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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

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Daily Recovery Readings – August 4, 2014

Just For Today
August 4, 2014
When Is A Secret Not A Secret?

“Addicts tend to live secret lives…. It is a great relief to get rid of all our secrets and to share the burden of our past.”
Basic Text, p.32

We’ve heard it said that “we’re as sick as our secrets” What do we keep secret, and why?

We keep secret those things that cause us shame. We may hold onto such things because we don’t want to surrender them. Yet if they’re causing us shame, wouldn’t we live more easily with ourselves if we were rid of them?

Some of us hold onto the things that cause us shame for another reason. It’s not that we don’t want to be rid of them; we just don’t believe we can be rid of them. They’ve plagued us for so long, and we’ve tried so many times to rid ourselves of them, that we’ve stopped hoping for relief. Yet still they shame us, and still we keep them secret.

We need to remember who we are: recovering addicts. We who tried so long to keep our drug use a secret have found freedom from the obsession and compulsion to use. Though many of us enjoyed using right to the end, we sought recovery anyway. We just couldn’t stand the toll our using was taking on us. When we admitted our powerlessness and sought help from others, the burden of our secret was lifted from us.

The same principle applies to whatever secrets may burden us. Yes, we’re as sick as our secrets. Only when our secrets stop being secret can we begin to find relief from those things that cause us shame.

Just for today: My secrets can make me sick only as long as they stay secret. Today, I will talk with my sponsor about my secrets.

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Daily Reflections
August 4, 2014
SEEDS OF FAITH

Faith, to be sure, is necessary, but faith alone can avail nothing. We can have faith, yet keep God out of our lives.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 34

As a child I constantly questioned the existence of God. To a “scientific thinker” like me, no answer could withstand a thorough dissection, until a very patient woman finally said to me, “You must have faith.” With that simple statement, the seeds of my recovery were sown!

Today, as I practice my recovery — cutting back the weeds of alcoholism — slowly I am letting those early seeds of faith to grow and bloom. Each day of recovery, of ardent gardening, brings the Higher Power of my understanding more fully into my life. My God has always been with me through faith, but it is my responsibility to have the willingness to accept His presence. I ask God to grant me the willingness to do His will.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
August 4, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

We in A.A. are offering a kind of psychological program as well as a spiritual one. First, people must be mentally able to receive it. They must have made up their minds that they want to quit drinking, and they must be willing to do something about it. Their confidence must be obtained. We must show them that we are their friends and really desire to help them. When we have their confidence, they will listen to us. Then the A.A. fellowship is a kind of group therapy. Newcomers need the fellowship of other alcoholics who understand their problem because they have had it themselves. Individuals must learn to reeducate their minds. They must learn to think differently. Do I do my best to give mental help?

Meditation For The Day

“And this is life eternal, that they may know Thee.” It is the flow of life eternal through spirit, mind, and body that cleanses, heals, restores, and renews. Seek conscious contact with God more and more each day. Make God an abiding presence during the day. Be conscious of His spirit helping you. All that is done without God’s spirit is passing. All that is done with God’s spirit is life eternal.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be in the stream of eternal life. I pray that I may be cleansed and healed by the Eternal Spirit.

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As Bill Sees It
August 4, 2014
After the “Honeymoon”, p. 216

“For most of us, the first years of A.A. are something like a honeymoon. There is a new and potent reason to stay alive, joyful activity aplenty. For a time, we are diverted from the main life problems. That is all to the good.

“But when the honeymoon has worn off, we are obliged to take our lumps, like other people. This is where the testing starts.  Maybe the group has pushed us onto the side lines. Maybe difficulties have intensified at home, or in the world outside. Then the old behavior patterns reappear. How well we recognize and deal with them reveals the extent of our progress.”

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The wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching becomes a regular habit, until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong.

1. Letter, 1954
2. 12 & 12, p. 88

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Walk In Dry Places
August 4, 2014
Treating loved ones worse than strangers.
Personal Relations

Some of us grew up with resentments about the way our families treated us. It was confusing to notice how nice our parents could be toward strangers and then how abruptly they could become abusive toward us.

The best release for this kind of resentment is forgiveness, but we should also ask ourselves if we’re guilty of the same faults. Are we discourteous and inconsiderate toward our own children and family members? Do we apologize when we offend strangers, but not when we hurt our own children?

We should try to treat everyone with fairness and kindness. No family member should be subjuected to our incessant criticism and rudeness. We owe them the same courtesies we extend to strangers.

If I’ve had bad examples of abusive treatment in my own early years, I’ll change the pattern by treating my own family with fairness and kindness, starting today.

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Keep It Simple
August 4, 2014

Let him that would move the world, first move himself.
—Socrates

Before recovery, most of us were big talkers. The Twelve Steps are for doers, not talkers. In the Steps we find action words: admitted, humbly asked, made direct amends, continued to take personal inventory. All these words speak of action, of doing. Recovery is about action. It’s for doers.

An action may be very simple. Such as going to a meeting early to set up chairs. Or it could be helping a neighbor. The program teaches that spirituality active, we grow and change.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, give me movement. Give me spiritual movement. Help me be a doer, not just a talker. Teach me to work my program.

Today’s Action: Today, I’ll remember the words actions go together.

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Each Day a New Beginning
August 4, 2014

Let me tell thee, time is a very precious gift of God; so precious that it’s only given to us moment by moment.
—Amelia Barr

Where are our minds right now? Are we focused fully on this meditation? Or are our minds wandering off to events scheduled for later today or tomorrow perhaps? The simple truth is that this moment is all God has allowed right now. It’s God’s design that we will live fully each moment, as it comes. Therein lies the richness of our lives. Each moment contributes to the full pattern that’s uniquely our own.

We must not miss the potential pleasure of any experience because our thoughts are elsewhere. We never know when a particular moment, a certain situation, may be a door to our future. What we do know is that God often has to work hard getting our attention, perhaps allowing many stumbling blocks in order to get us back on target.

Being in tune with now, this moment, guarantees a direct line of communication to God. It also guarantees a full, yet simple life. Our purpose becomes clear as we trust our steps to God’s guidance. How terribly complicated we make life by living in the past, the present, and many future times, all at once!

One step, one moment, and then the next step and its moment. How the simple life brings me freedom!

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Alcoholics Anonymous
August 4, 2014
Jim’s Story

This physician, one of the earliest members of A.A.’s first black group, tells of how freedom came as he worked among his people.

I’d been home about a week or ten days when one of my friends asked if I could repair one of his electrical outlets. Thinking only of two or three dollars to buy some whiskey, I did the job and that’s how I met Ella G., who was responsible for my coming into A.A. I went to this friend’s shop to repair his electrical outlet, and I noticed this lady. She continued to watch me, although she didn’t say anything. Finally she said, “Isn’t your name Jim S?” I said, “Yes.” Then she told me who she was. She was Ella G. When I had known her years before, she was rather slender, but at this time she weighed as much as she does now, which is up around in the two hundreds or very close to it. I had not recognized her, but as soon as she said who she was, I remembered her right away. She didn’t say anything about A.A. or getting me a sponsor at that time, but she did ask about Vi, and I told her Vi was working and how she could locate her. It was around noon, a day or two later, when the telephone rang and it was Ella. She asked me if I would let someone come up and talk to me concerning a business deal. She never mentioned anything about my whiskey drinking because if she had I would have told her no right then. I asked her just what this deal was, but she wouldn’t say. She said, “He has something of interest, if you will see him.” I told her that I would. She asked me one other thing. She asked if I would try to be sober if I possibly could. So I put forth some effort that day to try to stay sober if I could, though my sobriety was just a daze.

p. 242

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
August 4, 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.”

Then perhaps life, as it has a way of doing, suddenly hands us a great big lump that we can’t begin to swallow, let alone digest. We fail to get a worked-for promotion. We lose that good job. Maybe there are serious domestic or romantic difficulties, or perhaps that boy we thought God was looking after becomes a military casualty.
What then? Have we alcoholics in A.A. got, or can we get, the resources to meet these calamities which come to so many? These were problems of life which we could never face up to. Can we now, with the help of God as we understand Him, handle them as well and as bravely as our nonalcoholic friends often do? Can we transform these calamities into assets, sources of growth and comfort to ourselves and those about us? Well, we surely have a chance if we switch from “two-stepping” to “twelve-stepping,” if we are willing to receive that grace of God which can sustain and strengthen us in any catastrophe.

p. 113

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Xtra Thoughts
August 4, 2014

Keep looking for the positive and that’s what you’ll get!
–unknown

Having a resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.
–unknown

From a little spark comes a great fire.
–Polish Proverb

Sometimes love has its ups and downs. Mostly though, there are more ups than downs and true love will weather any storm.
–K. Lytestone

“Wake up with a smile and go after life . . .. Live it, enjoy it, taste it, smell it, feel it.”
–Joe Knapp

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself.  What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.
–Hermann Hesse

Expectation is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.
–Seneca

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
August 4, 2014
POTENTIAL

“Education is helping the child realize his potentialities.”
– Eric Fromm

When I was drinking, I behaved like a child. I behaved not just like a child but “childish”. I was so dependent upon my alcohol, so addicted, that I never realized my potential in life. I never realized the gift of life!

Today I have a spiritual program that offers me the world; it sets no limits on my horizons; it encourages me to discover my potential and live it. Today I am learning new languages, visiting different countries and enjoying alternative cultures, making new friendships and, most importantly, discovering the “bigness” of God in His world. The education I have gained in my sobriety seems unending and unstoppable. Each day produces a new opportunity and a different experience. Everyday is a time to receive.

Teach me to journey through the words into the experience.

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Bible Scriptures
August 4, 2014

“I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”
Psalm 91:2

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:10

This is the message he has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness. We are not living in the truth. But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.
1 John 1:5-7

Don’t be impatient for the LORD to act! Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you, giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.
Psalm 37:34

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Daily Inspiration
August 4, 2014

Never worry about the opinion others have of you because there is only one opinion that counts. Lord, I will walk in Your footsteps and seek to please You in my daily life.

When you live in the spirit of God you will always feel the love within you. Lord, may I seek peace in You and not from the outside world.

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A Day At A Time
August 4, 2014

Reflection For The Day

One of the best ways to get out of the self-pity trap is to do some “insstant bookkeeping.”  For every entry of misery on the debit side of our ledger, we can surely find a blessing to mark on teh credit side:  the health we enjoy, the illnesses we don’t have, the friends who love us and who allow us to love them, a clean and sober 24 hours, a good day’s work.  If we but try, we can easily list a whole string of credits that will far outweigh the debit entries which cause self-pity.  Is my emotional balance on the credit side today?

Today I Pray

May I learn to sort out my debits and credits, and add it all up.  May I list my several blessings on the credit side.  May my ledger show me, when all is totaled, a fat fund of good things to draw on.

Today I Will Remember

I have blessings in my savings.

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One More Day
August 4, 2014

Today is the day in which to express your nobles qualities of mind and heart, to do at least one worthy thing which you have long postponed…
–  Grenville Kleiser

Volunteer work.  There are volunteer jobs for people with every level of ability.  The main qualification is to care about others.  Each day offers us the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life.  We may choose to sing in a community choir or play in an amateur band.  Or we might offer to read stories to or write letters for people with limited vision.

Volunteer work.  What’s remarkable are the benefits we will reap from the simple caring.  These acts affirm the bond that exists between us.  They help us move out of a preoccupation with ourselves and our limitations, and they put us into the mainstream of life.

Today I will share my abilities and talents with others.

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One Day At A Time
August 4, 2014
OTHERS

“In the deepest part of a compulsive eater’s soul …
is the realization that recovery begins when we find one another.”
Anonymous

Growing up in the deep South in the 1950′s, I witnessed things I never dreamed could happen. It taught me lessons I have never forgotten. Little did I think that someone like me could ever be discriminated against. After all, I was the right color, the right size, the right religion and lived on the right side of town.

Messages began to be taped early on in that little girl’s brain … into the psyche of that teenager who worked so hard to achieve … and into the young woman who had the world by the tail. In adulthood those messages began to play … and food made the messages easier to hear. So began the life of a compulsive eater. So began discrimination because of my weight.

Years later I would be grateful for my life as an overweight adult. I would look back and see that the God of my understanding was preparing me to see discrimination as a disease of the soul. But what happened to give me serenity and peace and contentment? I found another compulsive eater. And then I found another … and another. And recovery began.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will overwrite those taped messages; I will not regret the past; And I will cherish my fellows forever.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – August 4  

“Telling about our lives is important for those who come after as, for those who will see our experience as part of their own historical struggle.”
–Linda Hogan, CHICKASAW

How important it is for us to support one another? How important it is for us to know our culture and to share our experiences with one another? How powerful it is to be authentic? How important it is to hold no secrets? I am as sick as my secrets.

Grandfather, allow me today to be willing to share with my brother and sister. Let my eyes see You in their eyes. Let me not judge them but only love them. Grandfather, help me, for I am Your humble servant.

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Journey To The Heart
August 4, 2014
Value Passion

Value what ignites the flame within you.

Value what inspires and interests you, what enrages you, what tickles and exhilarates you, what sparks the fire within. Your strong feelings– what you love or hate– are not wrong. Your passions will lead and guide you in all you want to do. From the tiniest idea to the grandest scheme, what makes your flame burn more brightly is the light shining from above, gently guiding the way.

The universe and God will lead and guide you, tell you what to do. The message might come through a story someone tells you, a place someone mentions that they liked, or a problem someone’s having trouble resolving that attracts your attention with a bit of extra force. A movie that sticks in your mind. A book you couldn’t put down. Something you realize you hate, something you find you love after all, an idea you find interesting, something that makes you stop and think. Learn to tell how you react to what you see and hear. That’s how you’ll learn to listen to what the universe has to say. That place may be the next place you’re to go on your path. The idea may be just what you’re looking for to help you get unstuck.

When you know what you’re feeling deep inside, you’ll know what you like. If you’ve grown cold and bored, you can come alive again. Feel whatever you need to feel and you’ll find your passion underneath. If you don’t know when you feel sad and alone, you won’t know when you feel good. Feel all the feelings that come your way. Each one has a lesson for you. And as you release that energy, you’ll be releasing passion,too. Value your passions and the way you feel. Soon you’ll find yourself knowing just what to do and when.

Stay open. Keep your fire burning bright. When you recognize what inspires you, you’ll be recognizing the Light.

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Today’s Gift
August 4, 2014

Do I love you because you’re beautiful
Or are you beautiful because I love you?
—Oscar Hammerstein

Once, a powerful king agreed to help a small, lost boy find his mother. Since the boy described his mother as the most beautiful woman in the world, the king commanded all the beautiful women in the kingdom to come to the castle.

From miles around, they came – women with complexions of porcelain and hair of spun gold, with cheeks the color of apricots and eyes as dark as the raven’s. But none of them was the boy’s mother. When the last of the women had paraded before them, and the king and the boy had begun to despair, they heard a timid knock on the door. “Come in,” the king said wearily. In shuffled an old washerwoman, her grey hair tied up in a kerchief, her hands rough and red, her dress coarse and patched.

“Mother!” the boy cried when he saw her, and he leapt from his chair and raced into the woman’s arms. The king stared in amazement.

Will I be able to see the real beauty in others today?

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The Language of Letting Go
August 4, 2014
Vulnerability

I’ve learned that the more vulnerable I allow myself to be, the more in control of myself I really am.
–Anonymous

Many of us feel that we can only show our strong, confident side. We believe the face we have to show to the world should always be one of politeness, perfection, calm, strength, and control.

While it is certainly good and often appropriate to be in control, calm, and strong, there is another side to all of us – that part of us that feels needy, becomes frightened, has doubts, and gets angry. That part of us that needs care, love, and reassurance those things will be okay. Expressing these needs makes us vulnerable and less than perfect, but this side needs our acceptance too.

Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable will help us build lasting relationships. Sharing our vulnerabilities helps us feel close to people and helps others feel close to us. It helps us grow in self-love and self-acceptance. It helps us become healing agents. It allows us to become whole and accessible to others.

Today, I will allow myself to be vulnerable with others when it’s safe and appropriate to do so.

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More Language Of Letting Go
August 4, 2014
Be grateful for the wind

“It’d be easier to skydive without all the wind trying to push me around,” I said to my jump master.

“No it wouldn’t,” he said. “Without the wind, you wouldn’t be able to move around at all. If you didn’t have resistance, you wouldn’t be able to fly your body. That’s what the wind is there for– to push against.”

It’s easy in our lives to think that we’d be so much happier without that problem, that situation, those people disturbing our peace. What a bother, we think. Why can’t my life just be calm and serene, peaceful, with no interruptions and bothersome events?

Sometimes, resistance is necessary. While it’s important to live in a calm, nurturing environment, sometimes resistance is essential to our growth. Take a moment. Look at how your problems have shaped you into who you have become.

When problems and challenges arise, they force us to examine our ideals, become alert, and often learn something new about others and ourselves. Even our enemies, rivals, and competitors give us something to push against. They help us define who we are and challenge us to become our best.

Instead of complaining and grumbling about that problem or circumstance, thank it for being there. Right now, this moment, the resistance in your life is giving you something to push against.

Be grateful for the wind. You need it to learn to fly.

God, help me be grateful for all the problems and circumstances in my life. Help me remember that you’re teaching me to fly.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
August 3, 2014

The craftsman does not always build toward a prior vision. Often images come in the process of working. The material, his hands – together they beget.
—M. C. Richards

We awaken in the morning, and the day is an un-built creation. We have some ideas about what we will accomplish today. But our Higher Power also has some things in mind, which are not yet part of our consciousness. We have lived long enough to know that every day brings surprises. We know in advance we will be frustrated in some of our desires, and we may be helped or advanced in others. But what about the totally unexpected? Will we even notice the subtle opportunities? Will we see an opportunity for a friendly conversation? Do our plans unwittingly prevent other possibilities from intruding?

When we hold loosely to our daily plans, we are more open to knowing the will of our Higher Power. Then each day is a spiritual process. It becomes a combined creation of our Higher Power and our own consciousness.

Today, I will hold my own plan loosely so that I can continue to be open to the healing powers of God.

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Daily TAO
August 4, 2014
Poetry

   Anything is subject for a poem:
   A catalog of boxing equipment, a collage of other poems,
   Serpentine trail of incense, raised deer fur, old shoes pointed pigeon-toed,
   Glass and steel cityscape, almond eyes of a saint, weeping of tiny flowers,
   Sunlight on whitewashed walls, blue shadows of stooped women,
   A spring mousetrap, a trickle of blood in the gutter,
   The homing swoop of a gull, chill white-capped bay, scent of eucalyptus.
   Green lawn of broken blades, clods of fat earth.
   Anything is subject for a poem.

   Even in sleep, write a poem.
   When waking, write a poem.
   While loving, write a poem.
   Even voting, write a poem.
   When angry, write a poem.
   While dreaming, write a poem.

The sages say quite seriously that those who wish to know Tao butter should cultivate the poet in themselves.

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In God’s Care
August 4, 2014

Time is a circus, always paking up and moving away.
~~Ben Hecht

We can’t hold on to time. Right now is the only time we have. It is the only time we can enjoy the season, hear a child’s laughter, feel the joy of sharing. This time, right nowm is the time to learn something. And it is the time for us to know God.

Time is always moving on, but we can stay in the present. To look back over our shoulder, trying to figure out how to change something we did or make someone react differently than he or she did, is futile. When we look ahead, trying to predict the future, we are creating needless anxiety. The present is where we exist.

God speaks to us in the present. It is the only time we have to make a connection.

   Today I will try to live in the present moment.

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Day By Day
August 4, 2014
    Being lucky

Some people think “luck” is the reaon for success in their lives. But does luck really mean the suffering and pain that we’ve not hesitated to endure? The opportunities for growth that we’ve embraced? The kindness and humor that we’ve shown others? The thanks we’ve expressed to others for their kindness to us?

If success is “lucky,” then we make our own luck. Then luck means being open and available; luck meas willingness plus grace.

Do I realize what a lucky person I am?

    Higher Power, help me to be open and willing to receive your grace.

    Today I will thank God for my “luck by…

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Food For Thought
August 4, 2014
God’s Time

When we feel under pressure and fear that there will not be enough time to do the things we think we need to do, it helps to stop for a moment and remember that all time is God’s. We may be wanting to do more than we should in the same way that we wanted to eat more than we needed. Exchanging compulsive overeating for compulsive activity is no solution to our problem.

Turning over our lives to our Higher Power as we begin each day allows Him to schedule what we will do and when we will do it. He knows our capabilities even better than we do, and He does not give us more to do than we can manage. To benefit from His guidance, we need to stay in touch with our inner selves and not get swept away by external demands.

In the past, we may have alternated between periods of non-productive lassitude and frantic bursts of activity. As we maintain ourselves on an even keel physically by abstaining from compulsive overeating, we learn moderation and order as God shows us how to use the time He gives us.

Please order the time which You give me every day.

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Daily Zen
August 4, 2014

I watch a teacher lecture on the sutras
His eloquence flows like running water.
Expounding on the five stages
And the eight categories,
He explains them with unequaled cleverness.
They proclaim themselves masters
And others believe it.
However, question them about the essence of Zen
And they have no useful answer.

