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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 29

Just For Today
April 29
“What If….”

“Living just for today relieves the burden of the past and the fear of the future. We learned to take whatever actions are necessary and to leave the results in the hands of our Higher Power.”
Basic Text, pp. 90-91

In our active addiction, fear of the future and what might happen was a reality for many of us. What if we got arrested? lost our job? our spouse died? we went bankrupt? and on, and on, and on. It was not unusual for us to spend hours, even whole days thinking about what might happen. We played out entire conversations and scenarios before they ever occurred, then charted our course on the basis of “what if…” By doing this, we set ourselves up for disappointment after disappointment.

From listening in meetings, we learn that living in the present, not the world of “what if,” is the only way to short-circuit our self-fulfilling prophecies of doom and gloom. We can only deal with what is real today, not our fearful fantasies of the future.

Coming to believe that our Higher Power has only the best in store for us is one way we can combat that fear. We hear in meetings that our Higher Power won’t give us more than we can handle in one day. And we know from experience that, if we ask, the God we’ve come to understand will surely care for us. We stay clean through adverse situations by placing our faith in the care of a Power greater than ourselves. Each time we do, we become less fearful of “what if” and more comfortable with what is.

Just for today: I will look forward to the future with faith in my Higher Power.

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Daily Reflections
April 29
GROUP AUTONOMY

Some may think that we have carried the principle of group autonomy to extremes. For example, in its original “long form,” Tradition Four declares: “Any two or three gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provided that as a group they have no other affiliation.” . . . . But this ultra-liberty is not so risky as it looks.
–A.A. COMES OF AGE, pp. 104-05

As an active alcoholic, I abused every liberty that life afforded. How could A.A. expect me to respect the “ultra-liberty” bestowed by Tradition Four? Learning respect has become a lifetime job.

A.A. has made me fully accept the necessity of discipline and that, if I do not assert it from within, then I will pay for it. This applies to groups too. Tradition Four points me in a spiritual direction, in spite of my alcoholic inclinations.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
April 29
A.A. Thought For The Day

The A.A. program is one of faith, hope, and charity. It’s a program of hope because when new members come into A.A., the first thing they get is hope. They hear older members tell how they had been through the same kind of he!! that they have and how they found the way out through A.A. And this gives them hope that if others can do it, they can do it. Is hope still strong in me?

Meditation For The Day

The rule of God’s kingdom is perfect order, perfect harmony, perfect supply, perfect love, perfect honesty, perfect obedience.  There is no discord in God’s kingdom, only some things still unconquered in God’s children. The difficulties of life are caused by disharmony in the individual man or woman. People lack power because they lack harmony with God and with each other. They think that God fails because power is not manifested in their lives. God does not fail. People fail because they are out of harmony with Him.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be in harmony with God and with other people.  I pray that this harmony will result in strength and success.

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As Bill Sees It
April 29
On The Broad Highway, p. 119

“I now realize that my former prejudice against clergymen was blind and wrong. They have kept alive through the centuries a faith which might have been extinguished entirely. They pointed out the road to me, but I did not even look up, I was so full of prejudice and self-concern.

“When I did open my eyes, it was because I had to. And the man who showed me the truth was a fellow sufferer and a layman. Through him, I saw at last, and I stepped from the abyss to solid ground, knowing at once that my feet were on the broad highway if I chose to walk.”

Letter, 1940

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Walk in Dry Places
April 29
Remember the Past, but don’t live in it.
Living today.

In some ways, the Twelve Step recovery process invites trouble in dealing with the past. We’re supposed to forget the past and live for today. But the opening thoughts delivered at meetings often review the past in painful detail, thus reinforcing the tendency to relive it. How should we approach this problem?

Our need is to remember the past while releasing any bitterness, regrets, or hurts connected with it. We must never live in the past, which we are doing when we feel either resentment or remorse about actions of others or ourselves. It is, however, helpful to remember what happened in the past so that we will no longer repeat the same mistakes.

We should also remember the past as a means of keeping ourselves both humble and honest. It should help us feel gratitude that we no longer have to live as we once did.

Remembering the past in open “lead” meetings is sometimes called “qualifying” as an alcoholic. It is an aid to carrying the message of recovery and a way of building more strength and understanding for today and tomorrow.

I’ll be pleased today that I can remember the past without living in it. I am free from the old hurts and problems that would keep me from directing all of my energies and attention to what I am doing here and now.

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Keep It Simple
April 29

I’m as pure as the driven slush.
–Tallulad Bankhead

The Steps are filled with words and phrases like shortcomings, exact nature of our wrongs, persons we had harmed, and when we were wrong. The Steps help us accept all parts of who we are.

Our program asks us to share these parts of ourselves with others. We heal by doing this.

It’s hard to talk about how wrong we can be, but we must. It’s part of how we recover.

Remember, all of us have bad points. At times, we act like jerks. When we can talk about our mistakes, we end up having less shame inside of us.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to love and accept myself—as You love and accept me. Give me the courage to share all my secret wrongs.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll review my Fourth Step. If I haven’t done this Step, I’ll start today.

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Each Day a New Beginning
April 29

Love between two people is such a precious thing. It is not a possession. I no longer need to possess to complete myself. True love becomes my freedom.
–Angela L. Wozniak

Self-doubt fosters possessiveness. When we lack confidence in our own capabilities, when we fear we don’t measure up as women, mothers, lovers, employees, we cling to old behavior, maybe to unhealthy habits, perhaps to another person. We can’t find our completion in another person because that person changes and moves away from our center. Then we feel lost once again.

Completion of the self accompanies our spiritual progress. As our awareness of the reality of our higher power’s caring role is heightened, we find peace. We trust that we are becoming all that we need to be. We need only have faith in our connection to that higher power. We can let that faith possess us, and we’ll never need to possess someone else.

God’s love is ours, every moment. Recognition is all that’s asked of us. Acceptance of this ever-present love will make us whole, and self-doubt will diminish. Clinging to other people traps us as much as them, and all growth is hampered, ours and theirs.

Freedom to live, to grow, to experience my full capabilities is as close as my faith. I will cling only to that and discover the love that’s truly in my heart and the hearts of my loved ones.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
April 29
LISTENING TO THE WIND

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

After I was released, most of the next few weeks was a blur. One night I caught my husband with another woman. We fought and I followed him in my car and tried to run him down, right in the middle of the main street in town. The incident caused a six-car pileup, and when the law caught up with me later, I was sent to the locked ward again. I do not remember arriving there, and when I woke up, I didn’t know where I was . I was tied to a table with restraints around my wrists, both ankles, and my neck. They shot heavy drugs into my veins and kept me like that for a long time. I was released five days later, there was no one there to drive me home, so I hitchhiked. The house was dark and locked, and no one was anywhere around to let me in. I got a bottle and sat in the snow on the back porch and drank.

p. 465

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
April 29

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

Since Step Four is but the beginning of a lifetime practice, it can be suggested that he first have a look at those personal flaws which are acutely troublesome and fairly obvious. Using his best judgment of what has been right and what has been wrong, he might make a rough survey of his conduct with respect to his primary instincts for sex, security, and society. Looking back over his life, he can readily get under way by consideration of questions such as these:
When, and how, and in just what instances did my selfish pursuit of the sex relation damage other people and me? What people were hurt, and how badly? Did I spoil my marriage and injure my children? Did I jeopardize my standing in the community? Just how did I react to these situations at the time? Did I burn with a guilt that nothing could extinguish? Or did I insist that I was the pursued and not the pursuer, and thus absolve myself? How have I reacted to frustration in sexual matters? When denied, did I become vengeful or depressed? Did I take it out on other people? If there was rejection or coldness at home, did I use this as a reason for promiscuity?

pp. 50-51

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Xtra Thoughts
April 29

The mind is like a parachute; it works much better when it’s open.
–Dpurpleldy

“A friend will see us at our worst, as well as our best.  A friend will not close his or her heart when we have made a mistake.  A friend will not condemn us but will compassionately support our return to a state of grace.”
–Marianne Williamson

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
–Carl Jung

We must release the old to make room for the new.
–Alan Cohen

“People will come and go from my life. Today I’m trying to learn how to be the kind of person that I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
–Unknown

“People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.”
–Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
April 29
ENJOYMENT

“Man, unlike the animals, has never learned that the sole purpose of life is to enjoy it.”
–Samuel Butler

Spirituality enables me to enjoy my life. I enjoy my sobriety. I enjoy the freedom of a “God as I understand Him”. I enjoy the fellowship of ideas and opinions that are based on love and honest sharing. The world is to be enjoyed and not endured! God is fun.

For years I thought that God was a judge to be feared; angry, hostile and revengeful. Strange how silly this all seems now, but for years I was afraid of God and feared His presence. Then I was introduced to a God who is beyond institutions and dogmas, free of creeds and punishments, a loving and joyous God who created me to be happy.  Today I am enjoying my freedom.

God, the Father of the Universe, is also “Daddy” to us all.

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Bible Scriptures
April 29

“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”
–Psalms 145:18

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you.
–Ephesians 4:32

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1

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Daily Inspiration
April 29

When someone makes you happy, let them know and you will both feel better. Lord, may Your love flow through me so that I can easily praise and encourage the goodness in others.

To have a great day isn’t always doing what you like, but trying to like what you must do. Lord, today I will spruce up my attitude and have a great day no matter what my circumstances.

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A Day At A Time
April 29

Reflection For The Day

As I grow in The Program — sharing, caring, and becoming more and more active — I find that it’s becoming easier to live in the Now. Even my vocabulary is changing. No longer is every other sentence salted with such well-used phrases as “could’ve,” “should’ve,” “would’ve,” “might’ve.” What’s done is done and what will be will be The only time that really matters is Now. Am I gaining real pleasure and serenity and peace in The Program?

Today I Pray

That I may collect all my scattered memories from the past and high-flown schemes and overblown fears for future and compact them into the neater confines of Today. Only by living in the Now may I keep my balance, without bending backwards to the past or tipping forward into the future. May I stop trying to get my arms around my whole unwieldy lifetime and carry it around in a gunny sack with me wherever I go.

Today I Will Remember

Make room for today.

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One More Day
April 29

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

If we are always serious and never see the funny side of life, there will be no respite from our illness.  It takes fewer muscles to laugh than to cry.  We’ll breathe easier and deeper, and we’ll be much more content when we laugh.

We can choose to pay attention to why other people are laughing and learn to laugh along with them.  We can try everyday — even every hour — to find the positive or humorous side of life, for laughter helps us put things into perspective.  It lends hope and meaning to life.

I will open my eyes to the funny side of life and laugh with others.

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One Day At A Time
April 29
~ GOODNESS ~

Above all, let us never forget that an act of goodness is in itself an act of happiness.
–Count Maurice Maeterlinck

While in the disease, most of the goodness I tried to do was for ulterior motives. It was only in recovery that I learned to give unselfishly and without strings to help another. In doing so, I have found happiness beyond measure. I can create my own happiness in the service of my Higher Power and other compulsive overeaters. I can make the promise of a “new happiness and a new freedom” come true.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will do acts of goodness.

~ Judy N. ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 29

“The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power…The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing…”
–Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX

Have you ever noticed the relationship between children and the soil? Watch how happily they are touching the dirt. The children play in it and eat it. If you are stressed, go to a spot on the Earth, sit down, put your fingers in the dirt, dig in it. Wash your hands in the soil. When you touch it, notice what it does to your hands. Our bodies love to touch the Earth. Sometimes we get too busy and forget these simple things. Maybe you’ll even want to plant a garden or flowers. These things are mentally healthy.

Great Spirit, today, let me touch the Earth so the Earth can touch me.

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Journey To The Heart
April 29
Comfort Makes Everything Better

With comfort comes nurturing, genuine acceptance, and love. Comfort doesn’t involve any expense. It comes from the heart. It goes right to the heart.

Look at how much better you feel when you receive comfort, when you comfort yourself, when you allow the universe to comfort you. Look at how those around you respond when you give comfort. A comforted person feels renewed. Healed. Genuinely okay. When you’re comforted, the pain and stress that has awakened you each morning dissipates. You open your eyes and feel happy to be here. Happy to be you. You know, really know, that all is well. Finally, you feel safe.

When many of us were young, we ran to our mother, grandmother, or aunt to make a skinned knee, a bruised ego better. Now we are grown, but there’s another mother who can do that,too. Some call her the nurturing, feminine side of God. She is all that is in the universe, and in each of us, that is loving, tender, and gentle. And her comfort really does make everything better.

Comfort heals. It brings joy to the spirit. Comfort renews power,vitality. Comfort opens you up like the sun unfolds the petals of a fragrant and beautiful flower. Simply put, comfort will make you and those around you happy.

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Today’s Gift
April 29

If there is a God, there must also be a Goddess. Neither is more important than the other, both are in balance, together they create a Whole.
—Marion Weinstein

In the olden days, the Goddess was seen as a Trinity: the Maiden or Virgin, the Mother, and the Crone. The Virgin was one-in-herself, owned by no man. The Mother was the one in the fullness of her creative powers, whether creating children, works of art, or other work out in the world. The Crone was the wise old woman.

Both women and men connected with the Triple Goddess. To women, the Goddess was a symbol of their innermost selves and the beneficent, nurturing, liberating power within. The Crone, for example, showed them that all phases of life are sacred, that age is a blessing rather than a curse. To men, the Goddess represented their connection with their own hidden female selves.

We are all made up of aspects of both sexes. This is our balance. When we accept what we know to be truly ourselves, which is often much more than the old role models for men and women allow, we become complete men and women.

What male and female strengths do I have within me?

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The Language of Letting Go
April 29
Initiating Relationships

Often, we can learn much about ourselves from the people to whom we are attracted.

As we progress through recovery, we learn we can no longer form relationships solely on the basis of attraction. We learn to be patient, to allow ourselves to take into account important facts, and to process information about that person.

What we are striving for in recovery is a healthy attraction to people. We allow ourselves to be attracted to who people are, not to their potential or to what we hope they are.

The more we work through our family of origin issues, the less we will find ourselves needing to work through them with the people we’re attracted to. Finishing our business from the past helps us form new and healthier relationships.

The more we overcome our need to be excessive caretakers, the less we will find ourselves attracted to people who need to be constantly taken care of.

The more we learn to love and respect ourselves, the more we will become attracted to people who will love and respect us and who we can safely love and respect.

This is a slow process. We need to be patient with ourselves. The type of people we find ourselves attracted to does not change overnight. Being attracted to dysfunctional people can linger long and well into recovery. That does not mean we need to allow it to control us. The fact is, we will initiate and maintain relationships with people we need to be with until we learn what it is we need to learn – no matter how long we’ve been recovering.

No matter who we find ourselves relating to, and what we discover happening in the relationship, the issue is still about us, and not about the other person. That is the heart, the hope, and the power of recovery.

We can learn to take care of ourselves during the process of initiating and forming relationships. We can learn to go slowly. We can learn to pay attention. We can allow ourselves to make mistakes, even when we know better.

We can stop blaming our relationships on God and begin to take responsibility for them. We can learn to enjoy the healthy relationships and remove ourselves more quickly from the dysfunctional ones.

We can learn to look for what’s good for us, instead of what’s good for the other person.

God, help me pay attention to my behaviors during the process of initiating relationships. Help me take responsibility for myself and learn what I need to learn. I will trust that the people I want and need will come into my life. I understand that if a relationship is not good for me, I have the right and ability to refuse to enter into it – even though the other person thinks it may be good for him or her. I will be open to the lessons I need to learn about me in relationships, so I am prepared for the best possible relationships with people.

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More Language Of Letting Go
April 29
Ask God what to do

I was in treatment for chemical dependency. All I wanted to do was get high, cop some dope,do what I’d done for the past twelve years–obliterate myself. As a last ditch, almost hopeless gesture, I looked at the ceiling in my stark room, the place I had been assigned to sleep. I prayed, God, if there is a program to help me stop using, please help me get it. Twelve days later, sobriety fell down upon me, changing me at the very core of my being, altering the entire course of my life.

I divorced my husband and took on the single-parenting and single-financing role, continuing to pursue my dream of being a writer. My kitchen cupboards were nearly bare of food. I’m not that hungry, but the children are, I prayed. “Don’t worry,” an angelic voice whispered in my ear. “Soon you’ll never have to worry about money again– unless you want to.” An immutable peace settled over me. No food or money fell from the sky. But the peace, a peace as tangible and thick as butter and as healing as the oils of heaven themselves, spread throughout my life.

Years later, my son was stapped to a hospital bed. I touched his foot, his hand. I knew, despite the whooshing of the breathing apparatus, that he was not in that shell anymore. Then the plug got pulled. “No hope, no hope, no hope,” are the only words I can remember. Now, the whooshing sound turns to silence. I say good-bye, walk out of the room, just put one foot in front and walk.

“Just pick me up, and get me some drugs,” I say to a friend, three days later. “I’ve got to have some relief from this pain.” Driving around in the car, hours later, I look at the fresh box of syringes on the seat next to me. “Tell me what you want to put in them,” he says. “Cocaine? Dilaudid? What?” His irritation is as obvious as my hopelessness. My mind runs through the routine. Dilaudid? A medical prescription. If I needed it, legitimately needed it, a doctor would prescribe it for me. No prayers. No hopes. Just simple words came out, this time. “Just take me home,” I said. “I don’t really want to get high.”

Prayer changes things. Prayer changes us. Prayer changes life. Sometimes an event has been manifested that needs to be stopped, midair. Don’t pray just when you’re in trouble. Pray every day. Surround yourself with prayer. You never know when you might need an extra miracle.

Today, if I’ve tried everything else, I’ll try prayer,too.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
April 29

I’ve never started a fight, but I never pulled back from a fight either.
—Billy Martin

Sometimes we walk around with chips on our shoulders. We’re like a tightly wound spring ready to jump at the slightest trigger, when other times we would let the same event go unnoticed. We even say self-righteously, “I didn’t start it.” Now that we are becoming more responsible for ourselves, we are owning our part in relationships. Maybe we have a problem with being like a spring ready to jump. When we are like that, we are difficult to live with or be around.

We can change by getting in touch with our pain. We need to explore our feelings. Perhaps we need to be honest with ourselves about low self-esteem, about feelings of loneliness or fear. Then we must talk with another person or our group about our feelings and continue to talk about them. In this way we become reconciled to ourselves and to our friends around us.

God, help me accept my own pain, and help me be tolerant of my friends’ mistakes.

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Daily TAO
April 29
RESOURCES

Use a mirror in difficult times:
You will see both cause and resolution.

When faced with adversity, you must ask whether you have done
anything to bring misfortune upon yourself. If the present difficulties
are the unforeseen outcome of events that you yourself set in motion,
then it is necessary both to learn from your mistakes and to search for
any possible way to correct it. If the difficulties are due to character
flaws, then the situation should be resolved, and the basic fault must
afterwards be eradicated.

The wonderful part of all this is that the resources for resolving
our problems are also within us. When we watch athletes in competition
and they outperform even their own high standards, we often say that
they reached deep down and were able to give something extraordinary.
When we are in the midst of our own confrontations, we must be the same
way. We need to reach deep within and use the utmost of our abilities to
overcome our obstacles. This is one manifestation of our continuing
efforts at self-development.

When confronted with problems, we have all the more power to
respond. When we triumph, we have even more confidence and facility to
handle future problems. Therefore, meet life head-on. Maintain your
self-cultivation, move forth to confront difficulties, and accumulate
the momentum that success will give you.

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DailyZen
April 29

In the Ch’an perspective wisdom is a state
That is free from attachments,
Free from measurement,
Free from self-reference
And empty of vexation.

– Sheng Yen

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Food for Thought
April 29, 2012
Judge Not

When we have received the gift of abstinence and have gotten rid of excess weight, we sometimes tend to be very critical of those who have not yet succeeded with the physical part of the program. We may also be especially critical of those who obviously need the OA program, but who are not yet willing to try it.

Then there are some of us who resent those who come into the program with very little weight to lose or those who are of normal weight but nevertheless suffer from compulsive overeating.

Instead of worrying about other people and trying to pronounce judgment on their needs and efforts, it would be better to concentrate on our own progress. Only God understands completely where we are at a given moment, and only He can judge our sincerity and growth. We can help and encourage each other, but we are each responsible to our Higher Power.

To refrain from judging others is to stop trying to compare apples and oranges. We are each unique, and we grow according to our individual timetables.

May I not waste time and energy judging others.

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In God’s Care
April 29

Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth try.
~~James A. Michener

The need to be an expert right away continues to cause many of us unnecessary pain. When we fail to do something perfectly on our first attempt, we often feel defeated and our self-esteem takes a dive.

Working a Twelve Step program has taught us to expect spiritual progress, not perfection. With patient attention and perseverance we will reach the level of attainment we’re meant to reach in whatever we try.

Lasting self-esteem comes when we remember to measure our worth by God’s unconditional love. We no longer have to prove anything to anyone. Each new day we seek God’s will for us; we accept our shortcomings; and we promptly admit when we’re wrong. We are thus free to enjoy our particular abilities and achievements as gifts from God.

I will measure my accomplishments today by how much I enjoy making my best effort at whatever I do. The rest, I’ll turn over to God.

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Faith’s Check Book
April 29
Forget and Forgive

Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee. (Proverbs 20:22)

Be not in haste. Let anger cool down. Say nothing and do nothing to avenge yourself. You will be sure to act unwisely if you take up the cudgels and fight your own battles; and, certainly, you will not show the spirit of the Lord Jesus. It is nobler to forgive and let the offense pass. To let an injury rankle in your bosom and to meditate revenge is to keep old wounds open and to make new ones. Better forget and forgive.

Peradventure, you say that you must do something or be a great loser; then do what this morning’s promise advises: “Wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee.” This advice will not cost you money but is worth far more, Be calm and quiet. Wait upon the Lord; tell Him your grievance; spread Rabshakeh’s letter before the Lord, and this of itself will be an ease to your burdened mind. Besides, there is the promise “He shall save thee.” God will find a way of deliverance for you. How He will do it neither you nor I can guess, but do it He will, If the Lord saves you, this will be a deal better than getting into petty quarrels and covering yourself with filth by wrestling with the unclean, Be no more angry. Leave your suit with the Judge of all.

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This Morning’s Meditation
April 29

“Thou art my hope in the day of evil.”—Jeremiah 17:17.

THE path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. True, it is written in God’s Word, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;” and it is a great truth, that religion is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above; but experience tells us that if the course of the just be “As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,” yet sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer’s sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light. There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the earlier stages of their Christian career; they have walked along the “green pastures” by the side of the “still waters,” but suddenly they find the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the Land of Goshen they have to tread the sandy desert; in the place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, “Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen.” Oh! say not so, thou who art walking in darkness. The best of God’s saints must drink the wormwood; the dearest of His children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows. Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.

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