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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.

+ Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meeting Finder
+ Overeaters Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Al-Anon Online Meeting Finder

Daily Recovery Readings – April 2

Just For Today
April 2
Attraction

“Our public image consists of what we have to offer: a successful, proven way of maintaining a drug-free lifestyle.”
Basic Text p. 72

Yes, we are attracting new members. More and more addicts are finding Narcotics Anonymous. But how do we treat our newest members when they arrive, worn out from their struggles with addiction? Do we reach out to newcomers who are standing by themselves at our meetings, confused and uncertain? Are we willing to give them rides to meetings? Do we still work one-on-one with the addict who suffers? Do we give out our phone numbers? Are we eager to go on a Twelfth Step call, even if it means getting up from our comfortable beds in the middle of the night? Will we work with someone who has a different sexual orientation or is from another culture? Are we generous with the gift of our time?

No doubt we were met with love and acceptance by our fellow addicts. What attracted many of us to Narcotics Anonymous was the feeling that we had finally found a place where we belonged. Are we offering that same sense of belonging to our newer members? We cannot promote Narcotics Anonymous. But when we put principles into action in our lives, we attract newer members to the NA way, just as we were attracted to recovery.

Just for today: I will work with a newcomer. I will remember that I was once a newcomer myself. I will seek to attract others with the same sense of belonging I’ve found in NA.

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Daily Reflections
April 2
CHARACTER BUILDING

Demands made upon other people for too much attention, protection, and love can only invite domination or revulsion….
–TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 44

When I uncovered my need for approval in the Fourth Step, I didn’t think it should rank as a character defect. I wanted to think of it more as an asset (that is, the desire to please people). It was quickly pointed out to me that this “need” can be very crippling. Today I still enjoy getting the approval of others, but I am not willing to pay the price I used to pay to get it. I will not bend myself into a pretzel to get others to like me. If I get your approval, that’s fine; but if I don’t, I will survive without it. I am responsible for speaking what I perceive to be the truth, not what I think others may want to hear.

Similarly, my false pride always kept me overly concerned about my reputation. Since being enlightened in the A.A. program, my aim is to improve my character.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
April 2
A.A. Thought For The Day

Since I’ve been in A.A., have I made a start toward becoming more loving to my family and friends? Do I visit my parents? Am I more appreciative of my spouse than I was before? Am I grateful to my family for having put up with me? Have I found real understanding with my children? Do I feel that the friends I’ve found in A.A. are real friends?  Do I believe that they are always ready to help me and do I want to help them if I can? Do I really care now about other people?

Meditation For The Day

Not what you do so much as what you are, that is the miracle- working power. You can be a force for good, with the help of God. God is here to help you and to bless you, here to company with you. You can be a worker with God. Changed by God’s grace, you shed one garment of the spirit for a better one. In time, you throw that one aside for a yet finer one. And so from character to character, you are gradually transformed.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may accept every challenge. I pray that each acceptance of a challenge may make me grow into a better person.

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As Bill Sees It
April 2
Walking Toward Serenity, p. 92

“When I was tired and couldn’t concentrate, I used to fall back on an affirmation toward life that took the form of simple walking and deep breathing. I sometimes told myself that I couldn’t do even this–that I was too weak. But I learned that this was the point at which I could not give in without becoming still more depressed.

“So I would set myself at a small stint. I would determine to walk a quarter of a mile. And I would concentrate by counting my breathing–say, six steps to each slow inhalation and four to each exhalation. Having done the quarter-mile, I found that I could go on, maybe a half-mile more. Then another half-mile, and maybe another.

“This was encouraging. The false sense of physical weakness would leave me (this feeling being so characteristic of depressions). The walking and especially the breathing were powerful affirmations toward life and living and away from failure and death. The counting represented a minimum discipline in concentration, to get some rest from the wear and tear of fear and guilt.”

Letter, 1960

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Walk in Dry Places
April 2
Accepting Risk
Facing Reality.

Like it or not, life seems to have certain risks that just can’t be avoided. Alcoholics are not really comfortable with risk-taking. This is especially true in situations that include risk of rejection, risk of defeat, or risk of loss.

If we try to get through life without accepting some risk, however, we’re simply not being realistic. The refusal to accept risk may also mean that we miss wonderful opportunities in the process.

