The school of suffering has many graduates. It seems that most of them provide insight into the grace and mercy of God for those willing to hear Him speak.
King David was a graduate of this school. What he learned about suffering is revealed in the sixth Psalm. He begins by describing his pain and the fear he has of his enemies. He shares with us a list of symptoms that most of us have experienced at one time or another: emotional stress, crying, sleepless nights, being attacked by others. However, when he cried out to God for help, God heard him and healed him.
Whatever brought about the distress of David was relieved when he called on God for His mercy. Here we find a pattern for us to follow when we need God to rescue us from our sin and suffering. First, he asked God not to abandon or punish him. Then he asked for God’s compassion and care, admitting that he was weak, “sick at heart” and could not handle the situation by himself. He described his weeping as so intense that “my bed is wet with tears.” He was remorseful for what he had done and what God might do to punish him. So, he cried out for God’s “unfailing love” and knew that God heard him and he was able to declare with confidence: “The Lord has heard my crying and my plea (and) the Lord will answer my prayer.”
God always hears and answers the prayers of anyone at any time who asks for His forgiveness and mercy. There are no limits to His love nor conditions for His grace.
Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for Your willingness to accept us as we are and grant us Your healing and hope. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 6:9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.
A telephone salesman called a home and a small child answered the phone just above a whisper. “Hello,” he said.
“Is your mother in?” asked the salesman.
“Yes,” he said in a hushed voice. “But she’s busy.”
“Well,” the salesman continued, “is your father home?”
“Yes,” came the quiet reply. “But he’s busy too.”
Wondering what was going on the salesman asked, “Well, what are they doing?”
“Looking for me,” whispered the child. “I broke my mom’s favorite vase and I’m hiding.”
Hiding is the natural thing to do when we’ve done something that is wrong. It has a long heritage going back to the Garden of Eden when Adam said, to God, “I heard you, so I hid.” Facing the Lord is not pleasant even though we know that He loves and will willingly forgive us if we ask.
Often when we are guilty of being disobedient or knowingly commit a sin, we fear approaching Him. But that is the time we need Him the most. We need to remember that He does not want to hurt us but to heal us. He is anxious to forgive us, restore our relationship with Him and grant us His pardon and peace. “If we confess, He is faithful and just to forgive.”
Prayer: We know, Heavenly Father, that we do what is unacceptable to You when we sin. May we be swift to confess and repent and forsake what we know is wrong. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Two friends in Australia enjoyed throwing boomerangs together. Over the years they devised various contests to see who was the best. One day, in an act of kindness, one of them gave the other a new boomerang.
When they got back together a short time later, the friend showed up with his old boomerang.
“What happened with the new boomerang I gave you?” he asked. “How does it perform?”
“I don’t know,” came the answer. “I’m still trying to throw this old one away but it keeps coming back!”
The Apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from every wrong.”
True repentance not only involves confession of our sins but a commitment to Christ not to continue in sin. If we are genuinely sincere when we confess our sins, we will also become conscious of how we live and what we can do to avoid repeating the sins we have committed in the past. The desire to sin can be very much like a boomerang – the temptation to go back to our sins of the past again and again.
It may be that when we confess our sins, we lack a certain sense of sincerity or genuineness. Perhaps there is such an attractiveness or appeal to some sins that our desire to truly repent and give them up is only half-hearted and insincere.
God knows our minds and the desires of our hearts. If we truly want victory over sin and are anxious to flee every temptation that lead to sin, we must commit ourselves completely to Christ and pray for His strength to guide, guard, protect and empower us.
Prayer: Give us Your strength, Lord, to live close to You and draw upon Your power to defeat temptation the next time, and every time, we face it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

A machinist who worked for the Ford Motor Company in Detroit for years had stolen many tools. One Sunday morning during a revival meeting, he became a Christian and was baptized that evening.
The next morning he reported to his foreman at the plant with boxes of the tools he had stolen over the years. He confessed his sin to his boss and asked to be forgiven.
This was such a surprise and shock to his foreman that he could not decide what to do. So, he contacted Henry Ford and asked for advice.
Upon hearing the story, Ford said, “Dam up the Detroit River and baptize the whole plant!”
Paul wrote that “He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised from the dead.”
Paul and his co-workers set great examples for us. Whatever they did, they did to honor God. It was their love for Christ that controlled their minds, hearts and lives. They believed that those who received new life through Him should live for Him and that their lives would reflect a change to prove that point: they were to live a life that pleased Christ and honored Him in all that they did.
Christians are to live as Paul and his co-workers lived. Because they were brand new people on the inside, the change made its way to the outside. The born-again are not reformed, rehabilitated or reeducated: they are re-created – new creations. We do not turn over a new leaf; we begin a new life through Christ.
Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to be grateful for our new life and to live a different, Christ-like and God-honoring life through the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 5:15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
There is a church in South America that is built on a plateau 10,000 feet above sea level. It is called The Church of the Penitents. From its perch above the city it can be seen for miles. One of the most interesting facts about the church is how is came to be built.
For years, each member of the church would carry two bricks to the church site for each sin they committed during the day. It continued until they had enough bricks to build the church.
One day a visitor, fascinated with the story, decided to count every brick. When he completed counting the bricks he sat down and said, “I cannot believe the number of sins this church represents.”
Is that not one of the reasons for the church? A place where individuals can bring their sins and ask God for forgiveness? The church exists to evangelize sinners not entertain saints. It is to gather for prayer not meet for parties.
Jesus said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
If you have never responded to His call, won’t you do so today?
Prayer: Father, we thank You for the church that You established as a place for sinners to come and find Your salvation. Come into our hearts: in Your Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 9:13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Recently a young wife, mother and highly recognized and effective school teacher sat across from me and said, “I wish I were dead. I would like to go to sleep and never awaken again – just die. I have disgraced myself, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my students. Everyone! Life as I knew it is over and I no longer want to be part of it. I’m going to prison and I am afraid.”
What a tragedy. Life as she once knew it is gone forever. In the eyes of many the wrong cannot be righted nor the damage repaired. It is a scar that is permanent and will remain throughout life. But is that a reason to want to die? Not for one who understands the grace of God.
The Bible says, “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness!” If we want to maintain our relationship with God we must ask for His cleansing and forgiveness whenever we falter and fail. Whenever we ask for His forgiveness, we receive it as well as His guarantee that He will remove every sin. He is a faithful God who honors His Word and will never forsake us. Never!
When God forgives us of our sins, He also removes the guilt and the penalty which are justly ours. But in His grace, we are justified, forgiven and made complete and His penalty removed.
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for Your salvation, knowing that Your love exceeds our guilt and Your mercy allows forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Luther Burbank, the famous horticulturist, enjoyed entertaining and getting to know his guests. He always insisted that they sign his guest book before leaving. One column in the book asked the guests to describe their interests.
When Thomas Edison visited, Burbank asked him to be certain to sign his guest book. In the column where the guests were to describe their interests, Edison wrote the word, “Everything!”
His life reflected his interests. Among his many inventions were the phonograph, the telegraph, the incandescent light, the motion picture camera, light sockets, the dictating machine, iron ore products and wax paper.
The Bible tells the story of a short, determined, tax collector. He was desperately interested in seeing Jesus, but he could not see Him because he was so short and the crowd so large. He solved his problem by climbing a tree. Not only did he see Jesus, but Jesus saw him. As a result, Zacchaeus got saved. When our primary interest in life is to see Jesus, we can be assured that He will make Himself visible.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we look above the crowds and the things of life to seek, find, and know You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 19:1-10 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
A truck came speeding down a steep hill. It was necessary to make a quick turn at the bottom of the hill to avoid going into a lake. Unfortunately, the driver failed to make the turn and ended up in the lake. Fortunately, the driver escaped, unharmed.
As he climbed from the cab of the truck and waded from the lake to the crowd that had assembled, he was shaking his head from side to side. Finally someone asked, “What happened?”
“Well,” he said, “I guess I should have gotten brake fluid before I needed it.”
Procrastination, at times, seems to invade everyone’s life. Occasionally, we “all plan to do tomorrow what we could have done today.” And there are many excuses that encourage us to do so. One might be fear. Another might be thinking the task is unimportant or even too difficult. Again, we may not want to be bothered by a request or even have a desire to inconvenience the one who is depending on us. Time is one of God’s greatest gifts. Once gone, it can never be reclaimed or returned. So, we must learn to see time from God’s perspective and place a high value on it. God gives us time, first of all, to accept His salvation. Then, whatever days He allows us to live, are to be lived in service to Him and others who need to know Him as Savior and Lord.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to make the most of our time so that we may accomplish the purpose You have for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Zechariah 1:4 “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.”’ But they did not hear nor heed Me,” says the Lord.
Someone said that there are two types of people: those who stop to think or those who stop thinking. If someone stops thinking life will go on without them. On the other hand it is important for those who do think to think about things that matter.

There is a good example of this principle in Psalm 119:59: “I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to Your statues.” What we spend our time thinking about matters more than anything else in our lives. It is our thinking that enables us to discern right from wrong, good from bad, what is helpful from what is hurtful. And the list goes on. Thinking leads to choices and our choices determine our destiny. In fact, that’s what the Psalmist wrote about: “When I stopped to consider what I was doing and where I was going, it led me to change my course of direction and follow the laws of the Lord.”

Many are too involved in the things of this world to “stop and consider” where they are going or whom they are following. Life becomes a blur and there is not much difference between night and day: everything looks like a long piece of grey flannel that has no beginning or end.

The Psalmist said, “I considered - I turned.” It does not take much time to see the difference between God’s way and the world’s way. And when one sees the benefits of what God has to offer us in contrast to what the world takes from us the choice is clear: life or death. It is wise to stop, consider our choices and turn to God.

Prayer: We have in You, Father, all that we need for today and after “today” a life with You in Heaven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.

God created us to follow Him - not to forsake Him. He chooses for us triumph over temptation - not struggle with guilt for surrendering to sin. He wants us to walk with Him and not stray from Him because of our self-centeredness. He waits to help us achieve the potential He has given us and not be satisfied with less than what is possible. He is willing to share His wisdom and give His insights whenever we need to make any decision.

There are many wrong ways but only one “best” way - His way. And no one but God can reveal that way to us. We may search one way and then another, try this route until it comes to a dead end. However, only when we allow God to lead us will we be in the center of His will.

Israel’s experience during the Exodus gives us a great example of God’s guidance and guardianship.
The Psalmist gives us a vivid picture of what can happen when people “try to make it on their own” and do not follow God: “Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no ways to a city where they could settle. Some were hungry and thirsty and their lives ebbed away.” How sad. How true. Without God’s guidance we all wanderers!

“Then they cried out to the Lord!” And listen to what happened. “He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.”

No one will ever find a “straight way” to a “safe place” in life unless they surrender their life to God and follow Him. Life without God is a “wasteland” and unless we accept His salvation our lives will “ebb away.”

Prayer: Lord, we come to You and ask You to save us from our sins and then lead us safely into Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 107:7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.

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