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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – April 16

Just For Today
April 16
“Acting As If”

“Today, we seek solutions, not problems. We try what we have learned on an experimental basis.”
Basic Text p. 55

The first time we heard that we should “act as if” many of us exclaimed, “But that’s not honest! I thought we were always supposed to be honest about our feelings in Narcotics Anonymous.”

Perhaps we can reflect on when we first came into the program. We may not have believed in God, but we prayed anyway. Or maybe we weren’t sure the program would work for us, but we kept coming to meetings regardless of what we thought. The same applies as we progress in recovery. We may be terrified of crowds, but if we act confidently and extend our hand, we’ll not only feel better about ourselves, we’ll find that we are no longer so frightened of large gatherings.

Each action we take in this vein brings us closer to becoming the people we were meant to be. Each positive change we make builds our self-esteem. Through acting differently, we will realize that we are beginning to think differently. We are living ourselves into right thinking by “acting as if.”

Just for today: I will take the opportunity to act as if I can accept a situation I used to run from.

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Daily Reflections
April 16
ANGER: A “DUBIOUS LUXURY”

If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of the normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison.
–ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 66

“Dubious luxury.” How often have I remembered those words. It’s not just anger that’s best left to nonalcoholics; I built a list including justifiable resentment, self-pity, judgmentalism, self-righteousness, false pride and false humility. I’m always surprised to read the actual quote.  So well have the principles of the program been drummed into me that I keep thinking all of these defects are listed too. Thank God I can’t afford them–or I surely would indulge in them.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
April 16
A.A. Thought For The Day

In A.A. we have insurance. Our faith in God is a kind of insurance against the terrible things that might happen to us if we ever drink again. By putting our drink problem in the hands of God, we’ve taken out a sort of insurance policy, which insures us against the ravages of drink, as our homes are insured against destruction by fire. Am I paying my A.A. insurance premiums regularly?

Meditation For The Day

I must try to love all humanity. Love comes from thinking of every man or woman as your brother or sister, because they are children of God. This way of thinking makes me care enough about them to really want to help them. I must put this kind of love into action by serving others. Love means no severe judging, no resentments, no malicious gossip, and no destructive criticism. It means patience, understanding, compassion, and helpfulness.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may realize that God loves me, since He is the Father of us all. I pray that I in turn may have love for all of His children.

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As Bill Sees It
April 16
“Perfect” Humility, p. 106

For myself, I try to seek out the truest definition of humility that I can. This will not be the perfect definition, because I shall always be imperfect.

At this writing, I would choose one like this: “Absolutely humility would consist of a state of complete freedom from myself, freedom from all the claims that my defects of character now lay so heavily upon me. Perfect humility would be a full willingness, in all times and places, to find and to do the will of God.”

When I meditate upon such a vision, I need not be dismayed because I shall never attain it, nor need I swell with presumption that one of these days its virtues shall all be mine.

I only need to dwell on the vision itself, letting it grow and ever more fill my heart. This done, I can compare it with my last-taken personal inventory. Then I get a sane and healthy idea of where I stand on the highway to humility. I see that my journey toward God has scarce begun.

As I thus get down to my right size and stature, my self-concern and importance become amusing.

Grapevine, June 1961

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Walk in Dry Places
April 16
Fix the Need
Taking Inventory

Recovering users have a saying: “Need a fix? Fix the need” It’s great advice, if we combine it with our daily inventory.

In good behavior and bad, we’re always trying to meet our needs. As compulsive people, we have lots of experience with destructive ways of meeting them. Driven by nameless hungers, we tried desperately to combat boredom, to raise our low self-esteem, to find companionship. What we actually did was place more distance between ourselves and the true satisfying of our needs.

On the new path, one way of fixing needs is to come to terms with them. Maybe we had a need for success that was really a frantic effort to “show others” that we were all right. We should want to succeed, but let’s begin by exchanging any false goal for one that’s right for us. Maybe we have other needs that are based on defective principles and immature hopes.

What do we rally need? All of us need self-honesty, self-worth, friendship, and purpose…. all available in the AA program as part of sober living. Finding these, we’ll gain insight that will enable to sort out and understand other needs,….. and perhaps find those that correspond to our heart’s desire and bring real happiness. It’s something we can turn over, because God knows our needs before we even ask.

I’ll remember today that my needs exist to serve my way of life, and that I must never be a slave to them.

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Keep It Simple
April 16

No human creature can give order to love.
–George Sand

If we are trying to get others to love us, all we’re really doing is trying to be in control. Trying to control others can be a powerful drug. Remember, we can’t control others. We can’t make others love us. Our Higher Power has control, not us.

So, what do we need to do? Turn things over to our Higher Power and just be ourselves. Sure, it can scare us to just be ourselves. The truth is, not everyone will love us. But if we’re honest about who we are, others will respect us. We’ll like ourselves better. And we’ll have a better chance of loving others and being loved.

Prayer for the Day: I pray to have my need for control lifted from me. I pray to be rid of self-will.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list five ways my self-will—my need to control—has gotten me in trouble.

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Each Day a New Beginning
April 16

In the face of an obstacle which is impossible to overcome, stubbornness is stupid.
–Simone de Beauvoir

Sudden obstacles, barriers in the way of our progress, doors that unexpectedly close, may confuse, frustrate, even depress us. The knowledge that we seldom understand just what is best for us, comes slowly. And we generally fight it, even after we’ve begun to understand. Fortunately, the better path will keep drawing us to it.

We may wonder why a door seems to have closed. Our paths are confounded only when our steps have gone astray. Doors do not close unless a new direction is called for. We must learn to trust that no obstacle is without its purpose, however baffling it may seem.

The program can help us understand the unexpected. We perhaps need to focus on the first three Steps when an obstacle has surfaced. We may need to accept our powerlessness, believe there is a higher power in control, and look to it for guidance. We may also need to remind ourselves that fighting an obstacle, pushing against a closed door, will only heighten our frustration. Acceptance of what is will open our minds and our hearts to the better road to travel at this time.

The obstacles confronting me invite me to grow, to move beyond my present self. They offer me chances to be the woman I always dreamed of being. I will be courageous. I am not alone.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
April 16
LISTENING TO THE WIND

– It took an “angel” to introduce this Native American woman to A.A. and recovery.

I needed transportation, but cars cost too much money. Where could I get lots of money? It did not seem appropriate to go back to prostitution in the same town where I was raising my son. I could take the bus to the next town, work all night, and come home in the morning if I could get someone to watch my little boy. The night job paid well. As long as I didn’t work too close to home where my child would attend school, everything would be fine. Also, I could drink on the job. I kept the welfare, though, because it provided health insurance.

p. 461

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
April 16

Step Four – “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

We also clutch at another wonderful excuse for avoiding an inventory. Our present anxieties and troubles, we cry, are caused by the behavior of other people–people who really need a moral inventory. We firmly believe that if only they’d treat us better, we’d be all right. Therefore we think our indignation is justified and reasonable–that our resentments are the “right kind.” We aren’t the guilty ones. They are!

pp. 45-46

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Xtra Thoughts
April 16

“One of the tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon, instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”
–Dale Carnegie

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
–Oprah Winfrey

Deep, abiding joy is available to anyone who learns the secret of pursuing every task with energy and dedication, as though it were a calling.
–Thomas Kinkade

The value of life lies, not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them: a man may live long, yet live very little.
–Michel de Montaigne

It is not length of life, but depth of life.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do not return hurt for hut.
–Jerry C. Whybrew

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
April 16
LAUGHTER

“You grow up the day you have the first real laugh – at yourself.”
–Ethel Barrymore

Today I can laugh at myself. I do not take myself too seriously and I am beginning to grow. I used to be so serious. Having the “poor me’s”, sitting on my pity pot demanding attention; I was so unhappy. And I was causing my unhappiness.

Then a friend listened to my complaints for half an hour and then began to laugh, giving out a real belly-laugh and at that point I began to laugh, too! My attitude was so stupid, selfish and futile that it demanded a laugh to shake me out of it – at that point I began to grow.

Today I laugh at my funny little ways, my funny little walk, my ridiculous pretensions, my grandiose behavior. Today with the laughter comes humility.

O Lord, let me experience the miracle of laughter.

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“Peace be with you.
–John 20:21a

“If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.”
–1 John 1:7

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Daily Inspiration
April 16

Don’t spend a lot of time second guessing yourself because often times our first choice is the best choice and, if it isn’t, we are free to choose again. Lord, guide me through all of my decisions and help me to be flexible enough to change my mind when necessary.

Never let the abundance of gifts from God cause you to forget the Giver. Lord, may I start and end each day with a thank you to You for all of my blessings including those which I take for granted.

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A Day At A Time
April 16

Reflection For The Day

I once heard it said that “the mind is the slayer of the real.”  Looking back at the insanity of those days when I was actively addicted, I know precisely what that phrase means.  One of The Program’s important fringe benefits for me today is an increasing awareness of the world around me, so I can see and enjoy reality.  This alone helps diminish the difficulties I so often magnify, creating my own misery in the process.  Am I acquiring the sense of reality which is absolutely essential to serenity?

Today I Pray

May I be revived by a sharpened sense of reality, excited to see — for the first time since the blur of my worst moments — the wonders and opportunities in my world.  Emerging from the don’t-care haze of addiction, I see objects and faces coming into focus again, colors brightening.  May I take delight in this new-found brightness.

Today I Will Remember

To focus on my realities.

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One More Day
April 16

Any real progress in the tangled world of emotions must be made by the individual.  Each of us must hold the mirror to our own souls and gaze intently at what we see there.
–  Benard S. Raskas

“Making do” is an old-fashioned phrase that signifies our ability to manage with whatever we have.  We have all thought of that phrase in terms of food, money, or clothes, but rarely in terms of health.

If we have not begun to cope with our limitations, we may find ourselves wallowing in the negativity of self-pity or anger.  We may become so entangled in these self defeating thoughts that we lose our ability to grow and to see other real choices.  Instead of raging at the unfairness of poor health or limited mobility, we can “make do” with the strength, time, ability, and creativity we sill have.

I will use what I have and not bemoan what I don’t have.

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One Day At A Time
April 16
PAIN

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
–Kahlil Gibran

How many of us in recovery thought we were in pain before seeking help, only to find that recovery itself was even more painful? I know that is how my progress in Twelve Step recovery from compulsive eating has been. Fortunately, pain in recovery doesn’t break my spirit the way pain did before I started working the Twelve Steps. As I work my recovery, the walls that I had built for protection around my inner-spirit are being slowly broken down and moved away.

This changing and renewing of my inner-self is extremely painful at times. If I didn’t have the tools of the program, (such as sponsorship, a food plan, working the Steps, and conscious contact with my Higher Power) there would be no understanding born out of my pain. Before recovery, the pain would start to fill my inner-shell with self-pity, self-disgust and despair. Now when the pain comes to me, I’ve slowly learned to embrace it and hold it close to my heart. This new pain means that I will be shown by my Higher Power the insight and understanding needed for me to continue this daily recovery process. Does this mean I am filled with joy as I see the pain coming? Absolutely not! This means that I now have a power greater than myself to shield me from the pain that would break me. After feeling the pain needed to give me understanding, I am given healing to continue my journey.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will seek to feel and face the pain on this journey, knowing that understanding and healing will follow through my Higher Power’s hand.

~ Ohitika

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 16

“But one should pray in one’s heart during a sacred ceremony; this is the purpose of the ceremony, to purify the participants both inside and outside.”
–Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

How do you know if you are praying from your heart or from your head? Pray from your head and you will feel nothing; pray from your heart and you will feel feelings. You may feel sorrow, you may feel joy, you may want to cry, depending on what you are praying for.
During the ceremony, the cleansing will take place. The Medicine Wheel teaches the four directions of inner power: emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. The prayer controls the emotional, mental and physical. When we ask for purification of our feelings, our mental mind and our physical body, the spiritual direction causes the cleansing to happen.

Great Spirit, create in me a clean heart.

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Journey To The Heart
April 16
You’ll See the Answer

The answer you are looking for may be right before your eyes.

Have you asked the question? Have you put it out to God, the universe, yourself, and the world?

What do I need to do now? What do I need to do next? Where and why am I stuck? What am I not seeing? What’s the answer? I need a clue.

Often, asking the question means the answer is trying to find you. Follow your heart, then open your eyes. You’ll see it.

The answer may be right in front of you.

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Today’s Gift
April 16

. . . there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.
—Booker T. Washington

It’s not what we do for a job that counts, it’s how we do it. It’s not what our chores at home might be, it’s how we do them. And it’s not what grades we get in school, but rather how hard we try. Doing our best, whether it’s making a bed, writing a report, or listening to a friend tell about an experience gives us a good feeling about ourselves.

Each of us is special to one another. And we are special to this very moment. Because what is past can’t be repeated, let’s remember to enjoy every moment as it comes. Let’s pay close attention to each person, each activity that we encounter today. It’s not what we do today, but how we do it that counts.

Can I do each thing well today, even the small things?

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The Language of Letting Go
April 16
Letting Things Happen

We do not have to work so hard at gaining our insights. Yes, we’re learning that painful and disappointing things happen, often for a reason and a higher purpose. Yes, these things often work out for good. But we don’t have to spend so much time and energy figuring out the purpose and plan for each detail of our life. That’s hypervigilence!

Sometimes, the car doesn’t start. Sometimes, the dishwasher breaks. Sometimes, we catch a cold. Sometimes, we run out of hot water. Sometimes, we have a bad day. While it helps to achieve acceptance and gratitude for these irritating annoyances, we don’t have to process everything and figure out if it’s in the scheme of things.

Solve the problem. Get the car repaired. Fix the dishwasher. Nurse yourself through the cold. Wait to take the shower until there’s hot water. Nurture yourself through your bad day. Tend to your responsibilities, and don’t take everything so personally!

If we need to recognize a particular insight or awareness, we will be guided in that direction. Certainly, we want to watch for patterns. But often, the big insights and the significant processing happen naturally.

We don’t have to question every occurrence to see how it fits into the Plan. The Plan – the awareness, the insight, and the potential for personal growth – will reveal itself to us. Perhaps the lesson is to learn to solve our problems without always knowing their significance. Perhaps the lesson is to trust ourselves to live, and experience, life.

Today, I will let things happen without worrying about the significance of each event. I will trust that this will bring about my growth faster than running around with a microscope. I will trust my lessons to reveal themselves in their own time.

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More Language Of Letting Go
April 16
Say what’s next best

Okay, so you can’t have what you want most in life.

What’s next on your list? If you can’t have what you really want, put that aside. It’s a no. It doesn’t mean you can’t have other things. Don’t let it contaminate the rest of your life. So you can’t have that particular relationship. What do you want, a good healthy love relationship? Put it on your want list. So you can’t live in that house. What did you like about that house? What would you like in the place you want to live?

Dig deeply. Look inside. I bet there’s all kinds of dreams buried in you. Go ahead. Take a risk. Let them come out. Look– you’re already thinking about something you denied yourself a long time ago.

Most of us have things in life we wanted more than anything or anyone else. Many of us have had to learn to let these things or people go. Put all the things you can’t have on a different list. Or maybe add it to your list of questions to God, your “why’s.” “God, why couldn’t I have that when it’s what I wanted most?” Then let it go.

Now make another list. Call it, “if I can’t have what I wanted most, what would I want next best, after that.

God, help me come up with a next best list. Show me what to put on it and help my dreams come true.

Activity: Make a wishes and dreams list. This is a very important list. We talked about doing it at the first of the year. If you made your list then and are satisfied with it, maybe this activity isn’t for you. But if you think you may have held back, or you didn’t make the list at all, the time is right for you to start pursuing your dreams. If you could have anything in life, what would it be? What places would you visit? What peope would you meet? What kind of work would you do? Where would you live? What kind of spiritual growth would you experience? How would you treat others, and yourself? What ideals would guide your actions? What would your ethics be in life? Spice this list up. Don’t hold back.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
April 16

A woman should be able to be both independent and dependent, active and passive, relaxed and serious, practical and romantic, tender and tough minded, thinking and feeling, dominant and submissive. So, obviously, should a man!
—Pierre Mornell

The weakest men, most vulnerable to stresses in life, are those with narrow ideas about masculinity. In our growth, we are finding parts of ourselves we didn’t know were there. Some of us are finding the tough part of us that makes it possible to stand up to our bosses or our wives or lovers when necessary. We are also finding the soft parts, warm parts, sad parts. And the greater the variety of sides we develop, the more successful we are in meeting life.

Whatever we discover about ourselves is another example of being human. Sometimes we might think what we feel is not right, or is weak or sick. We need never fear our feelings. The denial of our feelings had devastating effects on us. Knowing and accepting our many sides will lead us into strength and health.

I am thankful that I am able to be both sides of many coins.

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Daily TAO
April 16
CAREFREE

Two ducks nestled in lake-side grass.
Both marked by the same brilliant purple at the wing.
Water provides food, bath, and play,
What need do they have for scholarship?

Animals need no schooling. They are perfect, without any need for long instruction. They know what to do by instinct and example. Tao is always there for them. It sustains them and nurtures them. There is no need for them to be specially aware of Tao or to study it: They have no rational consciousness to separate them from Tao.

It is only humanity that constantly divorces itself from Tao. We therefore need methods of reintegration. If we could go beyond the interfering sense of the self, then we would know Tao in as constant and carefree a manner as ducks.

“Forget learning,” say those who follow Tao, but what they don’t append is that you must first have learning before you can forget it. If you would be unencumbered by the weight of knowledge, then you must return to a state of deep intuitiveness. This is not the same as mere selfish behavior — just doing what you feel like doing — because your actions are likely to be dictated more by lusts, obsessions, compulsions, and habits than anything natural. Only through the clarification of spiritual training will you reach the ground of deep intuition and the freedom that it affords.

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DailyZen
April 16

When one contemplates
Sickness, old age, and death,
One sees that no one and nothing
Can escape them.
When compassion is born
In the heart,
One sees that there is no reason
To add to the evil and pain.

– Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom

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Food for Thought
April 16
Helping Others

Twelfth Step work is essential in OA, since in order to keep the program ourselves we have to give it away. Each of us finds opportunities to share what we have received.

It is discouraging when someone we wish to help turns down the program. It is hard to know what to say or do when a friend who needs OA responds to our efforts with indifference or hostility. Sometimes, those we are trying to help take advantage of our time and patience. Often, we feel inadequate when we encounter a person with seemingly overwhelming and insoluble problems.

As we go about our Twelfth Step work, let’s remember that the best way we can help someone else is by maintaining our own abstinence. Let’s also remember to turn over our perplexities to our Higher Power. We do the best we can, according to the insight we are given at the time, and we leave the results to God.

Show me what to do for those I would help.

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In God’s Care
April 16

God is no enemy to you. He asks no more than that He hear you call Him “Friend.”
~~A Course in Miracles

It is natural for us to take a bit of pride in where we find ourselves today. It is natural for self-centered people like us to think we owe it all to our own efforts. So it’s an imposition to be asked to turn our will over to our Creator. We sometimes feel resentful at the suggestion that God can do a better job of running our life.

We don’t even want to think about the sacrifices we might have to make with God in charge. But God doesn’t ask for sacrifice. God is not our enemy; we are. God only asks, as our friend, to be included in our decisions.

My prayer today: Thanks, Friend, for my continuing recovery. Join me in everything that I do today.

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Faith’s Check Book
April 16
All Turned to Holiness

In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, holiness unto the Lord,
–(Zechariah 14:20)

Happy day when all things shall be consecrated, and the horses’ bells shall ring out holiness to the Lord! That day has come to me. Do I not make all things holy to God? These garments, when I put them on or take them off, shall they not remind me of the righteousness of Christ Jesus my Lord? Shall not my work be done as unto the Lord? Oh, that today my clothes may be vestments, my meals sacraments, my house a temple, my table an altar, my speech incense, and myself a priest! Lord, fulfill Thy promise, and let nothing be to me common or unclean.

Let me in faith expect this. Believing it to be so, I shall be helped to make it so. As I myself am the property of Jesus, my Lord may take an inventory of all I have, for it is altogether His own; and I resolve to prove it to be so by the use to which I put it this day. From morning till evening I would order all things by a happy and holy rule. My bells shall ring—why should they not? Even my horses shall have bells—who has such a right to music as the saints have? But alt my bells, my music, my mirth, shall be turned to holiness and shall ring out the name of “the happy God.”

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This Morning’s Meditation
April 16

“The precious blood of Christ.”—1 Peter 1:19.

STANDING at the foot of the cross, we see hands, and feet, and side, all distilling crimson streams of precious blood. It is “precious” because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it the sins of Christ’s people are atoned for; they are redeemed from under the law; they are reconciled to God, made one with Him. Christ’s blood is also “precious” in its cleansing power; it “cleanseth from all sin.” “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Through Jesus’ blood there is not a spot left upon any believer, no wrinkle nor any such thing remains. O precious blood, which makes us clean, removing the stains of abundant iniquity, and permitting us to stand accepted in the Beloved, notwithstanding the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God. The blood of Christ is likewise “precious” in its preserving power. We are safe from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember it is God’s seeing the blood which is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God’s eye is still the same. The blood of Christ is “precious” also in its sanctifying influence. The same blood which justifies by taking away sin, does in its after-action, quicken the new nature and lead it onward to subdue sin and to follow out the commands of God. There is no motive for holiness so great as that which streams from the veins of Jesus. And “precious,” unspeakably precious, is this blood, because it has an overcoming power. It is written, “They overcame through the blood of the Lamb.” How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus, fights with a weapon which cannot know defeat. The blood of Jesus! sin dies at its presence, death ceases to be death: heaven’s gates are opened. The blood of Jesus! we shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power!

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