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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 – April 28

Just For Today
April 28
Who Really Gets Better?

“We can also use the steps to improve our attitudes. Our best thinking got us into trouble. We recognize the need for change.”
Basic Text, p. 53

When new in recovery, most of us had at least one person we just couldn’t stand. We thought that person was the rudest, most obnoxious person in the program. We knew there was something we could do, some principle of recovery we could practice to get over the way we felt about this person—but what? We asked our sponsor for guidance. We were probably assured, with an amused smile, that if we just kept coming back, we’d see the person get better. That made sense to us. We believed that the steps of NA worked in the lives of everyone. If they could work for us, they could work for this horrible person, too.

Time passed, and at some point we noticed that the person didn’t seem as rude or obnoxious as before. In fact, he or she had become downright tolerable, maybe even likeable. We got a pleasant jolt as we realized who had really gotten better. Because we had kept coming back, because we had kept working the steps, our perception of this person had changed. The person who’d plagued us had become “tolerable” because we’d developed some tolerance; he or she had become “likeable” because we’d developed the ability to love.

So who really gets better? We do! As we practice the program, we gain a whole new outlook on those around us by gaining a new outlook on ourselves.

Just for today: As I get better, so will others. Today, I will practice tolerance and try to love those I meet.

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Daily Reflections
April 28
TWO “MAGNIFICENT STANDARDS”

All A.A. progress can be reckoned in terms of just two words:  humility and responsibility. Our whole spiritual development can be accurately measured by our degree of adherence to these magnificent standards.
–AS BILL SEES IT, p. 271

To acknowledge and respect the views, accomplishments and prerogatives of others and to accept being wrong shows me the way of humility. To practice the principles of A.A. in all my affairs guides me to be responsible. Honoring these precepts gives credence to Tradition Four–and to all other Traditions of the Fellowship. Alcoholics Anonymous has evolved a philosophy of life full of valid motivations, rich in highly relevant principles and ethical values, a view of life which can be extended beyond the confines of the alcoholic population.  To honor these precepts I need only to pray, and care for my fellow man as if each one were my brother.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
April 28
A.A. Thought For The Day

We’re so glad to be free from liquor that we do something about it. We get into action. We come to meetings regularly. We go out and try to help other alcoholics. We pass on the good news whenever we get a chance. In a spirit of thankfulness to God, we get into action. The A.A. program is simple. Submit yourself to God, find release from liquor, and get into action. Do these things and keep doing them and you’re all set for the rest of your life. Have I got into action?

Meditation For The Day

God’s eternal quest must be the tracking down of souls. You should join Him in His quest. Through briars, through waste places, through glades, up mountain heights, down into valleys. God leads you. But ever with His leadership goes your helping hand. Glorious to follow where the Leader goes. You are seeking lost sheep. You are bringing the good news into places where it has not been known before. You may not know which soul you will help, but you can leave all results to God. just go with Him in His eternal quest for souls.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may follow God in His eternal quest for souls. I pray that I may offer God my helping hand.

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As Bill Sees It
April 28
Prelude to the Program, p. 118

Few people will sincerely try to practice the A.A. program unless they have “hit bottom,” for practicing A.A.’s Steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking. The average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn’t care for this prospect–unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself.

<< << << >> >> >>

We know that the newcomer has to “hit bottom”; otherwise, not much can happen. Because we are drunks who understand him, we can use at depth the nutcracker of the-obsession-plus-the-allergy as a tool of such power that it can shatter his ego. Only thus can he be convinced that on his own unaided resources he has little or no chance.

1. 12 & 12, p. 24
2. A.A. Today, p. 8

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Walk in Dry Places
April 28
Expect Miracle-working Coincidences
Spiritual direction

Somebody said that a wonderful coincidence is when God acts but does not

choose to leave a signature. Wonderful coincidences are appearing every moment of the day. People who live the spiritual life are especially positioned to recognize and understand coincidences.

The founding of AA abounds with coincidences that boggle the mind. Almost by chance, the Oxford Group ideas found their way to Bill Wilson. A business trip took him to Akron where, coincidentally. An earnest group of Oxford Group people were trying to help Dr. Bob Smith to sobriety. With his business venture in collapse, Bill made the telephone call that put him in touch with Dr. Bob, eventually resulting in the launch of AA.

Such miraculous coincidences work for the fellowship, and they’re also at work in our individual lives. If we look closely, we’ll discover that many such coincidences helped bring about our recovery or some other blessing.

God is the guiding power behind these coincidences. What appears to be chance is really a marvelous intelligence coordinating random events for the good of all.

I’ll have confidence today that God is always bringing positive results out of a number of random events.

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Keep It Simple
April 28

Unless I accept my faults I will most certainly doubt my virtues.
— Hugh Prather

Before recovery, we saw only a blurry picture of ourselves, like we were looking through an out-of-focus camera lens. We couldn’t see the good in ourselves because we wouldn’t look close enough.

Step Four helps us look more closely. We see a picture of ourselves, with our good points and our faults. We don’t like everything we see. But we can’t change until we accept ourselves as we are.

Then we can start getting ready to change.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me see the good in me and love myself.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll make a list of four of my good points and four of my faults. Am I getting to have my Higher Power remove these defects of character?

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Each Day a New Beginning
April 28

. . . suffering . . . no matter how multiplied . . . is always individual.
–Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Knowing that others have survived experiences equally devastating gives us hope, but it doesn’t diminish our own personal suffering. Nor should it; out of suffering comes new understanding. Suffering also encourages our appreciation of the lighter, easier times. Pain experienced fully enhances the times of pleasure.

Our sufferings are singular, individual, and lonely. But our experiences with it can be shared, thereby lessening the power they have over us. Sharing our pain with another woman also helps her remember that her pain, too, is survivable.

Suffering softens us, helps us to feel more compassion and love toward another. Our sense of belonging to the human race, our recognition of the interdependence and kinship of us all, are the most cherished results of the gift of pain.

Each of our sufferings, sharing them as we do, strengthens me and heals my wounds of alienation.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
April 28
LISTENING TO THE WIND

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

The marriage was a farce, and it didn’t take long for this man to figure that out. Someone had told him about my past, and he demanded to know the truth. I was tired, nauseated, and drunk. I just didn’t care anymore, so I admitted everything. We fought everyday after that, and my visits to the hospital became more frequent. One afternoon I decided I no longer wanted to live and got the gun from over the fireplace. I owe my life to the man I had married. He heard my child scream and came running into the house. He grabbed the gun and wrestled it away from me. I was numb and couldn’t figure out what had happened. My son was taken away from me bu the authorities, and I was placed in a locked ward for the criminally insane. I spent three days there on legal hold.

pp. 464-465

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
April 28

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

By now the newcomer has probably arrived at the following conclusions: that his character defects, representing instincts gone astray, have been the primary cause of his drinking and his failure at life; that unless he is now willing to work hard at the elimination of the worst of these defects, both sobriety and peace of mind will still elude him; that all the faulty foundation of his life will have to be torn out and built anew on bedrock. Now willing to commence the search for his own defects, he will ask, “Just how do I go about this? How do I take inventory of myself?”

p. 50

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Xtra Thoughts
April 28

A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.
–Anonymous

Your mind is an encyclopedia of your lessons in life. Expand it by making memories with loved ones, reading a good book, or just by doing something positive rather than negative.
–Anonymous

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
–Alexander Graham Bell

Only God can make us whole.
–Barbara Haynes

“When you face your fear, most of the time you will discover that it was not really such a big threat after all.”
–Les Brown

“The country clubs, the cars the boats, your assets may be ample, but the best inheritance you can leave your kids is to be a good example.”
–Barry Spilchuk

“Next time someone tells you ‘never,’ remember that means ‘not for at least one hour.'”
–Jeffrey Gitomer

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
April 28
PREJUDICE

“It is never too late to give up your prejudices.”
–Henry David Thoreau

Prejudice divides people and feeds upon anger, resentment and fear.  Today I can see that my prejudices stemmed from my seeing in others what I disliked in myself. I hated people who appeared “weak” because I knew that I was weak and vulnerable. I hated people who were “different” because I knew there were parts of me that were different from how I appeared. I hated the people who stood up for their principles and talked about their feelings because, as a drunk, I never really had any principles and I couldn’t get in touch with my feelings.

Today I try to talk about my prejudices and overcome them. A knowledge of those people I disliked has proven useful in slowly overcoming my prejudices.

Teach me to locate myself in my criticism of others.

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Bible Scriptures
April 28

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”
–John 6:47

You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
–James 2:18

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Daily Inspiration
April 28

Give your day to God and let Him bring out the best in you in all situations. Lord, I will use Your power within me to make the best of this day.

You are a blessed, creative, lovable and needed being created by God. Lord, may these qualities shine forth and be used to bless those around me.

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A Day At A Time
April 28

Reflection For The Day

I will resolve to observe with new interest even the commonplace things that happen today.  If I learn to see everything with a fresh eye, perhaps I’ll find I have countless reasons for contentment and gratitude.  When I find myself trapped in the quicksand of my negative thoughts I’ll turn away from them — and grab for the lifesaving strength of sharing with others in The Program.  Do I carry my weight as an all-important link in the worldwide chain of The Program?

Today I Pray

I pray that God will open my eyes to the smallest everyday wonders, that I may notice and list among my blessings things like just feeling good, being able to think clearly.  Even when I make a simple, unimportant choice, like whether to order coffee or tea or a soft drink, may I be reminded that the power of choice is a gift from God.

Today I Will Remember

I am blessed with the freedom of choice.

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One More Day
April 28

Where there’s music, there can be no evil.
–  Cervantes

So many of us spent part of our childhoods glued to the radio, ears alert for our favorite stories and songs.  Listening to music filled large parts of our days.  The joy of music need not ever dim.

We can let the song within our heart burst forth, unbidden, to warn the memories of our souls and the texture of the days.  Bubbling to the surface of awareness, music can create a twinkly in the eyes and cause a smile to burst into full bloom even on the shiest person’s face.

We can use the magic of music to uplift a bad mood or dissipate our sadness.  While listening to music, we can, for a while, forget our problems.  Loving music is a special source of happiness we can carry with us wherever we go.

My warmest feelings can surface as I listen to or play music, and I can feel perfectly happy.

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One Day At A Time
April 28
~ UNITY ~

Separate needs are weak and easily broken; but bound together they are strong and hard to tear apart.
–The Midrash, Judaic Text

For most of my life before coming into the program, I was a bit of a loner. I never had a lot of friends, perhaps because of my feelings of inadequacy, and was never good at sports, especially team sports. So I buried myself a lot in books, in academic achievements at which I excelled, mainly because I could do that on my own. I lived in a fantasy world where a knight in shining armor would come and rescue me, and my life would then be perfect. I had never even had a serious long-term relationship until I met my first husband, so it was hardly surprising that I made a bad choice and after having three children and much heartache, got divorced.

When I first came into program, it was the first time I had ever felt part of a big group, and most importantly they all spoke my language. Their experiences were my experiences. These wonderful people became my family. There was, and still is, for me an incredible sense of belonging in the fellowship. No longer do I have to brave it on my own as there will always be someone on the other end of the line or in a meeting who can identify and share with me what I am going through. The strength that I feel when I come into the meeting rooms or speak to a fellow member on the phone is a powerful sustaining force for me that has helped me through countless difficult situations and continues to do so.

One Day at a Time . . .
I only need to reach out and join hands with others in the fellowship to gain the strength to do things I could never do before. It is only with their help, support and love that I am fully able to recover.

~ Sharon ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 28

“Indians living close to nature and nature’s ruler are not living in darkness.”
–Walking Buffalo, STONEY

There are many Indian people who are living according to nature and according to ceremony and culture. They may not have a lot of material things, but that doesn’t mean they are not successful. What is success anyway? Can success be measured by material things? What is it we are really chasing anyway? The Elders say that what everyone really wants is to be happy and have a peaceful mind. Material things by themselves do not bring happiness and peace of mind. Only spiritual things bring happiness. When we live a spiritual life we will not have darkness. Instead, we will be happy.

Great Spirit, today, let me walk the Red Road

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Journey To The Heart
April 28
Reward Yourself

Take time to reward yourself. Let it become a deliberate and practiced habit.

Many of us grew up in families, or with people, who didn’t reward us. We weren’t rewarded for good behavior; we weren’t rewarded or loved unconditionally, just for being, and particularly for being us. Althought many of us may strive to change that behavior by rewarding the people around us, we may have neglected the importance of rewarding someone very important– ourselves.

It is one thing to mentally congratulate ourselves for a job well done. It is another to take the time to actually, deliberately, and specifically reward ourselves. How many years do we have to live before it’s time to treat ourselves? How much good do we have to do before it’s good enough to give ourselves a gift? Maybe it’s time right now–today– to begin practicing the habit of rewarding ourselves.

Our souls can become tired, very weary of striving to grow, to do things well, to do our best at life, love, and work if there is no reward. Our passion can wane if good is never good enough, and if the rewards and pleasure are always at bay–somewhere out in the distant future. If you find yourself beginning to resist working hard, doing well, striving for spiritual growth, maybe it’s because you’re neglecting to reward yourself for all you’ve already done. If you feel like the world offers no reward to you, maybe it’s because you’re not cooperating by rewarding yourself.

Stop punishing and depriving yourself. Don’t let others punish you for a job, a day, or a life well done. Instead, reward yourself. Take a break and do something especially nice for you, something that would make you happy. Buy yourself something. It can be a little gift. Or you can splurge. Take yourself somewhere you want to go– in your home town, or in another country. Do something fun, magical and exciting, something that makes your heart sing and your spirit soar. Reward yourself by allowing yourself to enjoy what you give yourself, or what you’re doing. Make rewarding yourself an attitude.

Reward yourself often. When you accomplish a particular task. When you’ve gone through a grueling part of your healing process. Reward yourself during those frustrating times, just for being so patient. Sometimes, reward yourself just for being you.

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Today’s Gift
April 28

I will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.
—Lillian Hellman

Every fall there seems to be something new and different to get for school – a special folder, a new style of pants, or maybe a different haircut. These things change from year to year.

Sometimes we get carried away with the current trends. We start putting too much importance on such things. We may be tempted to join our friends in teasing someone who doesn’t wear the “right” clothes, or avoid someone who doesn’t say the “right” things. This is when we need God’s help.

Perhaps we can become the leaders for the next trend – looking beyond appearances of others to the beauty inside them.

Will I see the true value in those around me today?

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The Language of Letting Go
April 28
Anger at Family Members

Many of us have anger toward certain members of our family. Some of us have much anger and rage – anger that seems to go on year after year.

For many of us, anger was the only way to break an unhealthy bondage or connection between a family member and ourselves. It was the force that kept us from being held captive – mentally, emotionally, and sometimes spiritually – by certain family members.

It is important to allow ourselves to feel – to accept – our anger toward family members without casting guilt or shame on ourselves. It is also important to examine our guilty feelings concerning family members as anger and guilt are often intertwined.

We can accept, even thank, our anger for protecting us. But we can also set another goal: taking our freedom.

Once we do, we will not need our anger. Once we do, we can achieve forgiveness.

Think loving thoughts; think healing thoughts toward family members. But let ourselves be as angry as we need to be.

At some point, strive to be done with the anger. But we need to be gentle with ourselves if the feelings surface from time to time.

Thank God for the feelings. Feel them. Release them. Ask God to bless and care for our families. Ask God to help us take freedom and take care of ourselves.

Let the golden light of healing shine upon all we love and upon all with whom we feel anger. Let the golden light of healing shine on us.

Trust that a healing is taking place, now.

Help me accept the potent emotions I may feel toward family members. Help me be grateful for the lesson they are teaching me. I accept the golden light of healing that is now shining on my family and me. I thank God that healing does not always come in a neat, tidy package.

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More Language Of Letting Go
April 28
Say what you did

“How do you think it went?” Rob, my flight instructor asked me after my one-hour flying lesson.

I was used to this part of the drill by now. After a skydive or after a flight lesson, the student usually takes the time to sit down with the instructor and review the session. I reviewed the takeoff and landing, the maneuvers I had done, and objecrively analyzed my fear and performance level. I critiqued where I needed improvement and what my goals were for the next session. Then came my favorite part. I had to pick out what I liked best about my flying that day.

I thought for a while. “I think I taxied really well,” I said. “I’m really getting the hang of it.”

Sometimes, in the busyness and exuberance of living our lives, it’s easy to forget to take time to debrief. By the time we fall into bed at night, we’re tired and done with the day.

Take an extra moment or two at night. Make room for a new habit in your life. The Twelve Step programs call it “taking an inventory.” Some people call it “debriefing.”

The purpose of an inventory isn’t to criticize. It’s to stay conscious and objectively analyze what happened. Go over the events of the day. What did you do? How do you feel about what you did? Where could you use improvement? What would you like to do tomorrow? And most important, what was your favorite part of the Day?

Don’t overanalyze. Don’t use debriefing as a self-torture session. Simply say what you did, where you’d like to see improvement, and what you mosr enjoyed. You might be surprised at the awareness and power this simple activity can bring.

God, help me take the time to debrief.

Activity: If you have a spouse or a roommate, making a regular ritual out of doing a debriefing together can be a great intimacy-building activity. You can encourage your children to learn to debrief from the day at a young age. Or, you can debrief with a friend, on the phone, at the end of the day. You’ll not only get to know yourself better, but will also become closer to the other person,too.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
April 28

Indeed, this need of individuals to be right is so great that they are willing to sacrifice themselves, their relationships, and even love for it.
—Reuel Howe

We may have an inner drive to be right – and even to prove we are right. We often have been expected to know about the world and how things work, as if our manhood were tied to knowing. So when we don’t know the right answer, or when a person disagrees with us, we may get upset because we feel our masculine honor is in question.

We should always remember that our honor requires being honest, not being right. Our masculinity is being true to ourselves as men, not being invincible. Demanding that our opinions always be accepted as right is destructive to our relationships. It cuts us off from people we love, and becomes hostile and selfish. We are learning to allow room for differences; we can love and respect people we disagree with. And we all have a right to be wrong part of the time.

I don’t have to have all the right answers. Today, my ideas are just one man’s honest thoughts.

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Daily TAO
April 28
GUIDANCE

Worship with your conscience,
Receive grace with humility.
Guide with awareness,
Lead with modesty.

The altar is a tool. If we kneel before it and say we have done wrong, we are really telling that to ourselves. If we give thanks for our good fortune, we are expressing our modest appreciation for good luck. There is no outside force listening to us. There is no divine retribution for our wickedness. The altar is merely symbolic. Those who follow Tao use it to focus their self-awareness.

When we step away from the altar, we should not lose self-awareness. We should not take the fact that worship is symbolic to behave in immoral ways. Instead, we still have to act with a conscience and lead others without manipulating them or taking advantage of them.

It takes maturity to grasp that there are no gods and yet still behave as if there were. It takes insight to know that you must be your own disciplinarian. Only the wisest can lay down their own “divine laws” and find guidance as if they were truly heaven’s word.

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DailyZen
April 28

If you gather your mind in samadhi
You will understand the process
By which phenomena rise and fall.

– Sutra of Bequeathed Teachings

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Food for Thought
April 28
Failure

If the OA program demanded perfection, then we would all be failures. Our goal is progress, not perfection, since none of us will ever be perfect.

It is said that the only time we fail in OA is when we do not try again. When we stumble or slip in our physical abstinence or in our emotional and spiritual life (and the three are always interrelated), the important thing is to pick ourselves up and keep going. We may lose battles here and there, but if we rely on our Higher Power, we will win the war.

None of us is free from temptation. Even when we abstain from compulsive overeating we may indulge in self-pity, envy, or anger. There is always the danger of pride and self-will. Perhaps it is through our failures that we become humble enough to seek and accept God’s help. If we could manage by ourselves, we would have no need for a Higher Power. A failure is an opportunity to start again.

From failure, may I humbly learn to walk more closely with You.

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In God’s Care
April 28

That was another mystery: it sometimes seemed to him that venial sins – impatience, an unimportant lie, pride, a neglected opportunity – cut you off from grace more completely than the worst sins of all.
~~Graham Greene

Our old negative ways of handling things – brooding, complaining, ignoring people – not only harm us, but they harm others as well. Evem more, they cut us off from God. And because the small wrongdoings often lead to bigger transgressions, perhaps that’s why they take on greater importance.

Fortunately, practicing the Tenth Step can bring us back to our senses. Taking an end-of-the-day inventory can stop a negative attitude that might have consumed us for days. And when we again make conscious contact with God, it is as if we had never taken our little detour. God’s love never strays.

When I am down, I need to take an inventory of my attitude.

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Faith’s Check Book
April 28
It Becomes Mutual

I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
(2 Corinthians 6:16)

Here is a mutual interest. Each belongs to each. God is the portion of His people, and the chosen people are the portion of their God. The saints find in God their chief possession, and He reckons them to be His peculiar treasure. What a mine of comfort lies in this fact for each believer!

This happy condition of mutual interest leads to mutual consideration. God will always think of His own people, and they will always think of Him. This day my God will perform all things for me; what can I do for Him? My thoughts ought to run toward Him, for He thinketh upon me. Let me make sure that it is so and not be content with merely admitting that so it ought to be.

This, again, leads to mutual fellowship. God dwells in us, and we dwell in Him; He walks with us, and we walk with God….

Oh, for grace to treat the Lord as my God: to trust Him and to serve Him, as His Godhead deserves! Oh, that I could love, worship, adore, and obey Jehovah in spirit and in truth! This is my heart’s desire. When I shall attain to it, I shall have found my heaven. Lord, help me! Be my God in helping me to know Thee as my God, for Jesus’ sake.

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This Morning’s Meditation
April 28, 2012

“Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope.”
—Psalm 119:49.

WHATEVER your especial need may be, you may readily find some promise in the Bible suited to it. Are you faint and feeble because your way is rough and you are weary? Here is the promise—”He giveth power to the faint.” When you read such a promise, take it back to the great Promiser, and ask Him to fulfil His own word. Are you seeking after Christ, and thirsting for closer communion with Him? This promise shines like a star upon you—”Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Take that promise to the throne continually; do not plead anything else, but go to God over and over again with this—”Lord, Thou hast said it, do as Thou hast said.” Are you distressed because of sin, and burdened with the heavy load of your iniquities? Listen to these words—”I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will no more remember thy sins.” You have no merit of your own to plead why He should pardon you, but plead His written engagements and He will perform them. Are you afraid lest you should not be able to hold on to the end, lest, after having thought yourself a child of God, you should prove a castaway? If that is your state, take this word of grace to the throne and plead it: “The mountains may depart, and the hills may be removed, but the covenant of My love shall not depart from thee.” If you have lost the sweet sense of the Saviour’s presence, and are seeking Him with a sorrowful heart, remember the promises: “Return unto Me, and I will return unto you;” “For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee.” Banquet your faith upon God’s own word, and whatever your fears or wants, repair to the Bank of Faith with your Father’s note of hand, saying, “Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope.”

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