What should we do? We should face risk intelligently and with spiritual preparation. FIRST, we do everything possible to reduce risk in any situation (thus making it a “calculated risk”). THEN we pray for guidance and inspiration (but not a certain outcome). FINALLY, we do our very best to succeed in the situation, whether it’s a courtship, a job search, competition in sports, or whatever.

We might surprise ourselves by succeeding more times than we fail. But even in temporary failure, we gain if we follow through in accepting reasonable and necessary risks.

I’ll exercise prudence and good judgment in all my undertakings today, but I won’t expect to be able to “play it safe” in everything. As a human being, I have to take risks in life.

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Keep It Simple
April 2

To know all things is not permitted.
— Horace

In recovery, we give up trying to be perfect. We give up trying to know everything. We work at coming to know and accept our short-comings. In Step Four and Five, we look at our good points and our bad points. In Step Six, we become ready to have our Higher Power remove our “defects of character.” Then in Step Seven we ask our Higher Power to remove our “shortcomings.”

Recovery is about coming to accept that we’re not prefect. We admit that trying to be perfect got in the way of being useful to ourselves, our Higher Power, and those around us. Pretending to be prefect doesn’t allow us to be real. It’s also boring and no fun—you never get to mess up.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, You will let me know what I need to know. Allow me to claim my mistakes and shortcomings.

Action for the Day: I will work at being okay today. Not prefect, just okay.

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Each Day a New Beginning
April 2

Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.
–Amelia Earhart

We have learned from experience that a wave of peacefulness washes over us after we have successfully finished a task that was difficult to face. Courage has its reward. However, from time to time, and from task to task, we find we need the reminder that peace will come once the loose ends have been tied by us.

Our search for peace was desperate and unending in past years. Our fears overwhelmed us more often than not. Courage was seldom displayed. Tasks were often left half done or not done at all. Challenges went unmet. And peace eluded us.

We are so lucky that the program found us, and that we found the program! We are looking forward, at last, with the courage that trusting a higher power has given us. Peace is ours, now and always, as we go forth with the strength of the program to bolster us. New jobs, new friends, new situations may still elicit our old fears. But their hold on us is gone. We have learned that we face nothing alone. What relief that simple truth brings.

Courage is one of the program’s gifts. I will have courage to go forward: to meet the new day, to handle whatever confronts me. Peace is coupled with courage, now and forever.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
April 2
SAFE HAVEN

– This A.A. found that the process of discovering who he really was began with knowing who he didn’t want to be.

I can’t start to describe the forced humility that is placed upon an alcoholic who comes from prison. Although I deserved to be in prison, the trauma was horrible. The only encouragement and hope I was able to find was from reading the personal stories in the back of a tattered Big Book I found in my cell. Then one day I heard something that was music to my ears. A correctional officer announced that an A.A. meeting was to be held in the chapel. When I walked into the meeting, I took a seat in the circle of chairs, where I once again found a protective haven.

p. 456

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
April 2

Step Three – “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

At first that “somebody” is likely to be his closest A.A. friend. He relies upon the assurance that his many troubles, now made more acute because he cannot use alcohol to kill the pain, can be solved, too. Of course the sponsor points out that our friend’s life is still unmanageable even though he is sober, that after all, only a bare start on A.A.’s program has been made. More sobriety brought about by the admission of alcoholism and by attendance at a few meetings is very good indeed, but it is bound to be a far cry from permanent sobriety and a contented, useful life. That is just where the remaining Steps of the A.A. program come in. Nothing short of continuous action upon these as a way of life can bring the much-desired result.

pp. 39-40

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Xtra Thoughts
April 2

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
–Will Rogers

Laughter is by definition healthy.
–Doris Lessing

He who laughs, lasts.
–Mary Pettibone Poole

The best portion of a good man’s life is in his little nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.
–William Wordsworth

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
–Aesop

Wise sayings often fall on barren ground; but a kind word is never thrown away.
–Arthur Helps

“We get so much in the habit of wearing a disguise before others that we eventually appear disguised before ourselves.”
–Jim Bishop

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
April 2
PROBLEMS

“The real problem is in the hearts and minds of men.”
–Albert Einstein

We are facing not so much a “drug problem” as a people problem – and this requires a solution from the people. I believe the solution and recovery has already been given by God, but it must be discovered from within. We need to seek out what is truly in our minds and hearts: what are our problems, what are our needs, what do we long for, where are we going in our lives?

Today it is not enough for me to know my problems, I need also to talk about them. Today I choose to express my feelings.

God, I thank You for the creative gift of communication.

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Bible Scriptures
April 2

O, come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.  For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice.
Psalm 95:6-7

When you lie down you will not be afraid; when you lie down , your sleep will be sweet.
Proverbs 3:24

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Daily Inspiration
April 2

There are always better things to come than that which we have left behind. Lord, I look with excitement toward the enexpected joys of today.

Forget what you have done for others and remember what they have done for you. Lord, a gift is given freely with no expection. May I become a truly giving person.

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A Day At A Time
April 2

Reflection For The Day

What causes slips? What happens to a person who apparently seems to understand and live the way of The Program, yet decides to go out again? What can I do to keep this from happening to me? Is there any consistency among those who slip, any common denominators that seem to apply? We can each draw our own conclusions, but we learn in The Program that certain in-actions will all but guarantee an eventual slip. When a person who has slipped is fortunate enough to return to The Program, do I listen carefully to what he or she says about the slip?

Today I Pray

May my Higher Power — if I listen to Him — show me if I am setting myself up to get high again. May I glean from the experiences of others that the reasons for such a lapse of resolve or such an accident of will most often stem from what I have not done rather than from what I have done. May I “keep coming back” to meetings.

Today I Will Remember

Keep Coming Back.

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One More Day
April 2

The joy of life is to put out one’s power in some natural and useful or harmless way.  There is no other, and the real misery is not to do this.
–  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

If our health changes and fatigue are frequent problems, we may become unable to do all we did for ourselves in the past.  If we push ourselves too far, something will suffer.  We may pay with our joints or we may pay with depression.  But we do pay.

If we liken our daily energy level to money in a bank account, we realize we can make only so many withdrawals before our resources run out.  We decide each day how we want to spend — or waste — that precious energy.  It takes a while to get our priorities rearranged, but living a good life is important, and eventually we learn how to invest our energy well.

Each day presents itself new and fresh.  It’s up to me to decide how to spend my energy.

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One Day At A Time
April 2
~ Love ~

There is only one happiness in life … to love and be loved.
–George Sand

It took me many, many years to really and truly discover what turned out to be something that I have yearned for all of my life. That “something” was love ~ both the ability to love and to accept love.

As a child, I felt I had to achieve to be loved and, in the process of achieving, lost a great deal of my childhood. This carried over to adulthood and thus began the years of doing what was expected of me (or so I thought) in order to be loved, valued and respected.

Recovery has taught me so much about myself and about love. One of the greatest truths I have learned about myself and my ability to love is that for me to love someone, it is not necessary that they love me back. My loving someone else never depends on their loving me … but how wonderful it is when they do.

One Day at a Time . . .
Let me realize that love is something that just happens … I can’t make it happen … and I can’t stop it from happening.

~ Mari ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 2

“With children we always have to think about seven generations to come but yet unborn.”
–Janice Sundown Hattet, SENECA

What we do today will effect the children seven generations form now. How we treat the Mother Earth will affect the children yet to be born. If we poison the water today, our children’s children will be affected by the decision we made. Our children are the gateway to the future. Let us conscientiously think about the children and the seven generations to come.

My Creator, I thank you for my ancestors, seven generations ago.

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Journey To The Heart
April 2
Discover the Power of Meditation

I saw Spirit Rock Center, a meditation center, as I drove along the highway in Northern California. I turned into the parking lot and watched as people moved about the grounds very slowly. They were practicing a walking meditation.

Meditation teaches us to relax, to connect with our body, to let spirit and body become one. Many of us spent years abandoning ourselves, our emotions, and our bodies. We’ve been present for others, and now is the time for us to stay present for ourselves, fully and completely.

Meditation helps us leave our routine for a bit and slow down. We deliberately exhale stress, tension, and fear. Then we inhale light, beauty, peace, and love. We slow our minds and slow our bodies until we reach that quiet place. Meditation can renew us and help us return to our lives refreshed.

Meditate. Take time to inhale peace and exhale fear. Then take your meditation back to your life. Walk slowly. Stay present for yourself, more fully and completely than ever before. You too can turn your life into a walking, waking, deliberate meditation.

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Today’s Gift
April 2

It is wealth to be content.
—Lao-tzu

On the evening of the first day of spring, a woman gave her husband a bright red geranium in a clay pot. To celebrate, he placed it on the windowsill, and together they marvelled at the delicate petals.

In the harsher light of morning, though, the man frowned at the geranium and said to his wife, “How shabby it makes the sofa look.” They spent the day at the furniture store and came home with a new couch, blue with red flowers, like the geranium. They placed the couch in front of the windowsill and admired together its grace and line and fashionable upholstery.

But the next morning, the man frowned at the couch and said, “How shabby it makes the carpet look.” Soon they had a lavish new carpet, which led to new curtains, lamps, and chairs. When the room was completely redone, they set the geranium back in the window and surveyed the finest room in the neighborhood. The man frowned. “The geranium,” he said, “it’s out of place. It will have to go.”

Will I be able to appreciate life’s simple pleasures today?

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The Language of Letting Go
April 2
Facing Our Darker Side

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
–Step Four of Al-Anon

By the time we get to the Fourth of the Twelve Steps, we are ready to face our darker side, the side that prevents us from loving others, from letting others love us, and from enjoying life and ourselves. The purpose of Step Four is not to make ourselves feel worse; our purpose is to begin to remove our blocks to joy and love.

We look for fears, anger, hurt, and shame from past events – buried feelings that may be affecting our life today. We search for subconscious beliefs about others and ourselves that may be interfering with the quality of our relationships. These beliefs say: I’m not lovable . . . I’m a burden to those around me . . . People can’t be trusted . . . I can’t be trusted . . . I don’t deserve to be happy and successful . . . Life isn’t worth living. We look at our behaviors and patterns with an eye toward discerning the self-defeating ones. With love and compassion for ourselves, we try to unearth all our guilt – earned and unearned – and expose it to the light.

We perform this examination without fear of what we shall find, because this soul searching can cleanse us and help us feel better about ourselves than we ever dreamt possible.

God, help me search out the blocks and barriers within myself. Bring what I need to know into my conscious mind, so I can be free of it. Show me what I need to know about myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
April 2
Learn to say yes

Learn to say yes, and mean it.

How long has it been since you’ve said yes to someone in your life? Yes, I’d like to do that. Yes, that sounds good to me. Yes, I’ll take a chance.

How long has it been since you’ve said yes to yourself? Yes, I recognize what you’re feeling. Yes, I heard what you want. Yes, I realize you’re tired. Yes, we’ll rest for a while.

When opportunities come our way– whether for personal, spiritual, or business growth– don’t always be so cautious and shy. So what if yes means you’re not living up to someone’s expectations? Sometimes we learn to say no so well that saying no becomes a habit. We don’t even consider what we’re turning down.

A well timed yes is as important in manifesting our power as learning to say no. It’s a sign of an open heart.

Next time someone asks you out, suggests an opportunity, or your body tries to talk to you, stop, Instead of immediately saying no, like a parent on automatic pilot, listen to the offer. Could it be an important one? Something that might help guide you along your path? Maybe you’re scared. Maybe you’re worried that you aren’t up to the occasion. Maybe you like the safety of saying no all the time.

Learn to say yes to life.

Honesty, openness, and willingness to try. Hmmmm. Sounds a lot like yes to me.

God, help me learn to say yes and mean it, when that’s the appropriate response.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
April 2

The universe is the primary revelation of the divine, the primary scripture, the primary focus of divine human communion.
—Thomas Berry

In this program we learn about being receptive. A man in search of conscious contact with a Higher Power can simply stand still and open his eyes and ears to creation. Forcing a spiritual awareness is mostly wasted effort. Learning theology doesn’t create a spiritual experience either. We only need to see and hear what is around us. This is a vast and marvelous universe, and it speaks for itself. It has always been there, and when we are ready to receive the message, we will.

It stirs our spirit to be at a meeting and hear another man describe the awakening of his spirituality. As we men become more receptive to the spiritual, we open a whole new realm in our lives.

May my growing ability to be a receptive man lead me to a deeper spiritual contact.

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Daily TAO
April 2
ACCURACY

Make every move count.
Pick your target and hit it.
Perfect concentration means
Effortless flowing.

A life that is spiritual requires focused action. It needs quick reflexes, accurate timing, and abundant skill. That is why followers of Tao are always compounding their self-cultivation: They want the ability to do whatever they want.

Each day your life grows a day shorter. Make every move count. All that matters is accomplishing what you envision with the greatest dispatch. Once you do, that aspect of your interest is discharged, and you can then go on to some new interest. If you do not engage in this ongoing process of action, you will never satisfy all the various aspects of the soul, and realization will never fully mature for you.

Some assert that there is no end to desire, so we should undercut our ambition. But this doesn’t address the need for satisfaction. We need to have satisfaction in what we do in order to have a good sense of well-being. If we undercut our ambition, then we will never make any achievements nor satisfy our yearnings. This only leaves us with frustration, uncertainty, and timidity. Therefore, to follow Tao, we must identify our inner longings and dispatch them with a hunter’s accuracy.

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DailyZen
April 2

Far up this cold mountain,
A steep rocky trail
Leads to places men dwell
In white clouds.
I stop my horse-drawn cart,
Sit and enjoy sunset through the maples,
Whose frosted leaves are redder
Than early spring flowers.

– Tu Mu (803-852)

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Food for Thought
April 2
Food Is Not God

Though we may not have admitted it, food was probably the most important thing in our lives when we were overeating. How many times did our relationships with family and friends suffer because of our slavery to our appetites? How often did we hurt those we loved by placing our craving above their needs?

Instead of loving God first, most of us . . .

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In God’s Care
April 2

God does not comfort us to make us comfortable but to make us comforters.
~~J. H. Jowett

We weren’t in any kind of condition to comfort others when we were in the grips of our addictions. It’s only now when we have been blessed with comfort for ourselves, that we can turn our attention to others. Now that we can, we discover another spiritual paradox: We find comfort in giving comfort. It is part of the “to-give-is-to-receive” principle.

Perhaps we didn’t come by our addictions accidentally. There’s a purpose for each of us, and comforting others is part of our purpose. God relies on us to carry the message, as those who went before us brought it to us. That’s why we can never be complacent about our progress. The minute we isolate ourselves from others, discomfort sets in – for us and for those who need the comfort of our presence.

My comfort depends on being a comforter.

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Faith’s Check Book
April 02
True Heart-Energy

Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all.
–(1 Timothy 4:15)

This is, practically, a promise that, by diligent meditation and the giving up of our whole mind to our work for the Lord we shall make a progress which all can see. Not by hasty reading but by deep meditation we profit by the Word of God. Not by doing a great deal of work in a slovenly manner, but by giving our best thought to what we attempt, we shall get real profit. “In all labor there is profit” but not in fuss and hurry without true heart-energy.

If we divide ourselves between God and mammon, or Christ and self, we shall make no progress. We must give ourselves wholly to holy things, or else we shall be poor traders in heavenly business, and at our stocktaking no profit will be shown.

Am I a minister? Let me be a minister wholly and not spend my energies upon secondary concerns. What have I to do with party politics or vain amusements? Am I a Christian? Let me make my service of Jesus my occupation, my lifework, my one pursuit. We must be in-and-in with Jesus, and then out-and-out for Jesus, or else we shall make neither progress nor profit, and neither the church nor the world will feel the forceful influence which the Lord would have us exercise.

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This Morning’s Meditation
April 02

“He answered him to never a word.”
-—Matthew 27:14.

HE had never been slow of speech when He could bless the sons of men, but He would not say a single word for Himself. “Never man spake like this Man,” and never man was silent like Him. Was this singular silence the index of His perfect self-sacrifice? Did it show that He would not utter a word to stay the slaughter of His sacred person, which He had dedicated as an offering for us? Had He so entirely surrendered Himself that He would not interfere in His own behalf, even in the minutest degree, but be bound and slain an unstruggling, uncomplaining victim? Was this silence a type of the defenselessness of sin? Nothing can be said in palliation or excuse of human guilt; and, therefore, He who bore its whole weight stood speechless before His judge. Is not patient silence the best reply to a gainsaying world? Calm endurance answers some questions infinitely more conclusively than the loftiest eloquence. The best apologists for Christianity in the early days were its martyrs. The anvil breaks a host of hammers by quietly bearing their blows. Did not the silent Lamb of God furnish us with a grand example of wisdom? Where every word was occasion for new blasphemy, it was the line of duty to afford no fuel for the flame of sin. The ambiguous and the false, the unworthy and mean, will ere long overthrow and confute themselves, and therefore the true can afford to be quiet, and finds silence to be its wisdom. Evidently our Lord, by His silence, furnished a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy. A long defence of Himself would have been contrary to Isaiah’s prediction. “He is led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” By His quiet He conclusively proved Himself to be the true Lamb of God. As such we salute Him this morning. Be with us, Jesus, and in the silence of our heart, let us hear the voice of Thy love.

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