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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – August 17, 2014

Just For Today
August 17, 2014
Tell The Truth

“A symptom of our disease is alienation, and honest sharing will free us to recover.”
Basic Text, p. 80

Truth connects us to life while fear, isolation, and dishonesty alienate us from it. As using addicts, we hid as much of the truth about ourselves from as much of the world as we possibly could. Our fear kept us from opening ourselves up to those around us, providing protection against what others might do if we appeared vulnerable. But our fear also kept us from connecting with our world. We lived like alien beings on our own planet, always alone and getting lonelier by the minute.

The Twelve Steps and the fellowship of recovering addicts give people like us a place where we can feel safe telling the truth about ourselves. We are able to honestly admit our frustrating, humbling powerlessness over addiction because we meet many others who’ve been in the same situation – we’re safe among them. And we keep on telling more of the truth about ourselves as we continue to work the steps. The more we do, the more truly connected we feel to the world around us.

Today, we need not hide from the reality of our relations with the people, places, and things in our lives. We accept those relationships just as they are, and we own our part in them. We take time every day to ask, “Am I telling the truth about myself?” Each time we do this, we draw that much further away from the alienation that characterizes our addiction, and that much closer to the freedom recovery can bring us.

Just for today: Truth is my connection to reality. Today, I will take time to ask myself, “Am I telling the truth?”

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Daily Reflections
August 17, 2014
RIGHTING THE HARM

In many instances we shall find that though the harm done others has not been great, the emotional harm we have done ourselves has.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 79

Have you ever thought that the harm you did a business associate, or perhaps a family member, was so slight that it really didn’t deserve an apology because they probably wouldn’t remember it anyway? If that person, and the wrong done to him, keeps coming to mind, time and again, causing an uneasy or perhaps guilty feeling, then I put that person’s name at the top of my “amends list,” and become willing to make a sincere apology, knowing I will feel calm and relaxed about that person once this very important part of my recovery is accomplished.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
August 17, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

“To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic, a spiritual experience seems impossible, but to continue as he is means disaster. To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face. But we have to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life–or else. Lack of power is our dilemma. We have to find a power by which we can live, and it has to be a power greater than ourselves.” Have I found that power by which I can live?

Meditation For The Day

Sunshine is the laughter of nature. Live out in the sunshine. The sun and air are good medicine. Nature is a good nurse for tired bodies. Let her have her way with you. God’s grace is like the sunshine. Let your whole being been wrapped in the Divine spirit. Faith is the soul’s breathing in of the Divine spirit. It makes glad the hearts of human beings. The Divine spirit heals and cures the mind. Let it have its way and all will be well.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may live in the sunshine of God’s spirit. I pray that my mind and soul may be energized by it.

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As Bill Sees It
August 17, 2014
Day of Homecoming, p. 229

“As sobriety means long life and happiness for the individual, so does unity mean exactly the same thing to our Society as a whole.  Unified we live; disunited we shall perish.”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

“We must think deeply of all those sick ones still to come to A.A. As they try to make their return to faith and to life, we want them to find everything in A.A. that we have found, and yet more, if that be possible. No care, no vigilance, no effort to preserve A.A.’s constant effectiveness and spiritual strength will ever be too great to hold us in full readiness for the day of their homecoming.”

1. Letter, 1949
2. Talk, 1959

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Walk In Dry Places
August 17, 2014
Whom Should we Respect?
Respecting others.

While having dinner in a nice restaurant, my friends and I realized that we were treating the young man bussing the table with cold indifference. He appeared to be unsure of himself, doing his work with apprehension and a lack of confidence.

Here was an example of a person who needed silent encouragement. He needed to be assured that his performance of honest, useful work was respected and appreciated. He also needed to be reminded that he had opportunities to continue developing and using his talents.  Perhaps we, as patrons of the restaurant, could provide that.

Sometimes this encouragement can simply be expressed in the way we act and feel toward people. If it is genuine and based on good spiritual principles, it will be understood. It’s actually a form of practicing the principles of the Twelve Steps in all our affairs.  At the same time, we practice identifying with every person we meet.

I’ll try to take note of every person I come in contact with today, knowing that everyone needs support and encouragement. I can do my part to provide that.

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Keep It Simple
August 17, 2014

Words that do not match deeds are not important.
—Ernesto Ch’e Guevara

What we do can be much more important than what we say. We tend to talk about things we want to do. We need to also be people who do things we talk about. We are not spiritual people unless our actions are spiritual.

Many of us used to be “all or nothing” people. That made us afraid to take the big projects. But now we can get things done, if we take one step at a time. We’re not “all or nothing” people anymore. We’re people who are changing and growing a little every day. And each day our deeds match our words a little better.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me live fully today. Help me not to talk to much about what I want to do. Give me the gift of patience, so I can be pleased with my progress.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list the things that I say I’d like to do. What is one thing I can do today to make each of them happen? I’ll take one step today to match my life to my dreams.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
August 17, 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 moment we say, “No, never!” our minds close against the grace of God. Delay is dangerous, and rebellion may be fatal. This is the exact point at which we abandon limited objectives, and move toward God’s will for us. Haunting me through each day’s stupor—and there were eighteen or nineteen such days in this man’s home—was the thought: Where do I go when his family comes home? When the day of their return was almost upon me, and suicide was the only answer I had been able to think of, I went into Ralph’s room one evening and told him the truth. He was a man of considerable means, and he might have done what many men would have done in such a case. He might have handed me fifty dollars and said that I ought to pull myself together and make a new start. I have thanked God many times in the last sixteen years that that was just what he did not do!

p. 249

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
August 17, 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.”

When the distortion has been great, however, a long period of patient striving may be necessary. After the husband joins A.A., the wife may become discontented, even highly resentful that Alcoholics Anonymous has done the very thing that all her years of devotion had failed to do. Her husband may become so wrapped up in A.A. and his new friends that he is inconsiderately away from home more than when he drank. Seeing her unhappiness, he recommends A.A.’s Twelve Steps and tries to teach her how to live. She naturally feels that for years she has made a far better job of living than he has. Both of them blame each other and ask when their marriage is ever going to be happy again. They may even begin to suspect it had never been any good in the first place.

pp. 118-119

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Xtra Thoughts
August 17, 2014

“We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road.  They get run over.”
–Anuerin Bevan

“You cannot plan the future by the past.”
–Edmund Burke

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.
–Saint Thomas Aquinas

Life is not always what one wants it to be, but to make the best of it as it is, is the only way of being happy.
–Jennie Jerome Churchill

It’s not the load that breaks you down…it’s the way you carry it.
–unknown

He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.
–Marcus Aurelius

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
August 17, 2014
COURAGE

“Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome.”
– Samuel Johnson

There was a time when I never attempted anything because I said it “can’t” be done. I could never get sober. I could never stand up to my drunken friends. I could never face my buried secrets. I could never stop gambling. I could never change my eating habits or stop using cocaine.

Then I heard the confidence and hope that was reflected in people who were recovering from these same problems. I heard people talk about what it was like, what happened and what it is like now. They told me I didn’t mean “can’t”, I meant “won’t”! They told me to take a risk, think positive, try. Today, yesterday’s objections are mere memories.

Thank You for showing me the light at the end of the tunnel. May I continue to walk in the light.

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Bible Scriptures
August 17, 2014

I call on the Lord in my distress and He answers me.
Psalm 120:1

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1

“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.’”
I Corinthians 2:9

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Daily Inspiration
August 17, 2014

Pray together as a family and share each other’s joys and burdens. Lord, he is not heavy. He’s my brother.

If you feel the need to get even, try getting even with those that have helped you. Lord, free me from any thoughts of revenge because this only shuts the door to my own happiness.

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A Day At A Time
August 17, 2014

Reflection For The Day

The Fourth Step suggest we make a searching and fearless moral inventory — not an immoral inventory of ourselves.  The Steps are guidelines to recovery, not whipping posts for self-flagellation.  Taking my inventory doesn’t mean concentrating on my shortcomings until all the good is hidden from view.  By the same token, recognizing the good need not be an act of pride or conceit.  If I recognize my good qualities as God-given, I can take an inventory with true humility while experiencing satisfaction in what is pleasant, loving and generous in me.  Will I try to believe, in Walt Whitman’s words, that “I am larger, better than I thought;  I did not know I held so much goodness…”?

Today I Pray

When I find good things about myself, as I undertake this inner archaeological dig, may I give credit where it is due — to God, who is the giver of all good.  May I appreciate whatever is good about me with humility, as a gift from God.

Today I Will Remember

Goodness is a gift from God

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One Day At A Time
August 17, 2014
TRUST

” ‘Come to the edge’,”he said.  They said, ‘We are afraid.”Come to the edge,’ he said. They came. He pushed them…..and they flew.”
Guillaume Apollinaire

Whenever things look bleak I remember how dark and dismal my life was before my Higher Power led me to this Twelve Step program. Before program I was afraid to reach for recovery. I was afraid to try to be an over-comer and I was afraid to come to the edge. But slowly I inched my way over to that edge and my Higher Power gave me a gentle nudge. I was flying! I wasn’t chained by my disease anymore. I wasn’t trapped in the darkness. I’d come into the light. That day I received a gift from my Higher Power … I received a taste of recovery.

One day at a time …
I come to the edge and trust my Higher Power to give me wings to fly.

~ Jeff R.

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One More Day
August 17, 2014

Sadness is almost never anything but a form of fatigue.
–  Andre Gide

There are times in every life when the road gets a little bumpy.  Occasionally we become so overwhelmed with work, with life in general, that we become exhausted.  With fatigue can come sadness — sadness at not being able to work the way we expected to, sadness at not looking or feeling as well as we want to, or sadness caused by grieving.  We may feel sorry for ourselves or feel nearly paralyzed by fatigue.

We can recognize that fatigue is one of the many forms that sadness takes.  Feeling of sorrow or helplessness can be diminished by confiding them to a friend or to a physician.  We can only be as well as we expect to be — as well as we allow ourselves to be.

When I feel very fatigued or sad, I can be open and honest about my problem.  Hiding behind fatigue only causes sadness.

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Journey To The Heart
August 17, 2014
Let the Shifts Happen

I listened as the tour guide explained the crack, the huge gaping rupture in the earth’s surface as we traveled along Bryce Canyon. My mind traveled back to an earthquake that shook southern California in January 1994. Earthquakes are reminders that life shifts, moves, changes places. Sometimes the shifts are gradual and begin slowly, like the gaping hole in Bryce Canyon that started with a tiny split. Sometimes, as in the California earthquake, the shifts happen in an instant. We don’t know in advance about, and can’t plan for the shift.

But there’s one thing we can count on. Just as nature shifts and moves into new shapes and forms, so do we. Sometimes our shifts happen suddenly. Other times, they take place over years, beginning almost imperceptibly. As we move into increased self-awareness, we will become more aware of these shifts. We’ll know, see, and feel when they’re taking place. We may not know where they’re leading, but we’ll know something’s about. The more we value and trust life, the more we can count on these shifts to lead us forward and trust the new shape being formed in our lives. The more flexible we become, the more we allow for these shifts and work with them instead of against them, the easier they will be.

Life is always moving, changing, shifting into its next shape. The movement is natural. It is how we evolve. Let the shifts happen. Take responsibility for yourself each step of the way. Trust the new shape and form of your world.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – August 17

“If a child hasn’t been given spiritual values within the family setting, they have no familiarity with the values that are necessary for the just and peaceful functioning in society.”
–Eunice Baumann-Nelson, Ph.D, PENOBSCOT

When we are born, we start with a beautiful empty mind ready to be given our beliefs, attitudes, habits and expectations. Most of our true learning comes from watching the actions of others. As we watch our family or relatives, whatever their actions and values are, so will be the children’s values and acts. If we see our families living a just and peaceful way of life, so then will the children. If we see our family shouting, arguing, and hateful, so will it be for the children. The cycle of life – baby, youth, adult and Elder is all connected. If the older ones have good values, it will be connected to the children.

Oh my Creator, if there are values I have missed, it is not too late. I can get them from You. Teach me today Your spiritual values. Respect, trust, giving, honesty, wisdom – teach me these.

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Today’s Gift
August 17, 2014

The word image is nothing more than the French word for picture.
—Roseann Lloyd

A positive image of our family can help us imagine healthy relationships. It can help us appreciate our family when it is working in a healthy way.

One woman took up looking at the pictures in her mind. At last she found one for her family, after considering ordinary pictures like a garden, a team, and a zoo. When her family is happy and thriving, she sees it as a mud pot in Yellowstone Park. Each person is energetic and relaxed. Each is free to bubble up ideas and feelings and projects, free to spout off, gurgle, and pop! Yet the family is together, sharing one old mud hole, warm and cozy, surrounded by beautiful pine trees.

Can I think of an image for my family?

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The Language of Letting Go
August 17, 2014
Healing Thoughts

Think healing thoughts.

When you feel anger or resentment, ask God to help you feel it, learn from it, and then release it. Ask Him to bless those who you feel anger toward. Ask Him to bless you too.

When you feel fear, ask Him to take it from you. When you feel misery, force gratitude. When you feel deprived, know that there is enough.

When you feel ashamed, reassure yourself that who you are is okay. You are good enough.

When you doubt your timing or your present position in life, assure yourself that all is well; you are right where you’re meant to be. Reassure yourself that others are too.

When you ponder the future, tell yourself that it will be good. When you look back at the past, relinquish regrets.

When you notice problems, affirm there will be a timely solution and a gift from the problem.

When you resist feelings or thoughts, practice acceptance. When you feel discomfort, know it will pass. When you identify a want or a need, tell yourself it will be met.

When you worry about those you love, ask God to protect and care for them. When you worry about yourself, ask Him to do the same.

When you think about others, think love. When you think about yourself, think love.

Then watch your thoughts transform reality.

Today, I will think healing thoughts.

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More Language Of Letting Go
August 17, 2014
Get out of the nest

The mother eagle teaches her little ones to fly by making their nest so uncomfortable that they are forced to leave it and commit themselves to the unknown world of air outside. And just so does our God to us.
–Hannah Whitall Smith

Sometimes, the pressure comes from within us. Sometimes, it’s external. That job folds. The relationship stops working. Alcohol and drugs stop working. What am I going to do?

Oh, I see. God’s teaching me to fly again.

Thank you God, for pushing me out of the nest.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
August 17, 2014

Life is change … Growth is optional… Choose wisely…
—Karen Kaiser Clark

We can certainly count on change. We become fathers, our children become more independent, we make new friends, and other friends move away. When a man clings too tightly to the status quo or tries to control the direction of change, he is bound to be disappointed. We are like skiers on a mountain. We must continue down the slope. We can vary our speed somewhat, but if we stop for too long we will get cold or hungry; if we ski too fast, we may have a serious fall. Part of the pleasure is in not being able to control or predict every circumstance we will meet.

We don’t control which loved ones come into our lives and which ones go or whether we become ill or stay healthy. We don’t control life’s opportunities. We can control how we choose to respond to these transitions. Whatever happens can be used for growth and we can commit ourselves to use all experiences that way.

Today, I will not try to control change but will choose to use whatever happens for growth

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Daily TA0
August 17, 2014
Redemption

I meditate daily before the altar,
Yet I am still covered with sin.

In spite of daily efforts to improve ourselves, we still have many faults. We eliminate one, only to find new shortcomings. We free ourselves from some unwanted involvement, only to find new entanglements. Why is it so hard to find liberation? Because our own minds are the source of our difficulties.
Each of us has intelligence and ambition also has profound desire. We want things. We devise strategies to get them. Whether it is the nearly instinctive drive for food or whether it is desire clothed in societal approval, our minds never rest in their hunger for satisfaction. Once we have desire, we grasp for the object of our desire. If the grasping is unsuccessful, we become angry, frustrated, and disappointed. If we get what we want, we only want more.
This grasping never ends. Though we meditate, we cannot eliminate this habit all at once. Therefore, though we may sit with all sincerity before the altar, we must also accept that we will not be quickly redeemed. The follower of Tao knows how to eliminate desire, accept personal shortcomings, and work toward a patient elimination of the mind’s own hunger for outward satisfaction.

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Food For Thought
August 17, 2014
Punishing Ourselves

Most of us have been carrying around a load of guilt. We felt guilty about overeating and periodically used dieting as a form of self-punishment. We felt guilty about not being perfect, and we felt guilty unless we said yes to everything that everyone expected of us.

In this program, we learn to accept the fact that we are human and not perfect. Through the Steps, we are able to get rid of unnecessary guilt and make a fresh start each day. We do not need to continue to punish ourselves for past mistakes, either by overeating or by denying our legitimate rights as individuals.

Abstinence gives us freedom from compulsive overeating and freedom from self-punishment. We give our bodies what they need, and we also nourish our minds, hearts, and spirits. In our fellowship and in our contact with God as we understand Him, we experience the Power of love which wipes out guilt.

I am glad to learn that self-punishment is no longer necessary.

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Daily Zen
August 17, 2014

Have you not seed the idle person of Tao
Who has nothing to learn and nothing to do,
Who neither discards wandering thoughts
Nor seeks the truth?
The real nature of ignorance is
Buddha-nature;
The illusory empty body
Is the Dharma body.

– Yung Chia Hsuan Chueh (665-713)

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Faith’s Check Book
August 17, 2014
Who Has the Majority?

And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
(2 Kings 6:16)

Horses and chariots and a great host shut up the prophet in Dothan. His young servant was alarmed. How could they escape from such a body of armed men? But the prophet had eyes which his servant had not, and he could see a greater host with far superior weapons guarding him from all harm. Horses of fire are mightier than horses of flesh, and chariots of fire are far preferable to chariots of iron.

Even so is it at this hour. The adversaries of truth are many, influential, learned, and crafty; and truth fares ill at their hands; and yet the man of God has no cause for trepidation. Agencies, seen and unseen, of the most potent kind, are on the side of righteousness. God has armies in ambush which will reveal themselves in the hour of need. The forces which are on the side of the good and the true far outweigh the powers of evil. Therefore, let us keep our spirits up, and walk with the gait of men who possess a cheering secret, which has lifted them above all fear. We are on the winning side. The battle may be sharp, but we know how it will end. Faith, having God with her, is in a clear majority: “They that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

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This Morning’s Readings
August 17, 2014

“The mercy of God.”
—Psalm 52:8.

EDITATE a little on this mercy of the Lord. It is tender mercy. With gentle, loving touch, He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He is as gracious in the manner of His mercy as in the matter of it. It is great mercy. There is nothing little in God; His mercy is like Himself—it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners, after great lengths of time, and then gives great favours and great privileges, and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God. It is undeserved mercy, as indeed all true mercy must be, for deserved mercy is only a misnomer for justice. There was no right on the sinner’s part to the kind consideration of the Most High; had the rebel been doomed at once to eternal fire he would have richly merited the doom, and if delivered from wrath, sovereign love alone has found a cause, for there was none in the sinner himself. It is rich mercy. Some things are great, but have little efficacy in them, but this mercy is a cordial to your drooping spirits; a golden ointment to your bleeding wounds; a heavenly bandage to your broken bones; a royal chariot for your weary feet; a bosom of love for your trembling heart. It is manifold mercy. As Bunyan says, “All the flowers in God’s garden are double.” There is no single mercy. You may think you have but one mercy, but you shall find it to be a whole cluster of mercies. It is abounding mercy. Millions have received it, yet far from its being exhausted; it is as fresh, as full, and as free as ever. It is unfailing mercy. It will never leave thee. If mercy be thy friend, mercy will be with thee in temptation to keep thee from yielding; with thee in trouble to prevent thee from sinking; with thee living to be the light and life of thy countenance; and with thee dying to be the joy of thy soul when earthly comfort is ebbing fast.

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This Evening’s Readings
August 17, 2014

“This sickness is not unto death.”
—John 11:4.

FROM our Lord’s words we learn that there is a limit to sickness. Here is an “unto” within which its ultimate end is restrained, and beyond which it cannot go. Lazarus might pass through death, but death was not to be the ultimatum of his sickness. In all sickness, the Lord saith to the waves of pain, “Hitherto shall ye go, but no further.” His fixed purpose is not the destruction, but the instruction of His people. Wisdom hangs up the thermometer at the furnace mouth, and regulates the heat.

1. The limit is encouragingly comprehensive. The God of providence has limited the time, manner, intensity, repetition, and effects of all our sicknesses; each throb is decreed, each sleepless hour predestinated, each relapse ordained, each depression of spirit foreknown, and each sanctifying result eternally purposed. Nothing great or small escapes the ordaining hand of Him who numbers the hairs of our head.

2. This limit is wisely adjusted to our strength, to the end designed, and to the grace apportioned. Affliction comes not at haphazard—the weight of every stroke of the rod is accurately measured. He who made no mistakes in balancing the clouds and meting out the heavens, commits no errors in measuring out the ingredients which compose the medicine of souls. We cannot suffer too much nor be relieved too late.

3. The limit is tenderly appointed. The knife of the heavenly Surgeon never cuts deeper than is absolutely necessary. “He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” A mother’s heart cries, “Spare my child”; but no mother is more compassionate than our gracious God. When we consider how hard-mouthed we are, it is a wonder that we are not driven with a sharper bit. The thought is full of consolation, that He who has fixed the bounds of our habitation, has also fixed the bounds of our tribulation.

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