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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

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Daily Recovery Readings – September 14, 2014

Just For Today
September 14, 2014
Secrets Are Reservations

“Eventually we are shown that we must get honest, or we will use again.”
Basic Text p.82

Everyone has secrets, right? Some of us have little secrets, items that would cause only minor embarrassment if found out. Some of us have big secrets, whole areas of our lives cloaked in thick, murky darkness. Big secrets may represent a more obvious, immediate danger to our recovery. But the little secrets do their own kind of damage, the more insidious perhaps because we think they’re “harmless!”

Big or little, our secrets represent spiritual territory we are unwilling to surrender to the principles of recovery. The longer we reserve pieces of our lives to be ruled by self-will and the more vigorously we defend our “right” to hold onto them, the more damage we do. Gradually, the unsurrendered territories of our lives tend to expand, taking more and more ground.

Whether the secrets in our lives are big or little, sooner or later they bring us to the same place. We must choose-either we surrender everything to our program, or we will lose our recovery.

Just for today: I want the kind of recovery that comes from total surrender to the program. Today I will talk with my sponsor and disclose my secrets, big or small.

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Daily Reflections
September 14, 2014
PEACE OF MIND

Do we lay the matter before our sponsor or spiritual adviser, earnestly asking God’s help and guidance–meanwhile resolving to do the right thing when it becomes clear, cost what it may?
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p p. 86-87

My belief in a Higher Power is an essential part of my work on Step Nine; forgiveness, timing, and right motives are the other ingredients. My willingness to do the Step is a growing experience that opens the door for new and honest relationships with the people I have harmed. My responsible action brings me closer to the spiritual principles of the program — love and service. Peace of mind, serenity, and a stronger faith are sure to follow.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 14, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

“How does A.A. grow? Some of us sell A.A. as we go about.  Little clusters of twos and threes and fives keep springing up in different communities, through contact with the larger centers. Those of us who travel drop in at other groups as often as we can. This practice enables us to lend a hand to new groups which are springing up all over the land. New groups are being started each month. A.A. is even spreading outside the United States and is slowly becoming world-wide.  Thus we grow.” Am I doing all I can to spread A.A. wherever I go?

Meditation For The Day

“Lord we believe. Help Thou our unbelief.” This cry of the human heart is an expression of human frailty. It signifies the soul’s sincere desire for progress. As a person feels the existence of God and His power, that person believes in Him more and more. At the same time, a person is more conscious of his falling short of absolute trust in God. The soul’s progress is an increasing belief, then a cry for more faith, a plea to conquer all unbelief, all lack of trust. We can believe that that cry is heard by God and that prayer is answered in due time. And so our faith grows, little by little, day by day.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that with more power in my life will come more faith.  I pray that I may come to trust God more each day.

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As Bill Sees It
September 14, 2014
A “Special” Experience?, p.256

I was the recipient of a tremendous mystic experience or “illumination,” and at first it was very natural for me to feel that this experience staked me out as somebody very special.

But as I look now back upon this tremendous event, I can only feel very grateful. It now seems clear that the only special features of my experience were its suddenness and the overwhelming and immediate conviction that it carried.

In all other respects, however, I am sure that my own experience was essentially like that received by any A.A. member who has strenuously practiced our recovery program. Surely, the grace he receives is also of God; the only difference is that he becomes aware of his gift more gradually.

Grapevine, July 1962

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Walk In Dry Places
September 14, 2014
Am I getting too busy?
Time Management.

It’s always risky when a recovering person gets too busy for meetings.  It’s also dangerous when business and personal concerns crowd out interest in the program.

We should never deceive ourselves by thinking that we’re somehow safe just because our time is filled with useful and interesting work.  Many of us have a tendency to become addicted to “busy-ness”.  Though less destructive than drinking, this serves as an escape, just as alcohol did.

The danger is that when the work no longer satisfies us, we’ll find our  lives becoming empty again. We could then be very vulnerable to taking a drink.  We should never be too busy for the wonderful, constructive work of the program.

Far from taking time away from our other actives, work in the program will enhance everything we do.

I’ll try to balance my activities today, making sure that I have time for the program.

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Keep It Simple
September 14, 2014

You must look into people, as well as at them.
—Lord Chesterfield

When we were using alcohol and other drugs, we only looked at people.

We treated them like objects. Often, we could only see how they helped us get high, or how they got in our way.

Now we can see others as people. We look into them. We learn about their feelings and thoughts.

We care about them. What a wonderful change! We are fully human again. We can have relationships.

When we look into others, we see life. We see beauty, courage, hope and love. We see bits of ourselves and our Higher Power. What a miracle life is.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me be fully human today.  Help me see You in others.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll look into someone. I’ll do this by having a talk with a friend. And I’ll really listen.

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 14, 2014

What a strange pattern the shuttle of life can weave.
–Frances Marion

How shortsighted is our judgment about today’s experiences! We’ll see with clarity where they may lead us only after we’ve reached our destination.

Of one thing we can be certain: Today’s experiences, in concert with yesterday’s and all that’s gone before, are combining to weave an intricate life design, unique, purposeful, and for our ultimate good.

We need not feel remorse over lost chances or unproductive behavior in the past. Our destination remains the same, and our arrival is guaranteed.  Our actions and decisions are never wrong. We may veer off course for a time, but the design for our lives will pull us back on the track.

The program is part of the design for our lives. It’s helping us to stay on course. In fact, when we’re working the Steps, we’re at ease with our direction, and we trust the outcome of our efforts to the power of the program. We will add to the richness of our design, today, just as we have every day of our lives. We can anticipate today’s experiences with an excited heart.

There is something special going on in my life today. I will give everybody and every event my full attention.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
September 14, 2014
WINNER TAKES ALL

Legally blind but no longer alone, she found a way to stay sober, raise a family, and turn her life over to the care of God.

This is an example of how God works in my life. No longer did I have to drink, but it was much more than that. Everything I needed was provided. I had a God of my understanding that helped me in every aspect of my life.

p. 380

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 14, 2014

Step Twelve – “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

Where the possession of money and material things was concerned, our outlook underwent the same revolutionary change. With a few exceptions, all of us had been spendthrifts. We threw money about in every direction with the purpose of pleasing ourselves and impressing other people. In our drinking time, we acted as if the money supply was inexhaustible, though between binges we’d sometimes go to the other extreme and become almost miserly. Without realizing it we were just accumulating funds for the next spree. Money was the symbol of pleasure and self-importance. When our drinking had become much worse, money was only an urgent requirement which could supply us with the next drink and the temporary comfort of oblivion it brought.

p. 120

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Xtra Thoughts
September 14, 2014
“What helps me to go forward is that I stay receptive. I feel that anything can happen.”
–Anouk Aimee

“No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched.”
–George Jean Nathan

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.
–Herni Bergson

“Happiness is an attitude of mind, born of the simple determination to be happy under all outward circumstances.”
– J. Donald Walters

“A good laugh is sunshine in the house.”
– William Makepeace Thackeray

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 14, 2014
MIDDLE-AGE

“Middle-age is when you begin to smile at things that used to cause you to laugh.”
– Anonymous

Today I feel so young at heart. I love to laugh, I mean really laugh; I love to play and act silly in my life; I love discovering my “child” that comes out to give balance to my life.

This was not always the case. Not too many yesterdays ago I was serious, depressed, affecting a smile that did not come from within.  Alcoholism made me an unhappy man. Before I got sober my so called “high” had changed into a boring “low”!

I was middle-aged before I was thirty. Today I feel younger than I did twenty years ago — and it shows. You are what you drink. Today I am sober!

Thank You for the gift of “play” in my life.

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Bible Scriptures
September 14, 2014

“Only believe.”
Mark 5:36

“For nothing is impossible with God.”
Luke 1:37

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Daily Inspiration
September 14, 2014

It is nice to have the things money can buy, but be sure that you don’t lose the things money can’t buy in the process. Lord, never let me forget who I am and that which truly means the most.

When you have faith in yourself and God, you will know that you are loved and safe and never alone. Lord, I am these things because You are always with me.

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A Day At A Time 
September 14, 2014

Reflection For The Day

Until we came to The Program, our lives had been spent running from pain and problems.  Escape by way of alcohol or other chemicals was always our temporary solution.  Then we started going to meetings.  We looked and listened, often with amazement.  Everywhere around us, we saw failure and misery transformed by humility into priceless assets.  To those who’ve made progress in The Program, humility is simply a clear recognition of what and who we really are — followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.  Is The Program showing me what I could be?

Today I Pray

I pray for humility, which is another word for perspective, a level look at the real me and where I stand in relation to God and other people.  May I be grateful to humility; it is the processing plant through which my raw hurts and ragged delusions are refined into new courage and sensitivities.

Today I Will Remember

Humility restores my “sight”.

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One More Day
September 14, 2014

I loaf and invite my soul,  I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
–Walt Whitman

Sometimes we may have wished we could be like Aladdin and have three wishes.  We might have even made mental lists of the things we could ask for.

We know that just having material possessions is not a guarantee for happiness.  We know there has to be a purpose to life beyond wealth, a reason to get out of bed each morning.  Whatever our walk of life, whatever our state of health, we all need to feel worthwhile.

We can’t rub magic lanterns, but we can create important reasons for living, such as a paid job, volunteer work, gardening or another hobby, or just plain relaxing.  Idleness is sometimes good for improving our attitude.

The power of relaxation is a strong reason to keep me from becoming stressed.

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One Day At A Time
September 14, 2014
SLOW SUICIDE

“He who does not use his endeavors to heal himself is brother to him who commits suicide.”
–Solomon

Rather than a regular, sudden suicide, I have subtly entertained the idea of slow suicide. I have neglected myself: my health, my vision and my gifts. I have either taken actions that have harmed me, or I have neglected to take actions that would have helped me to live a longer and more productive life. I have stuffed my face with garbage, accepting that as my fate.

Today I have a program that teaches me that I can’t take care of myself alone and that I can, and will, receive help. I accept that help with humility, taking the Steps I am shown and using the tools I am offered. I begin to see that I have something to offer others and my life takes on new meaning and purpose.

One day at a time…
I pray that I will say “yes” to my own life today, and take actions which represent that “yes.”

~ Q

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 14

“Follow the Old One’s advise.”
–Tom Porter, MOHAWK

The Old One is called by many different names – Grandfather, The Four directions, Father Sky, Mother Earth. We should seek the advice of the Old One to help us build our vision. He will put inside of our mind and heart the vision that we are to follow. This vision is recognizable by the feeling that it has with it. This feeling is hard to describe. It feels “right,” it feels calm, it feels joyful, it feels warm, it feels sacred. The Old One has a way of letting us know it really it His advice. Listen carefully!

Grandfather, I’m listening.

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Journey to the Heart
September 14, 2014
There Is Power in Powerlessness

Sometimes we can’t help ourselves. No matter how hard we try, no matter how deeply we feel we should be doing things differently, no matter how committed we are to personal responsibility, free will, self-actualization, and self-determination, sometimes we simply cannot help ourselves.

We keep on doing the same old things. We can’t seem to change, even though we wish we could. It doesn’t mean we aren’t responsible, doesn’t mean we aren’t accountable. It means simply that for the present moment, we can’t change, can’t help ourselves, can’t do it differently.

Many of us have discovered a truth in these moments. There is power even in powerlessness. There is power in admitting powerlessness. By voicing the problem, by accepting the powerlessness, you are bringing– attracting– help. Ask for the help you need. Admit and accept your powerlessness.

Be gentle with yourself. You are not alone in your problem, your powerlessness, or your search for a solution. Let love lead the way to the answer you seek.

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Today’s Gift
September 14, 2014

Something can’t happen every day. You get up, go to work, come back, eat again, enjoy some leisure, go back to bed. Now that’s plenty for most folks.
Ntozake Shange

When we were all little kids, before we started school, the days felt so long it seemed like we had time for everything.

But when we started school, we had to start living by the clock, and in this way, we became very grown up. Sometimes we feel angry about living by the clock, all of us who are first grade and older! But there are things we can do to help us live with these limits.

First, we can learn to set a goal for each day, and once we have reached that goal–whether it’s doing spelling homework, mopping the floor, or writing three business letters–we can announce to whoever happens to be around, “Now that I’ve completed that, I don’t have to worry about one more thing to feel worthwhile.”

Second, we can believe what we said! We can relax, do something fun, enjoy the pleasures that the day offers.

What is my goal for today?

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The Language of Letting Go
September 14, 2014
What’s Good for Me?

When we are soul searching, be it for the smaller or larger decisions we face during the day, we can learn to ask, is this good for me?… Is this what I really want?… Is this what I need?…Does this direction feel right for me?…or am I succumbing to the control and influence that I sometimes allow others to have over me?

It is not unhealthy selfishness to question if something is good for us. That is an old way of thinking. To ask if something is good for us is a healthy behavior, not to be ashamed of, and will probably work out in the other person’s best interests too.

We shall not wander down a selfish path of self-indulgence by asking if a thing is good for us. We shall not stray from God’s intended plan, God’s highest good, by asking if a thing is good for us. By asking ourselves this simple question, we participate in directing our life toward the highest good and purpose; we own our power to hold ourselves in self-esteem.

Today, I will begin acting in my best interests. I will do this with the understanding that, on occasion, my choices will not please everyone around me. I will do this with the understanding that asking if a thing is good for me will ultimately help me take true responsibility for my life and my choices.

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More Language Of Letting Go
September 14, 2014
Affirm yourself

When I began flying and skydiving, I found myself fumbling inadequately with new roles or parts of myself. When I began writing, I found myself fumbling with that part of myself. I want to be a writer, I’d think, but I’m not, at least not yet. I have to get this number of books published and this number of good reviews first.

It can take years and many successes in any new area in our lives before we can confidently say to ourselves and others, I am. I am a skydiver. I am a pilot. I am a writer. Oh, the power of those words I am.

You may not have much parenting experience if your first child was born last week, but you are a mother. I didn’t have my ten year medallion yet, but on the first day of my recovery I could honestly say, “I’m a recovering addict and alcoholic.”

Who or what do you want to become? A good parent? A sober, recovering person? A good girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse? Do you want to become happy, peaceful, tolerant? Don’t wait until you’re successful to tell yourself you’re that. Start now by saying you are what you want to become instead of reinforcing the words I’m not. Yes, you have much to learn. Yes, there’s a ways to go on that path. And you may not be proficient at it, or an expert, yet. But you don’t have to be to say those two little words I am.

Help create the new part of your personality by using and affirming those powerful words I am. Then watch as a new part of yourself emerges.

God, help me use my creative powers to create a better, more fulfilling life. Help me use the words I am to create who you and I want me to be.

Activity: Create your own affirmations. We each have our own path to follow; we each have different needs at different times. Pick out one area of your life that you’re working on. Then give yourself one affirmation that helps you create the new reality you’re working hard to create. The first two words of the affirmation need to be I am. Say this affirmation out loud seven times while looking in the mirror. Do this three times a day, once in the morning, once midday, and once before retiring at night. Do this for twenty-one consecutive days, without missing one day– or until you don’t need to say it aloud anymore because you believe it.

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 Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 14, 2014

When a person drowns himself in negative thinking he is committing an unspeakable crime against himself.
—Maxwell Maltz

Negative thoughts can rule our lives as compulsively as an addiction. The feelings of power we get from holding a dismal and gloomy outlook deprive us of the positive and pleasant parts of life. Some of us have said, “If I expect the worst, I won’t be disappointed. If I think the worst about myself, no one else can cut me down.” It is like taking a driving trip and looking only for trash and garbage in the ditches, ignoring the beauty beyond. Indeed, what we see may be real, but it is a very limited piece of the picture.

When we have relied on negative thinking, it feels risky to give it up. We cannot do it in one day. We can begin by imagining ourselves with a more open attitude toward the world and ourselves. Then we can try it out as an experiment in little ways, with no commitment. Finally we reach the point where we can take a risk and entrust our Higher Power with the outcome.

Today, I will experiment with hopeful and positive thoughts about what happens.

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Daily TAO
September 14, 2014
Breakthrough

In late summer, heaven’s breath is damply hot.
It smothers the earth with dullness.
Suddenly, thick clouds gather :
A wave of polar air passes like a frigid rake.
Acorns fall like bullets,
And a new wind breaks through.

When the air is hot and humid, there is a feeling of dullness and stagnation. Everyone is oppressed by lassitude. As the seasons begin changing, fresh air comes from the arctic. Clouds that have been building up begin to dispense rain, and damp air is exchanged for fresh, cool breezes.  At night, the heavens are changing so quickly that lightning flashes from colliding clouds, and thunder heralds the revolving of the skies.

The same is true of human life. If the heavens cannot endure stagnation for long, how can stagnation last with us? If we find ourselves blocked and frustrated in life, we must look for the inevitable outlet. Nothing is permanent, so how can our obstacles last? We need to look for the first opportunity to set things moving again.

On the other hand, sometimes stagnation comes from our own laziness or incompetence. In this case, then it is we who must show initiative and stimulate a breakthrough in dull circumstances. As soon as we see a chance, we must act. Unless we engage ourselves and events fully, we cannot expect to act sufficiently.

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Daily Zen
September 14, 2014

If you don’t climb a thousand crags,
How can you learn
All things are empty?

The mountain’s head is white and mine is too.
December dies, the year
Runs out its string as all things do.

At the summit: one rude hut, the snow,
This lonely body, and the wind.
I lean on the rail, heart sudden struck:
The moon rises from the Great River: there.

– Yuan Me (1716-1798)

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Food For Thought
September 14, 2014
Emptiness

When we were overeating, we felt empty inside no matter how much we ate. Now that we are abstaining, we may still experience periods of feeling empty. This emptiness is especially likely to occur after an occasion to which we have looked forward with much anticipation.

Perhaps we expect too much from a person or an event and feel let down when reality falls short of our anticipation. Perhaps we find ourselves with a group of people whose conversation is superficial and relationships are phony. Putting on a mask and keeping it in place for any length of time leaves us feeling drained and empty.

Without honest, meaningful contact with other people, we are emotionally undernourished. In order to have the mutually nurturing relationships we need, our false fronts have to be abandoned. Through this program, we learn to seek out the kinds of people and activities that fill us and to avoid those that leave us empty

Fill my emptiness, Lord.

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Faiths Checkbook
September 14, 2014
Mark of Divine Approval

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
(James 1:12)

Yes, he is blessed while he is enduring the trial. No eye can see this till he has been anointed with heavenly eye salve. But he must endure it and neither rebel against God nor turn aside from his integrity. He is blessed who has gone through the fire and has not been consumed as a counterfeit.

When the test is over, then comes the hallmark of divine approval—”the crown of life.” As if the Lord said, “Let him live; he has been weighed in the balances, and he is not found wanting.” Life is the reward: not mere being, but holy, happy, true existence, the realization of the divine purpose concerning us. Already a higher form of spiritual life and enjoyment crowns those who have safely passed through fiercest trials of faith and love.

The Lord hath promised the crown of life to those who love Him. Only lovers of the Lord will hold out in the hour of trial; the rest will either sink or sulk, or slink back to the world. Come, my heart, dost thou love thy Lord? Truly? Deeply? Wholly? Then that love will be tried; but many waters will not quench it, neither will the Roods drown it, Lord, let Thy love nourish mine to the end.

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This Mornings Reading
September 14, 2014

“There were also with Him other little ships.”
—Mark 4:36.

JESUS was the Lord High Admiral of the sea that night, and His presence preserved the whole convoy. It is well to sail with Jesus, even though it be in a little ship. When we sail in Christ’s company, we may not make sure of fair weather, for great storms may toss the vessel which carries the Lord Himself, and we must not expect to find the sea less boisterous around our little boat. If we go with Jesus we must be content to fare as He fares; and when the waves are rough to Him, they will be rough to us. It is by tempest and tossing that we shall come to land, as He did before us. When the storm swept over Galilee’s dark lake all faces gathered blackness, and all hearts dreaded shipwreck.

When all creature help was useless, the slumbering Saviour arose, and with a word, transformed the riot of the tempest into the deep quiet of a calm; then were the little vessels at rest as well as that which carried the Lord. Jesus is the star of the sea; and though there be sorrow upon the sea, when Jesus is on it there is joy too. May our hearts make Jesus their anchor, their rudder, their lighthouse, their life-boat, and their harbour. His Church is the Admiral’s flagship, let us attend her movements, and cheer her officers with our presence. He Himself is the great attraction; let us follow ever in His wake, mark His signals, steer by His chart, and never fear while He is within hail. Not one ship in the convoy shall suffer wreck; the great Commodore will steer every barque in safety to the desired haven. By faith we will slip our cable for another day’s cruise, and sail forth with Jesus into a sea of tribulation. Winds and waves will not spare us, but they all obey Him; and, therefore, whatever squalls may occur without, faith shall feel a blessed calm within. He is ever in the centre of the weather-beaten company: let us rejoice in Him. His vessel has reached the haven, and so shall ours.

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This Evenings Reading
September 14, 2014

“I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”
—Psalm 32:5.

DAVID’S grief for sin was bitter. Its effects were visible upon his outward frame: “his bones waxed old”; “his moisture was turned into the drought of summer.” No remedy could he find, until he made a full confession before the throne of the heavenly grace. He tells us that for a time he kept silence, and his heart became more and more filled with grief: like a mountain tarn whose outlet is blocked up, his soul was swollen with torrents of sorrow. He fashioned excuses; he endeavoured to divert his thoughts, but it was all to no purpose; like a festering sore his anguish gathered, and as he would not use the lancet of confession, his spirit was full of torment, and knew no rest. At last it came to this, that he must return unto his God in humble penitence, or die outright; so he hastened to the mercy-seat, and there unrolled the volume of his iniquities before the all-seeing One, acknowledging all the evil of his ways in language such as you read in the fifty-first and other penitential Psalms. Having done this, a work so simple and yet so difficult to pride, he received at once the token of divine forgiveness; the bones which had been broken were made to rejoice, and he came forth from his closet to sing the blessedness of the man whose transgression is forgiven. See the value of a grace-wrought confession of sin! It is to be prized above all price, for in every case where there is a genuine, gracious confession, mercy is freely given, not because the repentance and confession deserve mercy, but for Christ’s sake. Blessed be God, there is always healing for the broken heart; the fountain is ever flowing to cleanse us from our sins. Truly, O Lord, Thou art a God “ready to pardon!” Therefore will we acknowledge our iniquities.

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