Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Adversity makes us stronger

Then Israel arrived in Egypt; Jacob lived as a foreigner in the land of Ham. And the Lord multiplied the people of Israel until they become too mighty for their enemies. Then he turned the Egyptians against the Israelites, and they plotted against the Lord's servants. Psalm 105: 23-25 NLT

Here are God's people living as foreigners in the enemies' territory. Yet, they grow stronger rather than weaker. They are build up rather than torn down. Even when Pharaoh tries to put them under his thumb, he is thwarted on every side. He tries to kill the newborns but that doesn't work. He makes them slaves but this only makes them stronger people.

I suppose we don't always see adversity as a way of making us stronger. We would rather wallow in our misery and succumb to our grief. To do nothing and be nothing seems like a pretty good idea. The Israelites could have given up. Yet, they were becoming stronger rather than weaker.

In what ways have you given up in your life? How could you take advantage of whatever situation you are in right now to become a stronger person? Or perhaps a stronger follower of Christ? What can you learn right where you are that will improve who you are?

God, you have brought me here for a reason. Help me not to give in but to grow up. Help me to become a stronger follower of Christ even here and now where I am. May I bloom where I am planted. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, July 30, 2012

God will not abandon you

He called for a famine on the land of Canaan, cutting off its food supply. Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them – Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar. Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph's character. Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free; the ruler of the nation opened his prison door. Joseph was put in charge of all the king's household; he became ruler over all the king's possession. He could instruct the king's aides as he pleased and teach the king's advisers. Psalm 105: 16-22 NLT

I have never considered Joseph's trials as being ways of God testing Joseph's character. But when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Joseph was the spoiled son and at the same time the one chosen to save all his family. God gave him an understanding of what he would become and Joseph bragged about it to his family. God then humiliated Joseph, making him into a slave. Even when he was a trusted servant, God still wanted to make sure he would come through with integrity. He did but was rewarded by being placed in prison. God never abandoned him and God helped him succeed wherever he was. However, he needed to learn the lessons of humility, leadership and dependance on God. He would never have done so as the favored son back in Canaan.

Are you going through a trial in your life right now?

Or have you ever been through a trial?

What lessons can you learn or what lessons did you learn? Do you think God is testing your character?

God, I know you love me. I also know you want me to be the best I can be. I understand you may test me and place obstacles in my path – not for me to fail but for me to become stronger. Please help me through these times, Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, July 29, 2012


They wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. Yet he did not let anyone oppress them. He warned kings on their behalf: “Do not touch my chosen people, and do not hurt my prophets.”
Psalm 105: 13-15 NLT

Think about this: the people, God's chosen people, wandered from place to place. They had nowhere to call home. That means they were homeless. But that does not mean they weren't loved or abandoned.

Far from it.

God was with them the whole time, protecting them from other people. God stood between them and what could have been a massacre. God did not allow any foreigner to harm them or the prophets.

Are you homeless? You could be literally homeless or metaphorically so. Perhaps you feel like you are drifting through life right now. That is one way to wander. You may be miffed with God for allowing you to feel this way or be this way.

But God has not abandoned you.

Can you see evidence that God has protected you? Do you know ways that God has shown God's love toward you? God has stood in the gap on your behalf, even while you drift.

God, thank you for not abandoning me. Thank you for your protection and love. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, July 28, 2012

He is the Lord our God

He is the Lord our God. His justice is seen throughout the land. He always stands by his covenant – the commitment he made to a thousand generations. This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, and the people of Israel as a never-ending covenant: “ I will give you the land of Canaan as your special possession.” He said this when they were few in number, a tiny group of strangers in Canaan. Psalm 105: 7-12 NLT

How committed are you? If you are married, do you feel you kept all your wedding vows? If you own a business, how firm are you in keeping with your contracts and agreements? Have you ever had to sign something – say a licensing agreement – knowing that you either weren't sure about what you were committing to or felt it was only a formality and not really enforcible?

One good thing is that God is far more committed than we are. We tend to fudge, backtrack, rationalize and even downright lie to get out of some of our commitments. God stands by what God says. God keeps God's promises.

How can you be better about keeping yours?

God, you are my God. You always stand by your promises. I have seen you in action – through scripture as well as my own life. I thank you and love you, Lord. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, July 27, 2012

Proclaim God's Greatness

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, you children of his servant Abraham, you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones. Psalm 105: 1-6 NLT

So begins Psalm 105 which then retells the story from Abraham to Moses. The purpose of the storytelling is simply an act of praise to God and also a reminder to all the listeners of what God has done for them and for their ancestors.

What has God done for your relatives? Do you know a story about your grandparents and their faith? Or perhaps you are the first Christian in your family –what stories will your children tell about you?

As followers of Christ, we become part of the story of salvation and are able to praise God for all God has done. Spend some time today thinking back in your own life or the lives of you loved ones and see again what God has done in your lives.

God, we give thanks to you and proclaim your greatness. We will tell the whole world what you have done for us, all the deeds you have done in our lives and the lives of those we love. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, July 26, 2012

God takes pleasure

May the glory of the Lord continue forever! The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made! The earth trembles at his glance; the mountains smoke at his touch. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath! May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. Let all sinners vanish from the face of the earth; let the wicked disappear forever. Let all that I am praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! Psalm 104: 31-35 NLT

God takes pleasure in all he has made.

Interesting that God isn't looking for perfection in all he has made. God isn't wanting to start over with all he has made. God doesn't dismiss all he has made, either. God takes pleasure in God's creation.

I need to be more like that in what I have created. When I create something – a painting, a scrapbook page, or a devotional – I am always looking for weaknesses or feeling like I was just short of the perfect color or words. In cooking a meal, I have a hard time accepting compliments because I can see all the short comings of the repast. Yet, if my example is God, then I should simply take pleasure in it. Not be proud of it but simply enjoy it.

May you enjoy what you create today – whether a word document, a relationship or a meal.

God, you take pleasure in all you have made. Help me to do the same. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We are Satisfied

You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knowns when to set. You send the darkness, and it becomes night, when all the forest animals prowl about. Then the young lions roar for their prey, stalking the food provided by God. At dawn they slink back into their dens to rest. Then people go off to their work, where they labor until evening. O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small. See the ships sailing along, and Leviathan, which you mad to play in the sea. They all depend on you to give them food as they need it. When you supply it, they gather it. You open your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied. But if you turn away from them, they panic. When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust. When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth. Psalm 104: 19-30 NLT

What would make God turn away from us or from any creature? Do you think there is anything you could do that would make God turn away from you? Has there been a time when you have felt panicked, like God has left you? Would God go so far as to take away our breath?

I struggle with this because I think God wants us to live just as God wants us to choose God. However, I don't think God is going to take away our free will. If we completely reject God, God will turn away. Certainly, God will give us a chance for redemption (for me, Jesus is always knocking at the door) but God won't force us to accept it. I pray that you have accepted Christ in your life.

God, you open up your hand and richly feed us. We are immensely satisfied. We give you the praise and the glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Who is the center of your universe?

You make springs pour water into the ravines, so streams gush down from the mountains. They provide water for all the animals, and the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds nest beside the streams and sing among the branches of the trees. You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home, and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor. You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use. You allow them to produce food from the earth – wine to make them glad, olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength. The trees of the Lord are well cared for – the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. There the birds make their nests, and the storks make their homes in the cypresses. High in the mountains live the wild goats, and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes. Psalm 104: 10-18 NLT

Have you ever played the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game? The idea is that people in Hollywood are so connected, that any individual in Hollywood can be connected to Kevin Bacon in six steps. I have not done it myself (I can't keep that kind of trivia in my head), but I have overheard others do it with ease. This kind of sounds like Kevin Bacon is the center of the universe.

Psalm 104 clearly points to God as the center of the universe. Everything is connected to God. God makes the rain which makes the streams. The streams water the animals and the birds nest beside the streams. Grass grows and feeds the livestock. People produce food to eat, wine to drink and oil to keep them beautiful. Even the trees and the mountains get in on the action.

God, you are the center of the universe. Help me to act more like you are the center of my universe. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, July 23, 2012

How Great God Is!

Let all that I am praise the Lord. O Lord my God, how great you are! You are robed with honor and majesty. You are dressed in a robe of light. You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens; you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds. You make the clouds your chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind. The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants. You placed the world on its foundations so it would never be moved. You clothed the earth with floods of water, water that covered even the mountains. At your command, the water fled; at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away. Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed. Then you set a firm boundary for the seas, so they would never again cover the earth. Psalm 104: 1-9 NLT

What are you wearing right now? How would you describe your clothing?

What is your home like? What words or simple sentences could convey what it looks like?

What great things have you accomplished in your life? Have they been far-reaching?

