgewise, you get an idea of how God feels. God has things to say to us and we aren't listening.

Yet, the psalmist wants us to listen – to hear what God has done. Spend at least one minute right now in listening to God.

God, help me to listen.                                                                                  Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Dangerous Path

When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths. The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightening flashed. Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook. Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters – a pathway no one knew was there! You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds. Psalm 77: 16-20 NLT

The psalm is speaking of the rescue of the Israelites from Egypt. We might be accustomed to hearing of the parting of the Red Sea and take it for granted. Yet, this verse puts it in a new perspective: the parting of the Red Sea was marking God's path for God's people. This was a path through dangerous territory. This was a path no one else could sea. The path was surrounded by dangers on both sides and evil at their heels.

God's way through was not a comfortable one nor was it expected. No one but God could have arranged the way out of their predicament. In fact, no one could even see where exactly God was leading.

From your own perspective, how often does God's road lead through the sea? Are you now in a place with danger at your heels? Do you see no way out for yourself? God wants to provide a way for you but it will be a road no one can see. God has an escape route planned but it is going to appear even worse than what is following you. Yet, this is God's pathway. Are you willing to trust and take the first step?

God, your road often leads to the sea, through mighty waters. Your pathway is not one I nor anyone else can see. Help me to stick to your road and follow your lead. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Changing our Tune

And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. O God your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrated your awesome power among the nations. By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Psalm 77: 10-15 NLT

The psalmist of Psalm 77 sure has changed his tune.

The psalm began with a panicked look at unanwered prayers. Perhaps God just didn't answer them right away – like the psalmist wanted. When he began to recall all that God had done in his life, he changed his tune.

The God who had his hand against him became the God of great wonders.

The God who had slammed the door on compassion became the redeemer of God's people.

The God who stopped being kind demonstrated his awesome power among the nations.

Perhaps it is time to change your tune, as well.

O God, your ways are holy! I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. You are awesome, indeed. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Where is God

You don't let me sleep. I am too distressed to pray! I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Psalm 77: 4-9 NLT

Have you ever been too distressed to pray? I certainly have! In fact,when I look at my prayer life I am often amazed at the times when I don't pray – even when I have seen the power of answered prayer in my life time and again. It is certainly easier to dwell on those times rather than focus on what needs I must bring to the Lord now. I get caught up in worry and then my stress level goes up even more. I don't ask but dwell.

Then I wonder where God has gone. Where is his unfailing love? Where are his promises? Where is the graciousness of God? What happened to God's compassion?

Perhaps I need to return to singing God's praises. Even thought the prayers have not been answered, I can rest assured that God does have an answer and I can give praises for them. I dont' have to wait until all the prayers are heard. I can praise God now.

God, I praise you for all the answers you have for my prayers – even for those that will remain unanswered for purposes only you know. You love me with an unfailing love, showing compassion andgrace. I thank you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Cry Out to God

I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Psalm 77:1-3 NLT

Do you feel as though God sometimes doesn't hear your prayers? Have you ever prayed and prayed for something, yet God never answered you?

Perhaps in your time with God you also felt empty or abandoned. Some people call such a feeling, “The dark night of the soul.” I know some truly godly people who have been through such a time. But they never stopped trying to reach God, calling out to him. One such person I know played her flute when words seemed empty and hopeless. Her music became her prayer and served as an anchor to keep her in God's presence.

If you ever find yourself in such a place, I do recommend going to a counselor to make sure you are not suffering from depression. I have known that to happen to people when they are depressed. And depression is not always a life-long illness. Medicine can help balance all the hormones in your body and help you to be more open to God's presence.

But this can happen to you even when you are not suffering from depression. I think this would be an excellent psalm to pray again and again if you feel as though God is absent from your life.

God, sometimes we cry out to you but hear no response. We feel as though we have been abandoned. If we are suffering from depression, move us to seek help. If we must go through this time of spiritual searching, do not be far from us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, March 12, 2012

Keeping a Promise

Make vows to the Lord your God, and keep them. Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One. For he breaks the pride of princes, and the kings of the earth fear him. Psalm 76: 11-12 NLT

In the time of the psalmist, it was customary to make vows to God, often taking on physical characteristics to indicate that a vow was being carried out. Think of Paul's shaving his head in Acts in order to fulfill a vow. Vows were not only serious business but a way of life for the faithful. There were even rules that said if a woman's husband or father disagreed with her vow, she would be released from it. Part of the vow was to bring an offering or tribute to God at the Temple.

Today, we don't take such vows as a rule. But we do tend to make promises.

The psalmist reminds us that if you promise God that you will do something, then do it.

Sounds simple, right?

Yet, how many times have we promised ourselves that we would not do something and found ourselves doing it anyway? How many times have we promised our loved ones something but later discovered we had forgotten?

How much better do you think we will be with promises to God?

God, you are the Awesome One. We make our promises to you. May we always fulfill them. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, March 11, 2012


No wonder you are greatly feared! Who can stand before you when your anger explodes? From heaven you sentenced your enemies; the earth trembled and stood silent before you. You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. Human defiance only enhances your glory, for you use it as a weapon. Psalm 76: 7-10 NLT

My son probably could have written the first two sentences in speaking about me, his mother. No wonder you are greatly feared! Who can stand before you when your anger explodes?

And it is true, I do have an awful temper. And it can be made worse if I am tired, hurt or even at that time of the month. I know that my anger can truly explode!

But the psalmist is not talking about a person here but about God. What would God's exploding anger look like? How ticked off would God have to be to get that angry? I think the clue is in verse 10: Human defiance only enhances your glory. The more we are defiant, the more likely God is to react in anger. Yet, the key is to hear that God will use our defiance as a weapon.

I think this means that we are often our own worst enemy. When we are defiant, we can cause awful things to happen. Perhaps God doesn't have to do anything but watch us create far worse punishments than if God did the sentencing.

God, help me not to be defiant. May I be a proponent for the oppressed. May I stand in awe of you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, March 10, 2012


God is honored in Judah; his name is great in Israel. Jerusalem is where he lives; Mount Zion is his home. There he has broken the fiery arrows of the enemy, the shields and swords and weapons of war. You are glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains. Our boldest enemies have been plundered. They lie before us in the sleep of death. No warrior could lift a hand against us. At the blast of your breath, O God of Jacob, their horses and chariots lay still. Psalm 76: 1-6 NLT

What victory can you claim in your life today?

Did you do well on that report at work? Were you complemented on your devotional for your study group? Did you finally get that job interview? Did your children actually thank you for a daily task you did?

Perhaps that medical test you were anxious about came back negative. Or you are finally recovered from the surgery. Has your marriage or another relationship improved because you have been praying hard and working hard for that?

Whatever your victory, how can you give God the glory and the credit? What words of celebration can you lift up to God today for the victories you have just received?

God, you are honored and your name is great! You have broken the fiery arrows of the enemy. You are glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains. My boldest enemies have been plundered. And the victory is yours, Almighty God! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, March 9, 2012

Power for the Godly

But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked, but I will increase the power of the godly.” Psalm 75: 9-10 NLT

The psalmist is clear in that fact that the godly do not judge. They leave that up to God. In fact, the godly are too busy focusing on God to be judging. God's deeds are being proclaimed by the godly.

The godly are praising God rather than criticizing others. Their reward is an increase of power. I don't think this means political or financial power. I think this means spiritual power.

When the wicked raise a defiant fist against God or when the proud boast of their deeds, their spiritual power is sucked out of them. As Jesus might have said, they have received their own reward. They become depleted.

When the godly spend their time praising God and telling about God's deeds, they are refreshed and renewed. They find vital energy when it seemed like there was no more to be had. This is a gift – and a reward-- from God.

God, may I always spend more time praising you than putting others down. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, March 8, 2012

God is the Judge

I warned the proud, 'Stop your boasting!' I told the wicked, 'Don't raise your fists! Don't raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance.' ” For no one on earth – from east or west, or even from the wilderness-- should raise a defiant fist. It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall. For the Lord holds a cup in his hand that is full of foaming wine mixed with spices. He pours out the wine in judgment, and all the wicked must drink it, draining it to the dregs. Psalm 75: 4-8 NLT

Oh, that I would remember that God is the judge, not me.

I am pretty quick to judge other people. Usually, my judgment puts them in a bad light. I think the worst of them or am quick to criticize them. It isn't as though I am judging them in terms of sending them to hell. It is more like putting them on the scales and finding them lacking in some way. They don't make perfection in my book, so I am going to simply dismiss them.

That sounds pretty harsh. But I have to follow this up with the fact that I am just as harsh with myself as with anyone else. I am quick to judge and find myself lacking as well. Of course, I am sure I don't come out to be as bad as everyone else. Still. That is my own mindset.

Then I hear: it is God alone who judges. It is up to God to decide who is good or perfect. It is up to God to carry out the judgment. It is also up to God to carry out the punishment.

Thank goodness it is up to God to extend mercy and forgiveness as well.

God, you are the judge. Not me. Help me to live in your love and forgiveness all of my days and to extend that same love to my neighbors. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One Minute of Thanks

We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. God says, “At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked. When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm.” Psalm 75: 1-3 NLT

What can you give thanks for this day?

How about God's nearness?

What deeds has God done for you this past month?

Take one minute right now to list what you are thankful for.

We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


See how these enemies insult you, Lord! A foolish nation has dishonored your name. Don't let these wild beasts destroy your turtledoves. Don't forget your suffering people forever. Remember your covenant promises, for the land is full of darkness and violence! Don't let the downtrodden be humiliated again. Instead, let the poor and needy praise your name. Arise, O God, and defend your cause. Remember how these fools insult you all day long. Don't overlook what your enemies have said or their growing uproar. Psalm 74: 18-23 NLT

Don't let the wild beasts destroy your turtledoves. Not a coincidental animal to mention, those turtledoves. Turtledoves were used in the temple as a sacrifice for those who could not afford the larger sheep or goat. In other words, the psalmist is asking God's protection for those who are poor and faithful. That is why he goes on to ask for protection for the downtrodden so that the poor and needy could praise God's name.

In the time of the Babylonian exile, the wealthiest and most influential persons were removed from Jerusalem first. Then came a second time of exile and those persons who might have some leadership capability were also removed. That left the poorest of the poor. And even the ability to be faithful to God through temple worship was being taken away from them. The psalmist was pleading with God because it seemed even the basic needs of the neediest were being removed.

God, help me to remain faithful to you even when it seems like the world is trying to smash our relationship and destroy our life together. May I continue to praise your name. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, March 5, 2012

God of Creation

You, O God, are my king from ages past, bringing salvation to the earth. You split the sea by your strength and smashed the heads of the sea monsters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan and let the desert animals eat him. You caused the springs and streams to gush forth, and you dried up rivers that never run dry. Both day and night belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun. You set boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter. Psalm 74: 12- 17 NLT

At first the psalmist seems to suggest that God went around like a small giant, defeating monsters and causing natural disasters. But there is something so beautiful about the poetry and imagery that the psalmist uses.

The enemy was bent on destruction. They smashed the temple and tore down the city.

But God is about creation. God destroys monsters but creates springs and streams. God has destroyed chaos and created boundaries for time and seasons. God creates good things and destroys the bad. The enemy is just the opposite.

God, help us to see what you have created. May we always be those who destroy the bad and create the good. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, March 4, 2012

No More Miracles?

We no longer see your miraculous signs. All the prophets are gone, and no one can tell us when it will end. How long, O God will you allow our enemies to insult you? Will you let them dishonor your name forever? Why do you hold back your strong right hand? Unleash your powerful fist and destroy them. Psalm 74: 9-11 NLT

We no longer see your miraculous signs. I hear that so often these days.

I wonder if it has to do with the fact that we have tried our best to get rid of the miraculous. We want everything explained in a well-understood scientific fashion. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't discount science. I think that science can be an instrument of God's miracles and I also think science can be a way to see God's miracles. But we aren't looking for God when we want these explanations. We want reason and logic instead.

But reason and logic don't fit too well with miraculous signs. In fact, even when miracles happen all around us we tend to want them explained. Why can't modern medical treatments and technology be considered miracles? You and I are miracles. Our inventions and creations should be miracles, too.

God help us to see all the miraculous signs that you are creating in our world and our lives each day. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pure Destruction

O God, why have you rejected us so long? Why is your anger so intense against the sheep of your pasture? Remember that we are the people you chose long ago, the tribe you redeemed as your own special possession! And remember Jerusalem, your home here on earth. Walk through the awful ruins of the city; see how the enemy has destroyed your sanctuary. There your enemies shouted their victorious battle cries; there they set up their battle standards. They swung their axes like woodcutters in a forest. With axes and picks, they smashed the carved paneling. They burned your sanctuary to the ground. They defiled the place that bears your name. Then they thought, “Let's destroy everything!” So they burned down all the places where God was worshipped. Psalm 74:1-8 NLT

I suppose this is almost a first-person account of seeing the temple at Jerusalem being destroyed – probably at the time of the exile to Babylon. This was years after King David because it was Solomon who built the first wooden structure for God's temple. Picture walking through the destroyed homes and businesses in Jerusalem. Picture seeing the wooden carvings of the temple smashed through and everything sacred ruined almost beyond recognition.

This may be hard for you to imagine. But if you picture your church destroyed as if by a tornado or vandal (and this may have happened in real life). How would you feel? Would you feel abandoned by God as the psalmist does?

God, remember us even when everything around us seems to have been destroyed by the enemy. Don't let us lose the hope we have in you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, March 2, 2012

Abandoning God

Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do. Psalm 73:27-28 NLT

I wonder if deserting God, in abandoning God, comes a loss of something that no punishment could ever devise. Perhaps in trying to leave God we come closer to final death. Our only future is one of destruction rather than salvation.

I wonder that because the psalmist says that being near God is a wonderful thing. God becomes our shelter and we become God's spokesperson. In God is life. Without God is death.

Perhaps God does not have to actually do anything to destroy those who abandon God. Maybe they do that on their own.

God, we pray for those we know who have abandoned you. Whatever the cause or whenever it happened, we pray for healing and renewal of your relationship with them. We name them to you in our hearts. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant-- I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet still I belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Psalm 73: 21-26 NLT

This is an ah-ha moment.

This is when you realize something about yourself that has been glaringly obvious to everyone else but you have simply overlooked it. This is when you realize who you really are deep down. This is when you see yourself as God sees you.

It can be an ugly moment. We may not look as good as we thought we did. Our makeup or stylish clothes may not cover up our true nature as much as we would like. Or perhaps we have done too good of a job in masking our true selves and have quite a time trying to recognize ourselves.

Even then we are precious in God's sight. We still belong to God, God holds our hand, God gives us advice and God leads us to a glorious future.

May we dig deeper and may we desire nothing but God.
God, whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but you remain the strength of my heart; you are mine forever. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims