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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – August 16, 2014

Just For Today
August 16, 2014
Up Or Down

“This is our road to spiritual growth. We change every day…. This growth is not the result of wishing but of action and prayer.”
Basic Text, p. 35-36

Our spiritual condition is never static; if it’s not growing, it’s decaying. If we stand still, our spiritual progress will lose its upward momentum. Gradually, our growth will slow, then halt, then reverse itself. Our tolerance will wear thin; our willingness to serve others will wane; our minds will narrow and close. Before long, we’ll be right back where we started: in conflict with everyone and everything around us, unable to bear even ourselves.

Our only option is to actively participate in our program of spiritual growth. We pray, seeking knowledge greater than our own from a Power greater than ourselves. We open our minds and keep them open, becoming teachable and taking advantage of what others have to share with us. We demonstrate our willingness to try new ideas and new ways of doing things, experiencing life in a whole new way. Our spiritual progress picks up speed and momentum, driven by the Higher Power we are coming to understand better each day.

Up or down – it’s one or the other, with very little in between, where spiritual growth is concerned. Recovery is not fueled by wishing and dreaming, we’ve discovered, but by prayer and action.

Just for today: The only constant in my spiritual condition is change. I cannot rely on yesterday’s program. Today, I seek new spiritual growth through prayer and action.

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Daily Reflections
August 16, 2014
“I HAD DROPPED OUT”

We might next ask ourselves what we mean when we say that we have “harmed” other people. What kinds of “harm” do people do one another, anyway? To define the word “harm” in a practical way, we might call it the result of instincts in collision, which cause physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual damage to people.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS , p. 80

I had been to Eighth Step meetings, always thinking, “I really haven’t harmed many people, mostly myself.” But the time came when I wrote my list out and it was not as short as I thought it would be. I either liked you, disliked you, or needed something from you – it was that simple. People hadn’t done what I wanted them to do and intimate relationships were out of hand because of my partners unreasonable demands. Were these “sins of omission”? Because of my drinking, I had “dropped out” – never sending cards, returning calls, being there for other people, or taking part in their lives.  What a grace it has been to look at these relationships, to make my inventories in quiet, alone with the God of my understanding, and to go forth daily, with a willingness to be honest and forthright in my relationships.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
August 16, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

“The alcoholic is absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. We must admit we can do nothing about it ourselves. Willpower and self-knowledge will never help in the strange mental blank spots when we are tempted to drink. An alcoholic mentally is in a very sick condition. The last flicker of conviction that we can do the job ourselves must be snuffed out. The spiritual answer and the program of action are the only hope. Only spiritual principles will solve our problems. We are completely helpless apart from Divine help. Our defense against drinking must come from a Higher Power.”  Have I accepted the spiritual answer and the program of action?

Meditation For The Day

Rest now until life, eternal life, flowing through your veins and heart and mind, bids you to bestir yourself. Then glad work will follow. Tired work is never effective. The strength of God’s spirit is always available to the tired mind and body. He is your physician and your healer. Look to these quiet times of communion with God for rest, for peace, for cure. Then rise refreshed in spirit and go out to work, knowing that your strength is able to meet any problems because it is reinforced by God’s power.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that the peace I have found will make me effective. I pray that I may be relieved of all strain during this day.

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As Bill Sees It
August 16, 2014
The Beginning of True Kinship, p.228

When we reached A.A., and for the first time in our lives stood among people who seemed to understand, the sense of belonging was tremendously exciting. We thought the isolation problem had been solved.

But we soon discovered that, while we weren’t alone any more in a social sense, we still suffered many of the old pangs of anxious apartness. Until we had talked with complete candor of our conflicts, and had listened to someone else do the same thing, we still didn’t belong.

Step Five was the answer. It was the beginning of true kinship
with man and God.

12 & 12, p. 57

As Bill Sees It
August 16, 2014
The Beginning of True Kinship, p.228

When we reached A.A., and for the first time in our lives stood among people who seemed to understand, the sense of belonging was tremendously exciting. We thought the isolation problem had been solved.

But we soon discovered that, while we weren’t alone any more in a social sense, we still suffered many of the old pangs of anxious apartness. Until we had talked with complete candor of our conflicts, and had listened to someone else do the same thing, we still didn’t belong.

Step Five was the answer. It was the beginning of true kinship
with man and God.

12 & 12, p. 57

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Walk In Dry Places
August 16, 2014
Who is the Key person?
Respecting others

The Twelve Step movement grew out of a society that practiced a Key Person strategy; If you could win important persons into your group, others of high standing would follow.

The experience of Alcoholics Anonymous led a different strategy: Work with anybody who wants help, and let leaders appear as they will. The leaders, whom we call trusted servants, were sometimes very ordinary people in the eyes of the world. Some were like Bill W., people of great ability whose careers had been wrecked by alcoholism.

In any case, it is obvious that we are poor judge of who might become a key person. In the sight of God, we’re told, all humans are equal. Our best success comes when we treat every newcomer as a key person.

I’ll remember today to view every person with the respect and consideration that is usually extended to people whom the world considers important.

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Keep It Simple
August 16, 2014

The strongest rebellion may be expressed in quiet, undramatic behavior.
—Benjamin Spock

In recovery, we each rebel against our disease. Each day we fight for the freedom to stay close to our Higher Power, friends and family.

It’s mainly a quiet battle. It’s fought daily. We fight and win by acting in a spiritual way. We fight and win every time we help a friend, go to meetings, or read about how to improve our lives

We move slowly but always forward. Rushing will only tire us out. Our battle will go on for life.

We are quiet fighters, but we’re strong, for we do not fight alone. And we know what waits for us if we lose.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me stay free. When I want to give up, help me realize this is normal. Help me to keep fighting at these times.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll be a rebel. I will go to an extra meeting, or I’ll talk with my sponsor. I’ll find a way to help someone without the person knowing.

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Alcoholics Anonymous – Fourth Edition
August 16, 2014
The Man Who Mastered Fear

He spent eighteen years in running away, and then found he didn’t have to run. So he started A.A. in Detroit.

The ensuing nine years were the Depression years, both nationally and personally. With the bravery born of desperation , and abetted by alcohol, I married a young and lovely girl. Our marriage lasted four years. At least three of those four years must have been a living hell for my wife, because she had to watch the man she loved disintegrate morally, mentally, and financially. The birth of a baby boy did nothing toward staying the downward spiral. When she finally took the baby and left, I locked myself in the house and stayed drunk for a month.

pp. 248-249

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
August 16, 2014

Step Twelve – “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

A.A. has many single alcoholics who wish to marry and are in a position to do so. Some marry fellow A.A.’s. How do they come out? On the whole these marriages are very good ones. Their common suffering as drinkers, their common interest in A.A. and spiritual things, often enhance such unions. It is only where “boy meets girl on A.A. campus,” and love follows at first sight, that difficulties may develop. The prospective partners need to be solid A.A.’s and long enough acquainted to know that their compatibility at spiritual, mental, and emotional levels is a fact and not wishful thinking. They need to be as sure as possible that no deep-lying emotional handicap in either will be likely to rise up under later pressures to cripple them. The considerations are equally true and important for the A.A.’s who marry “outside” A.A. With clear understanding and right, grown-up attitudes, very happy results do follow.

pp. 119-120

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Xtra Thoughts
August 16, 2014

In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.
–Flora Edwards

There are only three possible outcomes for alcoholics: locked up, covered up, or sobered up.
–unknown

Seven days without a meeting makes one weak.
–Herb B.

“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”
–Ambrose Bierce

If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money on them.
–Abigail Van Buren

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.
–Cited in The Best of…BITS & PIECES

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
August 16, 2014
SACRIFICE

“To believe in sensible ideas is easy, but to implement them involves sacrifice.”
– Dorothy Fosdick

What am I prepared to sacrifice for what I want? I remember the time I said I would do “anything”. Today I know that anything must be translated into something. No person, job or thing can be allowed to come between myself and abstinence. This love of self will enable me to love others. But I must remember to sacrifice my desire to please others and place my needs as a priority in my life.

Today I know that if I do not love myself enough to make sacrifices, then I can be nothing.

In gratitude I give up those things I know will hurt me.

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Bible Scriptures
August 16, 2014

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
2 Timothy 1:7-10

“He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”
Romans 8:11

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Daily Inspiration
August 16, 2014

Becoming overwhelmed creeps up slowly, one commitment at a time. Lord, help me regain my time and sanity, accomplish my priorities without major setbacks, and have quiet time left to nurture my spirit.

Be patient with others, but mostly be patient with yourself. Lord, help me to keep a smile on my face and to realize my goodness and refuse to dwell on my imperfections.

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A Day At A Time
August 16, 2014

Reflection For The Day

Inventory-taking isn’t always done in red ink.  It’s a rare day when we haven’t done something right.  As I uncover and face my shortcomings, my many good qualities will be revealed to me also, reminding me that they have the same reality as my faults.  Even when we’ve tried hard and failed, for instance, we can chalk that up as one of the greatest credits of all.  I’ll try to appreciate my good qualities, because they not only offset the faults, but give me a foundation on which to grow.  It’s just as self-deceptive to discount what’s good in us as to justify what is not.  Can I take comfort in my positive qualities, accepting myself as a friend?

Today I Pray

If I find only defects when I look in that Fourth Step  mirror, may I be sure that I am missing something — namely my good points.  Although my ultra-modesty may be just approved socially, may I learn that it is just as dishonest as rationalizing away my faults.  Even an out-and-out failure, if examined from all sides, may turn up a plus along with the obvious minuses.

Today I Will Remember

To give myself, if not a A for effort, at least an average B minus.

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One More Day
August 16, 2014

Be not afraid of life.  Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.
–  William James

The words “life is worth living” may seem inappropriate to someone who has a serious personal conflict.  A pat on the shoulder or a hug just isn’t enough to convince us that all we are going through makes life “worth living.”

A sense of worthiness is an ongoing process.  And the value of life is affirmed and strengthened by our willingness to listen to our emotional and physical needs – especially when we feel unhappy or unhealthy.  That willingness is shown in action.  A cup of coffee and a good cry with a close friend, acceptance of our Higher Powers wisdom and care, or seeking help from a trained professional — all of these actions say, “I and my life have worth.”

By helping myself, I will act on my belief that life is worth living.

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One Day At A Time
August 16, 2014
Twelve Steps ~ Twelve Beautiful Gifts

“Each day provides its own gifts.”
Marcus Aurelius

For each step there is a principle. I believe that with each step I received a gift.

STEP ONE: We admitted we were powerless over food ~ that our lives had become unmanageable.
(I received a silver mirror that revealed reality and truth when I looked into it.)

STEP TWO: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
(I received a stone to put in my pocket. It had the word “hope” engraved on its face and was comforting in my hand when I held it.)

STEP THREE: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
(I received a pair of wings for my soul.)

STEP FOUR: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
(I received a candle to search out my hidden shame.)

STEP FIVE: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
(I received a beautiful note that said, “Welcome to the human race. We are so glad to have you back.”)

STEP SIX: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
(I received a dove to put my burdens upon and set it free.)

STEP SEVEN: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
(I received a small box engraved with the words, “I will place my problems here.”)

STEP EIGHT: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
(I received a map that led to the future.)

STEP NINE: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
(I received an eraser to correct the mistakes I had made.)

STEP TEN: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
(I received a scale to weigh and balance my actions ~ and to measure my growth.)

STEP ELEVEN: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
(I received a communication device able to span all doubt and prejudice.)

STEP TWELVE: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

One day at a time …
The fountain I received bubbles eternal hope and new ideas. I will daily sooth my soul with gratitude.

~ Judy

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Journey To The Heart
August 16, 2014
Tap into the Creative Flow

Life is creative, and so are you. Let the creative energy of the universe come alive for you. Let it help you bring your creativity alive. Let it bring you the answers, the direction, the guidance you need to create. Let it bring you your ingredients.

What are you trying to create? A more loving, open relationship? More spiritual growth? A new job? A book? A new home? A friendship? A play? A song? A quilt? A meal? A budget? Ask the universe for the help you need. Ask it to help you find your ingredients; ask it to help you form your vision, get clear on your ideas, and produce the best creation you can.

Your answer may come quickly. As we grow and embrace our connection to the universe, as we embrace our connection to ourselves, we find many of our answers appearing almost immediately. If the answer doesn’t come right away, don’t try to force it. The help will come. The idea will come. The next ingredient for your creation will appear. Sometimes the answer will come softly, almost as a whisper. Other times, the guidance will be loud and clear. You will see and hear the guidance clearly and easily when you continue to love yourself.

Tap into the creative energy of the universe. It will help you tap into your own. To tap into God and the creative force, just tap into your heart.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day August 16

“The best teachers have shown me that things have to be done bit by bit. Nothing that means anything happens quickly – we only think it does.”
–Joseph Bruchac, ABENAKI

There are no short cuts. Every tree must grow according to the growth plan of the Creator. Every flower must grow according to the plan of God. The moon must make its trip around the earth according to God’s plan. Every human being must grow according to the plan of the Creator.  Sometimes we look at ourselves and we think we are not growing but we are always growing. Because we cannot see it with our mind does not mean it is not happening. We must be patient with ourselves and let the Creator direct our growth.

My Creator, let me be patient. Let me realize that You are in charge of all things. Let me realize that I must grow my roots a little at a time to become strong.

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Today’s Gift
August 16, 2014

I’ll be the sun upon your head, The wind about your face, My love upon the path you tread, And upon your wanderings, peace.
—Gordon Bok

Today I will feel. I will feel wind and water, earth and sun. I will feel rain, the taste of it, and the soft sting of its coolness. I will feel the familiar touch of my shirt against my skin, my hair across my face in the wind.