I love these descriptions of God, God's home and what God has done. God is robed with honor and majesty, dressed in a robe of light. The curtain's of God's home is the starry night. The rafters are the rain clouds. God rides upon the wind and the clouds. The wind and fire are God's cell phone and email service. From God's wonderful abode, God also clothed the earth with water and set boundaries so that the mountains, seas, and valleys had their own places to live.

We cannot compare with God. We can only be in awe.

Let all that I am praise the Lord. O Lord my God, how great you are! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, July 22, 2012

We Give God Praise

The Lord made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything. Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will! Praise the Lord, everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom. Let all that I am praise the Lord. Psalm 103: 19-22 NLT

Most of Psalm 103 has been directed to us humans here on earth. The conclusion of the psalm turns to the heavenly realm. The psalmist reminds even the heavenly beings to continue to praise God. This seems pretty unnecessary. Shouldn't the angels already be doing this? But the psalmist really wants all of creation – from humans to the earth to the angels – to be in this praising business.

How are you doing with your own praising business? How often to you praise God? Is it just when you get your way or when things are going well? Can you praise God through all circumstances? Do you even know what it means to praise God?

Praising God is not saying thank you. That is appreciating God. Praising God is lifting up God and God's name in prayer. It is repeating how wonderful God is. Praising means saying or singing to God about how awesome God is. The psalmist want us to use all that we are to praise God.

God, we give you praise and glory! You are an awesome God! May all you have created praise your heavenly name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, July 21, 2012

God is our Father

The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone – as though we had never been here. But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children's children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments! Psalm 103: 13-18 NLT

Have you ever had someone be afraid of you? I remember helping out with Vacation Bible School one year at a church where I was the story teller. I had to reenact the story of David and Goliath. One of the groups had 3 year olds. When I came out like a mean Goliath character, I scared one of the girls in the class. Boy did I do a 180 from that point on! I did not want her to be afraid of me, so I was extra nice and loving.

The psalmist tells us that God is like that – tender and compassionate toward us who fear him. I think of this fear in terms of healthy respect and top priority rather than quaking in my boots. God knows are weaknesses – from our bodies' finite life to our sinful nature. God provides salvation and rules to help us.

God, you love remains forever with us when we fear you. Help us to treat you as a loving parent, looking out for us, your children. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, July 20, 2012

Compassionate, merciful, full of unfailing love

The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly. He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Psalm 103: 6-12 NLT

God is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and full of unfailing love.

How often we forget these powerful words of scripture! We tend to focus on the judging God, the critical God, the disapproving God. This is because we are surrounded by people who are judging, critical and disapproving. We can't seem to make any humans happy, so why shouldn't God be any different?

But we are reminded in Psalm 103 that God revealed God's character to Moses. Moses was saved from an early death and raised in the most prestigious household in Egypt. Moses committed murder yet God kept him from being brought to account for it. Moses lived for years in exile in the desert – where he learned the skills God's people would need. God called Moses to go to Pharaoh and to lead God's people. God gave Moses the rules for the people to live by and the leadership skills to guide them for years. God continually showed Moses compassion, mercy, and love. God was slow to get angry even when Moses kept coming up with excuses for not following God's direction.

How much more will God be compassionate and merciful toward us.

God, thank you for your mercy, compassion, unfailing love and forgiveness. You are an awesome God. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, July 19, 2012

All the good things God does for me

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's! Psalm 103: 1-5 NLT

May I never forget the good things he does for me....

I have had a really hard week and for most of it all I have done is complain. Loudly. To anyone who will listen. Yet, at one point I realized that just because I am having a hard time does not mean that I should stop praising God. In fact, when I stop to praise God and give God the glory, I realize all the good things that are happening in my life. Despite the hard stuff, God is at work and doing wonderful things – beginning with forgiving my sins. And I know criticizing, complaining and judging will be some God will be forgiving.

What good things God has done in your life have you forgotten lately? Take a moment right now to just praise God. No matter what is happening in your life, give God the glory. I promise your viewpoint will change quickly.

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

God is Unchanging

He broke my strength in midlife, cutting short my days. But I cried to him, “O my God, who lives forever, don't take my life while I am so young! Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. They will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing. You will change them like a garment and discard them. But you are always the same; you will live forever. The children of your people will live in security. Their children's children will thrive in your presence.” Psalm 102: 23-28 NLT

The psalmist again appeals to God's vanity and makes a direct comparison between God's life and his own. God has broken him before he has had a chance to grown old. He appears to be dying. The psalmist asks that God not take his life. He looks and recognizes that God will live forever. He sees that God has made all of creation. Yet, even all of nature will eventually pass away to give birth to the new. For God, nature is like a piece of clothing that is eventually cast off.

But the psalmist recognizes that, unlike this clothing, God is unchanging. God will live forever. God will continue to provide security and success for God's people.

It is almost as if the psalmist wants his own life to continue and at the same time recognizes that God will continue to be good to God's people long after his own last breath.

God, you are unchanging. Nature may change with the seasons and the years but you are still the same. You will continue to provide security and grace long after we have finished our lives on this earth. We praise you for your unchanging nature. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Recorded for Future Generations

Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord. Tell them the Lord looked down from his heavenly sanctuary. He looked down to earth from heaven to hear the groans of the prisoners, to release those condemned to die. And so the Lord's fame will be celebrated in Zion, his praises in Jerusalem, when multitudes gather together and kingdoms come to worship the Lord. Psalm 102: 18-22 NLT

Why should we write down what God has done for us in our lives?

So that future generations, those who are yet to be born, will be able to give God praise and glory.

I hate when people of older generations do things and plan for things that have a finite life, without thinking of future generations. I remember one church where folks put a lot of money into the cemetery attached to the church property. They gave more money to the place to bury themselves than they did to the place to save others. They were only concerned about where their bodies were going to go when the died. They were not so concerned about where others would go when they died (body or soul).

The psalmist wants future generations to see how the Lord hears the groan of those imprisoned – I imagine those imprisoned by their sins. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees those who are truly condemned to die. The Lord rescues them – I see them as being rescued because of what Jesus has done for them. We should not stop with our own generation when it comes to telling about God's salvation. We need to share it with those yet born.

God, show us how to record your saving grace in our own lives so that future generations will be able to give you the glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Monday, July 16, 2012

Trembling Before God

Then the nations will tremble before the Lord. The kings of the earth will tremble before his glory. For the Lord will rebuild Jerusalem. He will appear in his glory. He will listen to the prayers of the destitute. He will not reject their pleas. Psalm 102: 15-17 NLT

What would make all the nations of the world tremble before God in this day and age?

I can't think of much. We humans have become so cynical, scientific, anti-Higher Power and self-centered. I don't know what could make everyone either fearful or worshipful to God.

I do think we can tremble before God as individuals. And I think we should do so more often. However, our self-centeredness often gets the best of us. We don't see what God is doing. We neglect to recognize God's sovereign power and majesty. We only see fate or bad karma or even our own silly mistakes.

Yet the psalmist is certain that God will appear. The psalmist is confident that God will rebuild Jerusalem. The psalmist knows that God will listen to the prayers of those who have no hope. God will not reject their pleas for help.

Do you tremble before the Lord?

God, you hear our pleas. You come to our rescue. You hold us together and give us comfort. You are awesome. May we tremble in your divine presence. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Appealing to God's Vanity

But you, O Lord, will sit on your throne forever. Your fame will endure to every generation. You will arise and have mercy on Jerusalem – and now is the time to pity her, now is the time you promised to help. For your people love every stone in her walls and cherish even the dust in her streets. Psalm 102: 12-14 NLT

Here the psalmist begins to appeal to God's vanity. It is like he is saying: “Hey, God. You are going to be ruling from your throne forever and ever. For eternity, you know? Your name will be well known for generation after generation. So, we know you are going to get up and have mercy on your city of Jerusalem. I mean, look at her – pity the state she is in right now! Remember, God, you promised to help. And see, your people love everything about your holy city – right down to the individual stones on the walls and even to the dust of the streets.”

The psalmist wants God to understand the difference between God's almighty sovereignty and the people who live in their holy city. The people are to be pitied while God is to be worshipped and appealed to. The psalmist believes that God will answer the prayers and have mercy on the entire city. God will be around forever. However, the people won't be. They need this city in order to give God the glory. They cannot stand without God's help.

If you had to appeal to God's mercy and vanity, what would you say?

Where should God have pity on the situations in your own life?

What are some of the smallest things that you love about where you worship God?

But you, O Lord, will sit on your throne forever. Your fame will endure to every generation. You will arise and have mercy. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lord, hear my prayer!

Lord, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea. Don't turn away from me in my time of distress. Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you. For my days disappear like smoke, and my bones burn like red-hot coals. My heart is sick, withered like grass, and I have lost my appetite. Because of my groaning, I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like an owl in the desert, like a little owl in a far-off wilderness. I lie awake, lonely as a solitary bird on the roof. My enemies taunt me day after day. They mock and curse me. I eat ashes for food. My tears run down into my drink because of you anger and wrath. For you have picked me up and thrown me out. My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass. Psalm 102: 1- 11 NLT

God, I need you to hear and to answer my prayer. Please answer quickly! Why so fast? Because I am going to die soon if you don't. I am not eating and have lost a lot of weight. I am being taunted by my enemies. And this is all your fault. You are angry at me and have caused all these bad things to happen. Please hurry with your answer because it won't be long before I am no more.

Ever feel like God needs to answer your prayer now? You can't wait and you have a dozen reasons why. Will God hear you? Will God answer soon?

Lord, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Friday, July 13, 2012


I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence. My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked and free the city of the Lord from their grip. Psalm 101: 7-8 NLT

These to verses beg the question: how?

The psalmist is repeating the same idea in the first verse as deceivers and liars mean the same as do the words house and presence. The question about how to recognize deception and keep those liars out still goes unanswered.

And if the daily job is to get rid of the wicked in the entire city, it sounds like too big a task for one person! Will they be walking softly and carrying a big stick or what? Is this the psalmist police speaking?

The whole psalm, especially these last two verses, sound more like a pledge one makes to God. Perhaps you would not consider it a promise or even a vow but an attempt to tell God how you will live right in God's eyes on a daily basis. Perhaps these words of promise are not to be taken cut and dried literally but more figuratively. These are words that show the person is trying to be the best person God calls them to be. Therefore no deceivers will be hanging around them and whenever it is possible, the psalmist will rid God's city of evil: beginning with himself.

God, help me to rid of the evil in my own heart and the deceiving I have in my own mind. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Companions

I will search for faithful people to be my companions. Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me. Psalm 101: 6 NLT

We have been talking in my church lately about how to reach the unchurched: those who either don't know Christ or have rejected Church. One of the points we have made is that the longer we are Christians, the less likely we will have contact with the unchurched or any nonChristian.

If we follow verse 6 of Psalm 101, we certainly won't have contact with anyone who is unchurched.

If you only hang out with faithful people, you will not be able to spread the message of Christ. Certainly, it is helpful to have Christian brothers and sisters to hold us up in our daily walk. But are we to be exclusive in our companionship? How will we ever establish relationships with those who are unchurched if we don't invite them to be our companions?

In fact, I begin to wonder if the psalmist will have anyone serving him. Why talk about those who serve you? Sounds like a rich snob to me!

Not sure I would want this person to be my companion.

God, you want us to be true to you yet you ask us to spread the good news. Help us to walk this fine line in your sight. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Living Pure

I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil. I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride. Psalm 101: 3-5 NLT

I don't know about you, but the psalmist in Psalm 101 seems to be painting himself into a corner. He won't see, hear or speak evil. Where is he to live? Where will he work? How will he interact in the real world with real people and messy situations?

In today's world, you can refuse to look at the news because of all the violence and cruelty pictured in it. But how will you know what is going on around you? Can you even vote with integrity if you don't know what the world is like? Will you know how to pray if you isolate yourself from the world?

Sure, you can hate those who don't have honest business practices. But are you really going to be able to have nothing to do with them?

Rejecting perverse ideas is a good thought but is it not better to understand them in order to really know where your own ideas stand?

Yes, please stay away from evil as much as possible but some evils cannot be avoided.

Not tolerating people who slander their neighbors sounds like someone who would have stood up for justice during the Civil Rights era. However, the psalmist makes it sound more like building a fence so you won't have to look at your neighbor.

And saying you won't endure conceit and pride sounds ...well... conceited and prideful.

God, we want to be pure in our lives and our minds yet you require us to live in this world. Deliver us from evil. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Blameless Life

I will sing of your love and justice, Lord. I will praise you with songs. I will be careful to live a blameless life – when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.
Psalm 101: 1-2 NLT

I will be careful to live a blameless life – when will you come to help me?

The psalmist, like all of us, realizes that he wants to live a righteous life. But he is unable to do so on his own. He has the desire to do right but not the complete ability. He wants to live in a sinless way. Yet, he finds that he continues to sin.

Do you desire to live a blameless life?

If so, are you living such a life?

I, too, want to live blamelessly. But the minute that thought crosses my mind, I find myself in some sinful situation or action or word.

Does God want us to be sinless?

Or does God simply want us to desire to be blameless?

Can God help us live sinlessly?

Or would that take away our free will?

I will try my best to have a life of integrity in my own home. And I will depend on God's mercy and grace giving to me through Christ when I fall short.

God, I desire to live a blameless life and have integrity in my own home. Help me when I fall short and uphold my sincere desire. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims