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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – April 18

Just For Today
April 18
“I Understand”

“We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
Step Seven

Once we are entirely ready to have our character defects removed, many of us are entirely ready! Ironically, that’s when the trouble really starts. The more we struggle to rid ourselves of a particular defect, the stronger that shortcoming seems to become. It is truly humbling to realize that not only are we powerless over our addiction, but even over our own defects of character.

Finally, it clicks. The Seventh Step doesn’t suggest that we rid ourselves of our shortcomings, but that we ask our Higher Power to rid us of them. The focus of our daily prayers begins to shift. Admitting our inability to perfect ourselves, we plead with our Higher Power to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. And we wait.

For many days, our program may stay on Step Seven. We may experience no sudden, total relief from defects – but we often do experience a subtle shift in our perceptions of ourselves and others. Through the eyes of the Seventh Step, we begin to see those around us in a less critical way. We know that, just like us, many of them are struggling with shortcomings they would dearly love to be rid of. We know that, just like us, they are powerless over their own defects. We wonder if they, too, humbly pray to have their defects removed.

We begin evaluating others as we have learned to evaluate ourselves, with an empathy born of humility. As we watch others, and as we keep watch on ourselves, we can finally say, “I understand.”

Just for today: God, help me see through the eyes of Step Seven. Help me understand.

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Daily Reflections
April 18
SELF-HONESTY

The deception of others is nearly always rooted in the deception of ourselves. . . . When we are honest with another person, it confirms that we have been honest with ourselves and with God.
–AS BILL SEES IT, p. 17

When I was drinking, I deceived myself about reality, rewriting it to what I wanted it to be. Deceiving others is a character defect–even if it is just stretching the truth a bit or cleaning up my motives so others would think well of me. My Higher Power can remove this character defect, but first I have to help myself become willing to receive that help by not practicing deception.  I need to remember each day that deceiving myself about myself is setting myself up for failure or disappointment in life and in Alcoholics Anonymous. A close, honest relationship with a Higher Power is the only solid foundation I’ve found for honesty with self and with others.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
April 18
A.A. Thought For The Day

As I look back over my drinking career, have I learned that you take out of life what you put into it? When I put drinking into my life, did I take out a lot of bad things? Hospitals with the D.T.’s? Jails for drunken driving? Loss of job? Loss of home and family? When I put drinking into my life, was almost everything I took out bad?

Meditation For The Day

I should strive for a friendliness and helpfulness that will affect all who come near to me. I should try to see something to love in them. I should welcome them, bestow little courtesies and understandings on them, and help them if they ask for help. I must send no one away without a word of cheer, a feeling that I really care about them. God may have put the impulse in some despairing one’s mind to come to me. I must not fail God by repulsing that person. They may not want to communicate with me unless they are sure of a warm welcome.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may warmly welcome all who come to me for help.  I pray that I may make them feel that I really care.

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As Bill Sees It
April 18
Freedom Through Acceptance, p. 109

We admitted we couldn’t lick alcohol with our own remaining resources, and so we accepted the further fact that dependence upon a Higher Power (if only our A.A. group) could do this hitherto impossible job. The moment we were able to accept these facts fully, our release from the alcohol compulsion had begun.

For most of us, this pair of acceptances had required a lot of exertion to achieve. Our whole treasured philosophy of self-sufficiency had to be cast aside. This had not been done with sheer will power; it came instead as the result of developing the willingness to accept these new facts of living.

We neither ran nor fought. But accept we did. And then we begun to be free.

Grapevine, March 1962

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Walk in Dry Places
April 18
Mistakes are for learning
Personal growth.

One sign of an alcoholic’s immaturity is revealed in responses to personal mistakes. We take each simple mistake as further proof of our inadequacy. As one person observed, “I can handle a general catastrophe, but running my nylons can ruin my day.”

Some of us may feel we’re victims of past conditioning… a parent, for example, who berated us when the slightest thing went wrong. But we’re at fault if we continue to let ourselves be victimized by such experience. We should give no person.. past, present, or future—the right to set the level of our self-esteem .

Properly viewed, all mistakes are for learning purposes. We often have to make a few mistakes before we can learn anything. Sometimes a mistake can occur simply to teach us one basic lesson… that we are human and cannot be perfect in everything we do.

Above, all, we should never condemn ourselves for the countless mistakes that occurred while we were drinking. Our alcoholism, a terrible mistake in the sight of many, led to the deep learning we find in AA. Nothing that brings us this far can really be a mistake in the sight of God.

In sobriety, I’m learning tolerate the shortcomings and mistakes of others. I will extend the same grace to myself today if I make a simple mistake.

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Keep It Simple
April 18

Patience is needed with everyone, but first of all with ourselves.
–St. Francis de Sales

How do you treat yourself? Do you talk to yourself in a kind and loving voice? We can’t be kind and loving to others until we learn to be kind and loving with ourselves. To live this way, we must give ourselves the gift of patience.

Let’s practice patience with ourselves daily. Practice talking to yourself in a kind, loving voice.

Your voice will be that of a loving parent who helps a child with a new task. Your Higher Power

Is willing to be patient with you. Give yourself the same gift.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I pray that I’ll treat myself and others with the same loving patience You’ve shown me.

Action for the Day: I will listen to how I talk to myself. I will practice talking to myself with a kind, loving, and patient voice.

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Each Day a New Beginning
April 18

To oppose something is to maintain it.
–Ursula K. LeGuin

Most of our struggles are with other persons or perhaps situations we want to change. We discover that our continual opposition adds fuel to the fires (at least our own internal ones). But can we turn our backs when we feel justified in our opposition? There’s perhaps no more difficult action to take than to walk away from those situations we feel so strongly about, but the wisdom of this program says, “Let go and let God.” And when we do let go, as if by magic, relief comes. The fires die out. That which we opposed is less troubling, maybe even gone. We no longer feel the need to struggle today. The need may rise again, but again we can turn to our higher power. Trusting that relief awaits us, ensures its arrival.

As women we discover many opportunities for opposition, too many persons and situations that make difficult our changing roles–too many persons who don’t easily accept our changing characters. The strength to let go and let God we must share with one another.

I maintain my struggles with righteous behavior. They lose their sting when they lose my opposition. I will step aside and let God.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
April 18
LISTENING TO THE WIND

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

We moved in together and my working arrangements became nearly impossible to live with. So did my conscience. One night on my way to work, I sat in rush-hour traffic on the freeway. I broke down in tears and felt all the lies of my life burst open inside of me. I hated myself and I wanted to die. I couldn’t tell him the truth, but I couldn’t continue to lie to him either. Suddenly a great light came on. It was the best idea I had ever had. I got off the freeway at the next ramp, drove home, and told him I got fired! He took it well, and we celebrated with a huge bottle of wine.

p. 462

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
April 18

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

The sponsors of those who feel they need no inventory are confronted with quite another problem. This is because people who are driven by pride of self unconsciously blind themselves to their liabilities. These newcomers scarcely need comforting. The problem is to help them discover a chink in the walls their ego has built, through which the light of reason can shine.

p. 46

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Xtra Thoughts
April 18

Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.
–Michael Jordan

Live For Today. . . Yesterday’s History. . . And Tomorrow Belongs To God
—  Unknown

The will of God will never take you to where the grace of God will not protect you. To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.
–Bernadette Devlin

A good mountain climber never looks up to see how far he has to go………… He looks down to see how far he’s come.
–Mark Kostew

The difficulties of life are intended to make us better not bitter.
–Unknown

“Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.”
–Dale Carnegie

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
April 18
GOD

“Any God I ever felt in Church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did, too. They come to Church to share God, not find God.”
–Alice Walker

God is within us! At one time I would find that statement blasphemous or incomprehensible. I always thought God was a long way off – separate, unknowable and judgmental. He was much more a judge than a friend. I saw myself more the sinner than the son. Naturally, with such a low self-esteem it was hard to associate God with my life, let alone consider God existing within me!

Then I began to search for the spiritual path that leads to a deeper understanding of self – and I found a loving, gentle and friendly God.  His love was so pervasive in His world that I was able to discover Him in my life and the lives of others. The concept of meeting together to share God made sense. The concept of discovering a God within and without made God knowable and comprehensible. Because God lives in me, I am alive.

Master, in the breaking of the bread, may I share Your life in my world.

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Bible Scriptures
April 18

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.”
–Isaiah 40:31

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
–Galatians 6:9

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
–Philippians 4:19

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”
–Matthew 6:25

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Daily Inspiration
April 18

Spend some of your time in prayer just being with God. Lord, for the moment I am letting go of my concerns so that I can feel Your presence in my life.

Thoughts are powerful, so pay close attention to what you think about. Lord, help me to think thoughts of love, peace and abundance so that this becomes my experience.

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A Day At A Time
April 18

Reflection For The Day

We in The Program know full well the futility of  trying to overcome our addictions by will-power alone.  At the same time, we do know that it takes great willingness to adopt The Program’s Twelve Steps as a way of life that can restore us to sanity.  No matter how severe our addictions, we discover with relief that choices can still be made.  For example, we can choose to admit that we’re personally powerless over chemical dependency;  that dependence upon a Higher Power is a necessity, even if this be simply dependence upon our group in The Program.  Have I chosen to try for a life of honesty and humility, of selfless service to my fellows and to God as I understand Him?

Today I Pray

God grant me the wisdom to know the difference between “will-power” (which has failed me before) and “willingness” to seek help for my dependency, through Him and through others who are also recovering.  May I know, that there are choices open to me as there are to my fellow-sufferers in the foggiest stages of addiction.  May I choose the kind of life God wants for me.

Today I Will Remember

Willingness, more than will-power, is the key to recovery.

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One More Day
April 18

He who conceals his disease cannot expect to be cured.
–  Ethiopian Proverb

We gain very little if we use our problems to hid from other people and the realities of life.  Yet, at times, we may drift into this negative attitude even though a reclusive life is self-serving, not the least bit enjoyable, and unfair to the people who care about us.

One way to survive is to develop the confidence we need to face others.  Our problems should not be the first impression people have of us, but that is all we present if we are hiding our real selves from them.  We have so much to offer — and so much to gain — when we set ourselves out on center stage and actively get on with living.

I am capable of buoying myself up to face each new challenge by moving out of my hiding places.

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One Day At A Time
April 18
~ UNCONDITIONAL LOVE ~

The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.
–Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I don’t think I knew what unconditional love was before I came into the program. After all, I had always felt that my mother had only loved and accepted me conditionally, and that in order for me to receive approval and love from her, I had to be the best at everything I did. I had to be at the top of the class, win prizes for ballet and in general be a credit to her, so that she could bask in the reflected limelight. Perhaps that was only my perception. But as a result, I wrote a script for myself that, in order to be loved, accepted and loveable, I had to excel at everything. I became an overachiever academically, I had to be the best wife, best mother, best cook, in short, the best everything. No wonder I had to eat to cope with all this self-inflicted pressure.

The unconditional love and acceptance I received when I first came into these program rooms was something I had never experienced before. “Let us love you until you can learn to love yourself,” they said. This was something totally foreign to me. How could I be loveable when I was fat and bloated? How could they love me when I hated myself for all the secret eating that caused me to feel totally miserable? But love me they did, and that was the beginning of my healing. At one stage fairly early in my recovery, one of my daughters accused me of being so busy going to meetings and doing courses and learning to love myself, that I was too busy to love them. How wrong she was! It was only when I had learned enough self- love and approval of myself, exactly as I was, that I was able to love all my children fully and unconditionally.

I am now able to love and accept all my children exactly as they are. None of them are perfect, as I am not, but they are special in their own right, and I love them for who they are and not for anything they do or don’t do.

One day at a time…
I practice being warm and accepting of all those I love, as I accept and love myself for being who I am today – a child of God

~ Sharon ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 18

“Our people don’t come in parts. Either you are Indian, or you are not.”
–Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE

We really need to take a look at how Indian People are talking about Indian People. We say there are Rez Indians, Traditional Indians, Urban Indians and Breeds. This type of thinking will keep us separated. An Indian is an Indian, a brother is a brother, a sister is a sister. We are all related. Today, let us respect ourselves and our people. Today, let me realize Indians are Indians.

Great Spirit, let me see the Unity of the People. Indians are Indians.Journey To The Heart

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Journey To The Heart
April 18
There’s Magic in the Unknown

Sometimes we’re out of ideas. We think and think but nothing comes. We don’t know what’s next. It feels like we’re at a dead end. But we’re not. That void, that dreaded blank spot is really a glorious magical place.

Sometimes we have to run out of our ideas before we can open to any new ones. The reason we can’t see any further is because our ideas are limited by the past, by past experiences, by what life has been like before. Our future doesn’t have to be limited by our past. Life knows that. Now we can learn it,too. We’re not at a dead end. We’ve reached a new beginning.

Now is a time of magic. Let the universe take your hand and show you things you have never seen before. Now, at last, you’re open and vulnerable enough to begin. Celebrate the magic, the mystery of the unknown. Celebrate the miracles that will certainly come.

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The Language of Letting Go
April 18
Freedom

Many of us were oppressed and victimized as children. As adults, we may continue to keep ourselves oppressed.

Some of us don’t recognize that caretaking and not setting boundaries will leave us feeling victimized.

Some of us don’t understand that thinking of ourselves as victims will leave us feeling oppressed.

Some of us don’t know that we hold the key to our own freedom. That key is honoring ourselves, and taking care of ourselves.

We can say what we mean, and mean what we say.

We can stop waiting for others to give us what we need and take responsibility for ourselves. When we do, the gates to freedom will swing wide.

Walk through.

Today, I will understand that I hold the key to my freedom. I will stop participating in my oppression and victimization. I will take responsibility for myself, and let others do as they may.

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More Language Of Letting Go
April 18
Say what you really want

What do you want? No, I’m not asking what thing you want, but rather what is it about that thing that you are seeking? Get to the root of your search. Do you want a new car? Do you want reliable transportation, or do you want the prestige that comes from driving a shiny new vehicle? Do you really want to do that kind of work, or do you just want the money and prestige you hope it will bring? Do you want a romantic relationship? Do you want a partnership based on equal ground, or do you want someone to take care of you? What is it that you’re really looking for?

Get as specific as you can. When we examine our goals and dreams, we may find that they’re motivated by a deeper desire. I want to reach this point in my career, we say. Look deeper. What’s at the root of that goal? If what you’re desiring is creative freedom, maybe you can gain it in other ways than by getting a promotion. If you want your spouse to quit drinking, perhaps what you’re really seeking is a calmer home environment and relief from the pain. If you can’t make him or her stop drinking, maybe there’s another way you can achieve that dream. Or maybe you’ll decide that you can contribute to that now, while waiting for your loved one to change.

Be honest in your search for the root of your goals. Some of the roots of your goals might not be so healthy after all; maybe the goal will need to change. But you could save yourself from heartache by discovering it now. Maybe the root is healthy, but you have placed too much value on following only one path to reach it.

Be aware of all the opportunities around you. Don’t sell life short. There may be more than one way to get what you really want.

God, help me become aware of what I’m really seeking in life.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
April 18

Free man is by necessity insecure; thinking man by necessity uncertain.
—Erich Fromm

We hear comments like, “Hang in there!” “Don’t quit now,” “Don’t give up the ship!” When our outlook is gloomy and pessimistic, we should remember we are not in charge and we are not all knowing. We cannot predict what will be around the next corner. If a difficult problem looms before us, we cannot be sure what help might also be there for us to meet the problem.

Our compulsion for control tempts us to quit and give ourselves over to defeat. Then the outcome would be settled and predictable. We no longer would have to live with the insecurity of not knowing the future. When we are tempted to indulge in our addictive ways, or to return to a relationship that isn’t good for us, or to face a painful problem, it helps to recall that change is a basic fact of life. However stressful this moment is, it will change. Not at our command, but it will change. We aren’t in control of outcomes, but we can choose now to “hang in there” and to give our energy only toward positive solutions.

May I have the serenity to accept the process and the courage to be true to my part. Outcomes I will leave for the future.

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Daily TAO
April 18
NUMBERS

One gives birth to two, two gives birth to three,
Three gives birth to the ten thousand.
One hundred and eight counts make one cycle,
Constant turning creates all things.

Today is the one hundred and eighth day. Why are numbers so important to those who follow Tao? Even today, when numbers are more commonly yoked to the service of finance and engineering, there are those who revere numbers with the cheap version of mysticism — superstition. Numbers form a closed world with mysteries to explore and exploit if our understanding is deep enough.

Followers of Tao emphasize certain numbers: One is the unity of Tao. Two is duality. Three is the unevenness that will generate movement. Four is the seasons. Five elements generate the world. Six parts of the body are the arms, legs, head, and trunk. Seven is the day of the waxing moon by the lunar calendar. Eight is the number of divination. Nine is the number of life. Ten is heaven’s cycles.

There are twenty-four periods in a year, each with its own characteristics. Thirty-six is six squared. One hundred and eight is three cycles of thirty-six and represents a greater cycle, although there are even more esoteric connotations attached to it.

Numbers are only symbols, a way for human beings to project order upon the universe. They are a language more precise than words. But does Tao talk? Numbers are important to master, but take care to look beyond language and numbers to the true reality that they foreshadow.

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DailyZen
April 18

In this dhyana one does not
accept selfish pleasures,
one does not seek any reward,
and one is not moved by karmic records.
One enters dhyana solely for the
purpose of establishing one’s mind.
And then, out of wisdom,
one returns to life in the desire realm
for the purpose of helping all
sentient beings achieve liberation.
This dhyana is called the paramita of concentration.

– Mahaprjnaparamita Sutra

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Food for Thought
April 18
Caring

“Teach us to care and not to care. Teach us to sit still.”

We know that God cares for us and we try to give to those we love the care that He would have us give. But sometimes we become so caught up in our cares and concerns, whether they be for ourselves or for others that we forget to listen to our Higher Power.

In order to work the spiritual part of the program, we need to spend time quietly by ourselves listening to the inner voice. Each day we need a period of time alone when we can get in touch with the center of our being.

When we are tuned in to our Higher Power, we are able to give to those we care for. Our concerns fall into proper perspective, and we are freed from selfish preoccupation. Our actions become more effective and our hearts are more open to the needs of those we love.

Teach us to care.

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In God’s Care
April 18

How can anybody read the Gospels and fail to see how Jesus, in his contacts with all sorts and conditions of people, even the apparent good-for-nothings and worse, always seemed to find in them possibilities for sublime development?
~~Carroll E. Simcox

Many of us feel we don’t deserve God’s love. We judge ourselves harshly and attribute the same judgment to God as the strict parent, the demanding teacher, or the punishing judge. We cannot belive that anyone could accept us as we are, and so we don’t turn toward God.

Why do we feel this way? Perhaps because it’s hard to feel that God could love us when we so rerely received love without strings attached from others. Many of us remain skeptical even when newfound spiritual friends shower us with love. Though we may not realize it at the time, these friends are providing a human framework into which the unconditional love of God can fit. If these friends can accept us as we are, we think, maybe God will too. And of course God does.

When my hand reaches out to another, God’s hand reaches back.

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Faith’s Check Book
April 18
He Never Fails

I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
–(Joshua 1:5)

This word to Joshua is often quoted; it is the basis of that New Testament word “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Beloved, a life of warfare is before us, but the Lord of Hosts is with us. Are we called to lead a great but fickle people? This promise guarantees us all the wisdom and prudence that we shall need. Have we to contend with cunning and powerful enemies? Here is strength and valor, prowess and victory. Have we a vast heritage to win? By this sign we shall achieve our purpose; the Lord Himself is with us.

It would be woe to us indeed if Jehovah could fail us; but, as this can never be, the winds of disquietude are laid to sleep in the caverns of divine faithfulness. On no one occasion will the Lord desert us. Happen what may, He will be at our side. Friends drop from us, their help is but an April shower; but God is faithful, Jesus is the same forever, and the Holy Spirit abideth in us.

Come, my heart, be calm and hopeful today. Clouds may gather, but the Lord can blow them away. Since God will not fail me, my faith shall not fail; and as He will not forsake me, neither will I forsake Him. Oh, for a restful faith!

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This Morning’s Meditation
April 18

“She bound the scarlet line in the window.”
-—Joshua 2:21.

RAHAB depended for her preservation upon the promise of the spies, whom she looked upon as the representatives of the God of Israel. Her faith was simple and firm, but it was very obedient. To tie the scarlet line in the window was a very trivial act in itself, but she dared not run the risk of omitting it. Come, my soul, is there not here a lesson for thee? Hast thou been attentive to all thy Lord’s will, even though some of His commands should seem non-essential? Hast thou observed in his own way the two ordinances of believers’ baptism and the Lord’s Supper? These neglected, argue much unloving disobedience in thy heart. Be henceforth in all things blameless, even to the tying of a thread, if that be matter of command.

This act of Rahab sets forth a yet more solemn lesson. Have I implicitly trusted in the precious blood of Jesus? Have I tied the scarlet cord, as with a Gordian knot in my window, so that my trust can never be removed? Or can I look out towards the Dead Sea of my sins, or the Jerusalem of my hopes, without seeing the blood, and seeing all things in connection with its blessed power? The passer-by can see a cord of so conspicuous a colour, if it hangs from the window: it will be well for me if my life makes the efficacy of the atonement conspicuous to all onlookers. What is there to be ashamed of? Let men or devils gaze if they will, the blood is my boast and my song. My soul, there is One who will see that scarlet line, even when from weakness of faith thou canst not see it thyself; Jehovah, the Avenger, will see it and pass over thee. Jericho’s walls fell flat: Rahab’s house was on the wall, and yet it stood unmoved; my nature is built into the wall of humanity, and yet when destruction smites the race, I shall be secure. My soul, tie the scarlet thread in the window afresh, and rest in peace.

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