Today I will feel love like a candle on a birthday cake that never goes out – no matter how much you blow on it. I will feel compassion like a toothache, a dull pain that lets me go about my business but never goes away. I will feel joy and sorrow, pain, and pleasure. Today I will feel. I will feel like a human being, unique as a snowflake, common as grass.

How many different ways do I feel today?

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The Language of Letting Go
August 16, 2014
Rescuing Ourselves

No one likes a martyr.

How do we feel around martyrs? Guilty, angry, trapped, negative, and anxious to get away.

Somehow, many of us have developed the belief that depriving ourselves, not taking care of ourselves, being a victim, and suffering needlessly will get us what we want.

It is our job to notice our abilities, our strengths, and take care of ourselves by developing and acting on them.

It is our job to notice our pain and weariness and appropriately take care of ourselves.

It is our job to notice our deprivation, too, and begin to take steps to give ourselves abundance. It begins inside of us, by changing what we believe we deserve, by giving up our deprivation and treating ourselves the way we deserve to be treated.

Life is hard, but we don’t have to make it more difficult by neglecting ourselves. There is no glory in suffering, only suffering. Our pain will not stop when a rescuer comes, but when we take responsibility for ourselves and stop our own pain.

Today, I will be my own rescuer. I will stop waiting for someone else to work through my issues and solve my problems for me.

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More Language Of Letting Go
August 16, 2014
Thanks for my heart

“Last Thursday, I was able to find the courage to end a relationship I had been struggling with. I knew there was nowhere for it to go, and I was seeing some scary character traits in this person. Now, I am dealing with a lot of sadness. That tells me that the urge we humans have for bonding with each other, and the desire for companionship, must be incredibly strong. I am grateful even more than I am sad.”

It was just a short message on the on-line bulletin board I maintained at the hazeldon.org Web site. That’s all the woman needed to say. For me, the lesson was clear and complete: be grateful for our hearts.

God, thank you for the ability and desire to love. Love is a cherished gift from you.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
August 16, 2014

We did not all come over on the same ship, but we were all in the same boat.
—Bernard M. Baruch

As we listen to others’ stories and tell our own, we see roads into this program are different. Some of us hit bottom. Others were spared the worst catastrophes, getting the message of recovery early. In the final analysis, we are all in the same boat with our powerlessness. The differences are superficial. There is no higher or lower status for anyone in our program. When it comes to the power of our addictions and co-dependencies, we are equally in need of help from our Higher Power.

Perhaps there was a time when we felt totally alone with our problems. But we were alone just like thousands of others needing recovery. Because we all have suffered and know our need for help, we can now have a caring and supportive group. We can turn to our brothers and sisters in the program knowing that they are in the same boat, and they will understand. No one else provides that kind of healing relationship.

I am grateful for the closeness I have with others who are in the same boat with me.

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 Daily TA0
August 16, 2014
Depth

      Morning light illuminates the meditating wrestler.
      In his mind, even a wooden temple is washed away.
      Who could challenge an ocean’s depths?

There once was a wrestler who, in spite of his great physical stature, lost most of his matches. He consulted coach after coach, but no one could show him how to win. Although he lacked neither might nor skill, he did lack concentration and confidence.

Finally, he went to consult a meditation master who agreed to help. “Your name means ‘Vast Ocean,'” observed the master. “Therefore I will give you this meditation to practice.”

That night, the wrestler sat alone in the shrine and first visualized himself as waves. Gradually, the waves increased in size. Soon, he became a flood. Then the flood became a deluge, and finally a tidal wave. In his mind, everything was swept before him: Even the gods on the altar and the timbers of the temple were consumed in his surge.

Near dawn, the water settled into a vast and endless sea. That morning, the master came to check on the wrestler’s progress and was delighted. He knew the wrestler would not lose again.

For each of us, it is only depth of character that determines the profundity with which we face life. We can either add to our character each day, or we can fritter away our energies in distractions. Those who learn how to accumulate character each day achieve a depth that cannot be successfully opposed.

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Food For Thought
August 16, 2014
Today Is the Day

Many of us have spent most of our lives dreaming of the day when we would be thin and attractive and able to do the things we want to do. We have put off living to some indefinite time in the future. As long as we were fat, we had a reason to avoid challenges and delay satisfactions. By not attempting to realize our dreams, we averted the risks of failure and the possibilities of success.

The OA program teaches us how to live today. One step at a time, we begin today to do the things we were putting off until tomorrow. We learn that we can live now, day by day, instead of waiting for the future.

Abstaining from compulsive overeating brings self-respect and determination to develop our unique potential. The time to get a job, take dancing lessons, be a friend – that time is now, today.

Thank You for the opportunities of today.

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Daily Zen
August 16, 2014

Standing alone beneath a solitary pine;
Quickly the time passes.
Overhead the endless sky
Who can I call to join me on this path?

– Ryokan (1758-1831)

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Faith’s Check Book
August 16, 2014
Uncover and Confess Sin

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
(Proverbs 28:13)

Here is the way of mercy for a guilty and repenting sinner. He must cease from the habit of covering sin. This is attempted by falsehood, which denies sin; by hypocrisy, which conceals it; by boasting, which justifies it; and by loud profession, which tries to make amends for it.

The sinner’s business is to confess and forsake. The two must go together. Confession must be honestly made to the Lord Himself, and it must include within itself acknowledgment of the wrong, sense of its evil, and abhorrence of it. We must not throw the fault upon others, nor blame circumstances, nor plead natural weakness. We must make a clean breast of it and plead guilty to the indictment. There can be no mercy till this is done.

Furthermore, we must forsake the evil; having owned our fault, we must disown all present and future intent to abide in it. We cannot remain in rebellion and yet dwell with the King’s majesty. The habit of evil must be quitted, together with all places, companions, pursuits, and books which might lead us astray. Not for confession, nor for reformation, but in connection with them we find pardon by faith in the blood of Jesus.

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This Morning’s Readings
August 16, 2014

“Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.”
—Psalm 29:2.

GOD’S glory is the result of His nature and acts. He is glorious in His character, for there is such a store of everything that is holy, and good, and lovely in God, that He must be glorious. The actions which flow from His character are also glorious; but while He intends that they should manifest to His creatures His goodness, and mercy, and justice, He is equally concerned that the glory associated with them should be given only to Himself. Nor is there aught in ourselves in which we may glory; for who maketh us to differ from another? And what have we that we did not receive from the God of all grace? Then how careful ought we to be to walk humbly before the Lord! The moment we glorify ourselves, since there is room for one glory only in the universe, we set ourselves up as rivals to the Most High. Shall the insect of an hour glorify itself against the sun which warmed it into life? Shall the potsherd exalt itself above the man who fashioned it upon the wheel? Shall the dust of the desert strive with the whirlwind? Or the drops of the ocean struggle with the tempest? Give unto the Lord, all ye righteous, give unto the Lord glory and strength; give unto Him the honour that is due unto His name. Yet it is, perhaps, one of the hardest struggles of the Christian life to learn this sentence—”Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy name be glory.” It is a lesson which God is ever teaching us, and teaching us sometimes by most painful discipline. Let a Christian begin to boast, “I can do all things,” without adding “through Christ which strengtheneth me,” and before long he will have to groan, “I can do nothing,” and bemoan himself in the dust. When we do anything for the Lord, and He is pleased to accept of our doings, let us lay our crown at His feet, and exclaim, “Not I, but the grace of God which was with me!”

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This Evening’s Readings
August 16, 2014

“Ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit.”
—Romans 8:23.

RESENT possession is declared. At this present moment we have the first fruits of the Spirit. We have repentance, that gem of the first water; faith, that priceless pearl; hope, the heavenly emerald; and love, the glorious ruby. We are already made “new creatures in Christ Jesus,” by the effectual working of God the Holy Ghost. This is called the firstfruit because it comes first. As the wave-sheaf was the first of the harvest, so the spiritual life, and all the graces which adorn that life, are the first operations of the Spirit of God in our souls. The firstfruits were the pledge of the harvest. As soon as the Israelite had plucked the first handful of ripe ears, he looked forward with glad anticipation to the time when the wain should creak beneath the sheaves. So, brethren, when God gives us things which are pure, lovely, and of good report, as the work of the Holy Spirit, these are to us the prognostics of the coming glory. The firstfruits were always holy to the Lord, and our new nature, with all its powers, is a consecrated thing. The new life is not ours that we should ascribe its excellence to our own merit; it is Christ’s image and creation, and is ordained for His glory. But the firstfruits were not the harvest, and the works of the Spirit in us at this moment are not the consummation—the perfection is yet to come. We must not boast that we have attained, and so reckon the wave-sheaf to be all the produce of the year: we must hunger and thirst after righteousness, and pant for the day of full redemption. Dear reader, this evening open your mouth wide, and God will fill it. Let the boon in present possession excite in you a sacred avarice for more grace. Groan within yourself for higher degrees of consecration, and your Lord will grant them to you, for He is able to do exceeding abundantly above what we ask or even think.

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