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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – August 27, 2014

Just For Today
August 27, 2014
Choosing Life

“Change from self-destructive patterns of life became necessary”
Basic Text p.16

Active addiction is a smoldering death-wish. Each of us courted death every time we used. Our lifestyles, too, put us at risk. The life of an addict is sold cheaply with every day and every dose.

In recovery, the first pattern we change is the pattern of using. Staying clean is the start of our journey into life. But our self-destructive behavior usually went far deeper than just our using. Even in recovery, we may still treat ourselves as if we are worthless. When we treat ourselves badly, we feel badly. And when we feel badly, we seek relief-maybe even in our old solution, drugs.

Choosing recovery means choosing life. We decide each day that we want to live and be free. Each time we avoid self-destructive behavior, we choose recovery.

Just for today: I will choose life by choosing recovery. I will take care of myself.

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Daily Reflections
August 27, 2014
CENTERING OUR THOUGHTS

When World War II broke out, our A.A. dependence on a Higher Power had its first major test. A.A.’s entered the services and were scattered all over the world. Would they be able to take the discipline, stand up under fire, and endure . . . ?
As Bill Sees It, p.200

I will center my thoughts on a Higher Power. I will surrender all to this power within me. I will become a soldier for this power, feeling the might of the spiritual army as it exists in my life today. I will allow a wave of spiritual union to connect me through my gratitude, obedience and discipline to this Higher Power. Let me allow this power to lead me through the orders of the day. May the steps I take today strengthen my words and deeds, may I know that the message I carry is mine to share, given freely by this power greater than myself.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
August 27, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

“We must be willing to make amends to all the people we have harmed. We must do the best we can to repair the damage done in the past. When we make amends, when we say: ‘I’m sorry,’ the person is sure at least to be impressed by our sincere desire to set right the wrong. Sometimes people we are making amends to admit their own faults, so feuds of long standing melt away. Our most ruthless creditors will sometimes surprise us. In general, we must be willing to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences may be for us.” Have I made a sincere effort to make amends to the people I have harmed?

Meditation For The Day

The grace of God cures disharmony and disorder in human relationships. Directly you put your affairs, with their confusion and their difficulties, into God’s hands. He begins to effect a cure of all the disharmony and disorder. You can believe that He will cause you no more pain in the doing of it than a physician that knows how to effect a cure would cause a patient. You can have faith that God will do all that is necessary as painlessly as possible. But you must be willing to submit to His treatment, even if you cannot now see the meaning or purpose of it.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may willingly submit to whatever spiritual discipline is necessary. I pray that I may accept whatever it takes to live a better life.

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As Bill Sees It
August 27, 2014
Maudlin Martyrdom, p. 238

“Self-pity is one of the most unhappy and consuming defects we know. It is a bar to all spiritual progress and can cut off all effective communication with our fellows because of its inordinate demands for attention and sympathy. It is a maudlin form of martyrdom, which we can ill afford.

“The remedy? Well, let’s have a hard look at ourselves, and a still harder one at A.A.’s Twelve Steps to recovery. When we see how many of our fellow A.A.’s have used the Steps to transcend great pain and adversity, we shall be inspired to try these life-giving principles for ourselves.”

Letter, 1966

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Walk In Dry Places
August 27, 2014
Finding Our Real Selves
Building Self-esteem

Many of us sold ourselves short while we were drinking. We wanted approval and acceptance, but often felt unworthy of it, even accepting the unfavorable opinions others had toward us. We resented such opinions, but secretly feared that our critics were right.

In the Twelve Step program, however, we discover a higher and better self that hadn’t found expression during active drinking. We no longer have to impress anybody, we no longer need applause, and we no longer crave the false camaraderie that passes for friendship among problem drinkers. We can, in many ways, become new people.

When we experience such change and growth, we may come to wonder how we ever could have been so deluded by the sick self of our drinking years. We feel relief when we realize that we no longer have to live and think that way…. if we continue in the program and make sobriety our highest priority. We will realize too that the self we find in sobriety is the real self…. a person who was there all along but was crowded out and suppressed by the demands of our sick nature. This real self is what we were created to be, and sobriety brought its discovery.

I’ll go about my affairs today knowing that my real self is what God wants me to be. Being sober, I can now find answers and opportunities that were beyond my reach when I was still drinking.

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Keep It Simple
August 27, 2014

Things do not change, we do.
—Henry David Thoreau

There are still as many bars as there were when we were drinking. There are still lots of drugs around. The world hasn’t changed. What’s changed is that we now live a different way of life.

We’ve learned that, for us, alcohol and other drugs are poison.

For us, there are now two worlds: the world we left behind, and our new world of recovery. In our old world, we’d try to get everyone else to change. We had the right. In our new world, we look for ways we can change for the better. In our new life, we’re willing to change.

Prayer for the Day: I pray that I may be like a mighty river, always changing.

Action for the Day: I will list changes I need to make in my new life.

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Each Day a New Beginning
August 27, 2014

Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgment of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you’re going to do about it.
—Kathleen Casey Theisen

Recovery offers us courage to make choices about the events of our lives. Passive compliance with whatever is occurring need no longer dominate our pattern of behavior. Powerlessly watching our lives go by was common for many of us, and our feelings of powerlessness escalated the more idle we were.

Today, action is called for, thoughtful action in response to the situations begging for our attention. Recovery’s greatest gift is the courage to take action, to make decisions that will benefit us as well as the people who are close to us. Courage is the byproduct of our spiritual progress, courage to accept what we cannot change, believing that all will be well, courage to change in ourselves what we do have control over.

An exhilaration about life accompanies the taking of action. The spell that idleness casts over us is broken, and subsequent actions are even easier to take. Clearly, making a choice and acting on it is healthful. The program has given us the tools to do both.

Decisions will be called for today. I will be patient with myself, and thoughtful. I will listen closely to the guidance that comes from those around me.

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Xtra Thoughts
August 27, 2014

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
–Dale Carnegie

Sometimes lack of thought is a very good sign. It means you are totally relaxed and have control of your mind.
–unknown

Getting the job done requires doing your work, not just talking about it.
–unknown

When we take things for granted we forget life is a gift.
–unknown

Love is a gift to your self.
–unknown

In quiet meditation I listen to my own Higher Power.  I connect with my personal spirituality in my own time and place.
–Ruth Fishel

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
August 27, 2014
PURPOSE

“I have never doubted that God created man for great purposes . . . ”
– Preston Bradley

I am special today. I know that there is a purpose for my life and that it is essentially good and creative. I know that beauty is not just in things that I can see . . . beauty is also in me. Today I affirm my great purpose in this world . . . to be the best that I can be.

For too many years I gave my God-given power away; I gave it to alcohol, I gave it to people, I gave it to a belief system that did not make sense to me. Today I am discovering the power that God has given to me, and I feel good about myself. Today I reclaim my divinity.

Creator of this wonderful universe, make me an instrument of Your peace.

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Bible Scriptures
August 27, 2014

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:25

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
John 7:37-38

“I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”
Psalm 69:30

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
1 Peter 2:9

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Daily Inspiration
August 27, 2014

When children speak, listen. They freely share the joys of life that we are often too preoccupied to remember. Lord, help me bring back those qualities that I had as a child that would allow me to be more lighthearted, more playful and more determined to live happy.

Enthusiasm keeps the mind young and the spirit growing. Lord, may I always see wonder in the ordinary happenings of my day.

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A Day At A Time
August 27, 2014

Reflection For The Day

Taking a long hard look at those defects I’m unwilling or reluctant to give up, I ought to rub out the rigid lines I’ve drawn.  Perhaps, in some cases, I’ll then be able to say, “well, this one I can’t give up yet…”  The one thing I shouldn’t say:  “This one I’ll never give up, “  The minute we say, “no, never,” our minds close against the grace of God.  Such rebelliousness,l as we have seen in the experiences of others, may turn out to be fatal.  Instead, we should abandon limited objectives and begin to move toward God’s will for us.  Am I learning never to say “never…”?

Today I Pray

May God remove any blocks of rebellion which make me bulk at changing my undesirable qualities.  Out of my delusion that I am “unique” and “special” and somehow safe from consequences, I confess that God that I have defied the natural laws of health sanity, along with Divine laws of human kindness.  May God drain away the defiance which is such a protected symptom of my addiction.

Today I Will Remember

Defiance is an offspring of delusion.

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One More Day
August 27, 2014

The essence of optimism is that it … enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not abandon it to his enemy.
–  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“she always looks to the sour side,” we’ve heard it said, or “He always has a pleasant smile.”  The difference, as we all know, between an optimist and a pessimist is entirely in their attitudes.  A pessimist sees little, if anything, to look forward to in life.  In that case, life is tediously lived.  If we think in positive ways, we see the good.  That good becomes the primary part of our lives.

An optimist, regardless of personal problems, is eager to arise in the morning — to get to work, to be with friends or family, to live the happiness of the day.  People are drawn toward optimists, for their joy shines on everyone around them.

Life is an adventure of choices to be lived, not an ordeal to be survived.  I choose optimism and joy.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – August 27

“We begin by letting the Powers know that we are willing to be their servants to others.”
–Fools Crow, LAKOTA

There are certain prayers or actions we can take that will call the Powers. The powers can only work through people. The Powers are always waiting to express themselves through people that are ready. every person born is born with a purpose. They have a song to sing. They have a mission to accomplish. Every true purpose will always be about serving the Creator and helping others. When we let the Powers know that we are ready to serve the people, the Powers get excited because they can now do things to help the people and make things better for them. The decision is powerful because it turns an idea into action.Great Spirit, the greatest joy or feeling that I have ever experienced is when you are using me to help the people, the feeling of giving, the feeling of being your channel. Today, let me have that feeling of giving. Use me as You will.

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Journey To The Heart
August 27, 2014
Let Your Storms Subside

Watch the pounding surf. Watch the waves lap against the shore, their beginning somewhere far out to sea, their beginnings in a storm we might never see. Know your oneness with those waves, with the water of the seas.

Your emotions are like the surf. Sometimes they pound gently, sometimes fiercely. Sometimes the color is blue, sometimes gray. They may be the result of a storm, sometimes a squall far away. Let them pound. Let them pass through. Let them subside. Let them turn into the next wave. Each emotion is connected to a belief, a belief embedded in your soul. I am abandoned. I am deserted. I am separated from God and love. But you are not your emotions. Your emotions don’t control your life, no matter how fierce, no matter how strong. No matter how relentless. No matter, at times, how overwhelming.

Let the emotions pass through. Feel all you need to feel. Say all you need to say to let the storm subside. Then pause. Wait. Rest. Let your body regroup and heal. You will have grown. You will have changed. And you’ll be on your way to learning something new.

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One Day At A Time
August 27, 2014
PERFECTION

“People throw away what they could have by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have, and looking for it where they will never find it.”
Edith Schaeffer

Time and time again I have felt like I was suspended from two ropes, being flogged for my imperfections. The tragic fact of that vision was that I was the person wielding the whip!

Before my heart and mind were opened by the Twelve Steps and Traditions, I sought perfection in everything I attempted. A simple letter would be written and rewritten until I was satisfied that perfection had been achieved and the letter could be sent. Frequently the goal was not reached and I would abandon the project in frustration and bitter disappointment with myself. Events that I organized had to be executed with the utmost precision. If, God forbid, a mistake was made, I would berate myself for days until sheer mental and emotional exhaustion prevailed.

Ironically, I never sought perfection in others and accepted that it was okay for them to be human. However, seeking perfection from myself became an obsession tangled with the search for self-acceptance. Needless to say, a rainbow cannot be seen through closed eyes, and I never found that which I sought. Through the teachings of the Twelve Steps I have come to appreciate that the beauty within myself is that I am not perfect. I can grow through my mistakes, and in my imperfections I can find serenity and release from the struggle.

One Day at a Time …
I will accept that I am perfectly imperfect.

~ Sue G.

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Today’s Gift
August 27, 2014

If you have butterflies in your stomach ask them into your heart.
—Cooper Edens

We’ve all had butterflies in our stomachs. It happens on the first day of school or the first day on a new job. It happens most anytime we try something new or risky. These butterflies are nervous and fluttery and sometimes we wish we could just go back to bed.

But the best thing we can do, and sometimes the only thing, is go right ahead and walk into that new situation with head held high. We will probably feel awkward at first, but that is natural and it will pass.

Our nervousness can change into excitement and joy for what we are doing. We can begin to feel proud when we walk through our fear. It is a true accomplishment when we don’t let our fear stop us – when, instead, we let the butterfly in our hearts unfold.

When I have the butterflies today, will I enjoy their beauty?

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The Language of Letting Go
August 27, 2014

Procrastination

Procrastination – not acting when the time is right – is a self-defeating behavior. It produces anxiety, guilt, disharmony, and a nagging consciousness of the task that life is telling us it’s time to do.

We are not always procrastinating when we put off doing something. Sometimes, doing a thing before the time is right can be as self-defeating as waiting too long.

We can learn to discern the difference. Listen to yourself. Listen to the Universe. What is past due and creating anxiety and prodding within you?

Is there something in your life you are avoiding because you don’t want to face it? Is there a building anxiety from putting this off?

Sometimes anger, fear, or feeling helpless can motivate procrastination. Sometimes, procrastination has simply become habitual.

Trust and listen to yourself, your Higher Power, and the Universe. Watch for signs and signals. If it is time to do something, do it now. If it is not yet time, wait until the time is right.

God, help me learn to be on time and in harmony with my life. Help me tune in to and trust Divine Timing and Order.

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More Language Of Letting Go
August 27, 2014
Stop ruining your fun

Stop comparing and judging. Those two behaviors can drain all the joy out of a perfectly good life.

We compare this time in our lives to another time. Then we decide that this time is worse, not as much fun. Or we compare our life to someone else’s, and we decide the other person is having more fun and success than we are.

Comparison is judgemental. We judge this to be better than that, and this to be worse than the other. By comparing and judging, we deny ourselves the beauty of the moment and the wonder of the life that’s in front of us now.

Instead of deciding if a situation is good or bad, just be thankful for it– the way it is. Most things are neither good nor bad, unless we attribute those judgements to them. Most things simply are, and they are what they are, at this moment in time.

Go into the moment. Let it be what it is– free of judgements and comparison. Can you believe how beautiful it is, right now, right here where you are? Why didn’t you see that before?

If comparing and judging is draining all the joy out of your life, start putting some fun back in it by applying a little gratitude, instead.

God, help me put the fun back in life by letting each moment be what it is, without comparing it to anything else.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
August 27, 2014

One cannot always be a hero, but one can always be a man.
—Goethe

In our all or nothing and grandiose lifestyles, many of us have had a lot of experience being heroes and being failures. Until we had achieved some sanity we didn’t have much experience with being ordinary, genuine men. Many of us thought there was something fundamentally wrong with us. We tried to be great, and when we failed we felt less than human. Our shame in those experiences seemed to say we would never be normal again.

We are learning that being genuine is far more fulfilling than being great. We no longer have to swing between the opposite extremes of hero and coward. When we become honest with ourselves, we develop an internally respectful relationship with ourselves. That is when we become true men. The courage it has taken for us and others on this journey to become honest is heroic in the deepest sense of the word.

As I find the courage to be honest, I will become more genuine.

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Daily TAO
August 27, 2014
Youth

You’ve left home too soon:
Drunks frighten you, profligates paw you.
What good is a hermit’s jewel”

Young people need compassion and guidance, not obscure mysticism. Here are some guidelines for young people:

Remember you are always your own person. Do not surrender your mind, heart, or body to any person. Never compromise your dignity for any reason.

Maintain your health with sound diet, hygiene, exercise, and clean living. Don’t engage in drugs or drinking.

Money is never more important than your body and mind, but you must work and support yourself. Never depend on others for your livelihood.

Choose your friends and living situation carefully, for they will influence you. Find a mentor you can trust, one who can answer your every question, but never give up responsibility for your own life. No one lives your life for you.

A good education is always an asset.

Emotions are transitory and are not a good way to make decisions.

Every day, you must make decisions. Everything you do will have irrevocable effects upon your life. Before you go down any path, consider carefully. Rivers very reverse course.

Know evil, but do not do evil yourself. Remember, there is a way out of the delusions of life. When you weary of the world, find someone who will show you Tao.

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Daily Zen
August 27, 2014

Patch-robed monks make
Their thinking dry and cool
And rest from the remnants of
Conditioning.
Persistently brush up and sharpen
This bit of the field.
Spiritual and bright,
Vast and lustrous,
Illuminating fully what is
Before you, directly attain
The shining light and clarity
That cannot attach to a single
Defilement.

– Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091-1157)

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Food For Thought
August 27, 2014
Accepting Reality

Failure, death, divorce, disease, and betrayal – these are all part of the world we live in. We agonizingly search our minds to figure out why, but are unable to come up with any satisfying answers. We pray for the serenity to accept the reality of life.

Previously, we tried to deny reality by overeating. What that did was make reality worse for us. Abstaining from compulsive overeating and working the steps of the OA program give us the strength to cope with reality and accept the things we cannot change. We often feel as though we are on a long uphill climb. Let’s not forget that if it were not for abstinence and our Higher Power, we would be rapidly sliding downhill.

Whatever our situation, it is better to face it squarely than to delude ourselves with excess food. None of us escapes pain and suffering. By turning them over to our Higher Power, we are strengthened by our hardships, rather than destroyed.

May we have the courage and strength to accept life as it is.

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Faith’s Check Book
August 27, 2014
Choice Men

I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
(Isaiah 48:10)

This has long been the motto fixed before our eye upon the wall of our bedroom, and in many ways it has also been written on our heart. It is no mean thing to be chosen of God. God’s choice makes chosen men choice men. Better to be the elect of God than the elect of a whole nation. So eminent is this privilege, that whatever drawback may be joined to it we very joyfully accept it, even as the Jew ate the bitter herbs for the sake of the Paschal Lamb. We choose the furnace, since God chooses us in it.

We are chosen as an afflicted people and not as a prosperous people, chosen not in the palace but in the furnace. In the furnace beauty is marred, fashion is destroyed, strength is melted, glory is consumed, and yet here eternal love reveals its secrets and declares its choice. So has it been in our case. In times of severest trial God has made to us our calling and election plain, and we have made it sure: then have we chosen the Lord to be our God, and He has shown that we are assuredly His chosen. Therefore, if today the furnace be heated seven times hotter, we will not dread it, for the glorious Son of God will walk with us amid the glowing coals.

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This Morning’s Readings
August 27, 2014

“How long will it be ere they believe me?”
—Numbers 14:11.

STRIVE with all diligence to keep out that monster unbelief. It so dishonours Christ, that He will withdraw His visible presence if we insult Him by indulging it. It is true it is a weed, the seeds of which we can never entirely extract from the soil, but we must aim at its root with zeal and perseverance. Among hateful things it is the most to be abhorred. Its injurious nature is so venomous that he that exerciseth it and he upon whom it is exercised are both hurt thereby. In thy case, O believer! it is most wicked, for the mercies of thy Lord in the past, increase thy guilt in doubting Him now. When thou dost distrust the Lord Jesus, He may well cry out, “Behold I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.” This is crowning His head with thorns of the sharpest kind. It is very cruel for a well-beloved wife to mistrust a kind and faithful husband. The sin is needless, foolish, and unwarranted. Jesus has never given the slightest ground for suspicion, and it is hard to be doubted by those to whom our conduct is uniformly affectionate and true. Jesus is the Son of the Highest, and has unbounded wealth; it is shameful to doubt Omnipotence and distrust all-sufficiency. The cattle on a thousand hills will suffice for our most hungry feeding, and the granaries of heaven are not likely to be emptied by our eating. If Christ were only a cistern, we might soon exhaust His fulness, but who can drain a fountain? Myriads of spirits have drawn their supplies from Him, and not one of them has murmured at the scantiness of His resources. Away, then, with this lying traitor unbelief, for his only errand is to cut the bonds of communion and make us mourn an absent Saviour. Bunyan tells us that unbelief has “as many lives as a cat:” if so, let us kill one life now, and continue the work till the whole nine are gone. Down with thee, thou traitor, my heart abhors thee.

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This Evening’s Readings
August 27, 2014

“Into Thine hand I commit my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.”
—Psalm 31:5.

THESE words have been frequently used by holy men in their hour of departure. We may profitably consider them this evening. The object of the faithful man’s solicitude in life and death is not his body or his estate, but his spirit; this is his choice treasure—if this be safe, all is well. What is this mortal state compared with the soul? The believer commits his soul to the hand of his God; it came from Him, it is His own, He has aforetime sustained it, He is able to keep it, and it is most fit that He should receive it. All things are safe in Jehovah’s hands; what we entrust to the Lord will be secure, both now and in that day of days towards which we are hastening. It is peaceful living, and glorious dying, to repose in the care of heaven. At all times we should commit our all to Jesus’ faithful hand; then, though life may hang on a thread, and adversities may multiply as the sands of the sea, our soul shall dwell at ease, and delight itself in quiet resting places.

“Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.” Redemption is a solid basis for confidence. David had not known Calvary as we have done, but temporal redemption cheered him; and shall not eternal redemption yet more sweetly console us? Past deliverances are strong pleas for present assistance. What the Lord has done He will do again, for He changes not. He is faithful to His promises, and gracious to His saints; He will not turn away from His people.

“Though Thou slay me I will trust,
Praise Thee even from the dust,
Prove, and tell it as I prove,
Thine unutterable love.
Thou mayst chasten and correct,
But Thou never canst neglect;
Since the ransom price is paid,
On Thy love my hope is stay’d.”

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