– Ryokan (1758-1831)

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Faith’s Check Book
August 4, 2014
He Blesses and Keeps

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee.
(Numbers 6:24)

This first clause of the high priest’s benediction is substantially a promise. That blessing which our great High Priest pronounces upon us is sure to come, for He speaks the mind of God.

What a joy to abide under the divine blessing! This puts a gracious flavor into all things. If we are blessed, then all our possessions and enjoyments are blessed; yea, our losses and crosses and even our disappointments are blessed. God’s blessing is deep, emphatic, effectual. A man’s blessing may begin and end in words, but the blessing of the Lord makes rich and sanctifies. The best wish we can have for our dearest friend is not “may prosperity attend thee,” but “the Lord bless thee.”

It is equally a delightful thing to be kept of God; kept by Him, kept near Him, kept in Him. They are kept indeed whom God keeps; they are preserved from evil; they are reserved unto boundless happiness. God’s keeping goes with His blessing, to establish it and cause it to endure.

The author of this little book desires that the rich blessing and sure keeping here pronounced may come upon every reader who may at this moment be looking at these lines. Please breathe the text to God as a prayer for His servants.

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This Morning’s Readings
August 4, 2014

“The people that do know their God shall be strong.”
—Daniel 11:32.

EVERY believer understands that to know God is the highest and best form of knowledge; and this spiritual knowledge is a source of strength to the Christian. It strengthens his faith. Believers are constantly spoken of in the Scriptures as being persons who are enlightened and taught of the Lord; they are said to “have an unction from the Holy One,” and it is the Spirit’s peculiar office to lead them into all truth, and all this for the increase and the fostering of their faith. Knowledge strengthens love, as well as faith. Knowledge opens the door, and then through that door we see our Saviour. Or, to use another similitude, knowledge paints the portrait of Jesus, and when we see that portrait then we love Him, we cannot love a Christ whom we do not know, at least, in some degree. If we know but little of the excellences of Jesus, what He has done for us, and what He is doing now, we cannot love Him much; but the more we know Him, the more we shall love Him. Knowledge also strengthens hope. How can we hope for a thing if we do not know of its existence? Hope may be the telescope, but till we receive instruction, our ignorance stands in the front of the glass, and we can see nothing whatever; knowledge removes the interposing object, and when we look through the bright optic glass we discern the glory to be revealed, and anticipate it with joyous confidence. Knowledge supplies us reasons for patience. How shall we have patience unless we know something of the sympathy of Christ, and understand the good which is to come out of the correction which our heavenly Father sends us? Nor is there one single grace of the Christian which, under God, will not be fostered and brought to perfection by holy knowledge. How important, then, is it that we should grow not only in grace, but in the “knowledge” of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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This Evening’s Readings
August 4, 2014

“I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands.”
—Haggai 2:17.

HOW destructive is the hail to the standing crops, beating out the precious grain upon the ground! How grateful ought we to be when the corn is spared so terrible a ruin! Let us offer unto the Lord thanksgiving. Even more to be dreaded are those mysterious destroyers—smut, bunt, rust, and mildew. These turn the ear into a mass of soot, or render it putrid, or dry up the grain, and all in a manner so beyond all human control that the farmer is compelled to cry, “This is the finger of God.” Innumerable minute fungi cause the mischief, and were it not for the goodness of God, the rider on the black horse would soon scatter famine over the land. Infinite mercy spares the food of men, but in view of the active agents which are ready to destroy the harvest, right wisely are we taught to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” The curse is abroad; we have constant need of the blessing. When blight and mildew come they are chastisements from heaven, and men must learn to hear the rod, and Him that hath appointed it.

Spiritually, mildew is no uncommon evil. When our work is most promising this blight appears. We hoped for many conversions, and lo! a general apathy, an abounding worldliness, or a cruel hardness of heart! There may be no open sin in those for whom we are labouring, but there is a deficiency of sincerity and decision sadly disappointing our desires. We learn from this our dependence upon the Lord, and the need of prayer that no blight may fall upon our work. Spiritual pride or sloth will soon bring upon us the dreadful evil, and only the Lord of the harvest can remove it. Mildew may even attack our own hearts, and shrivel our prayers and religious exercises. May it please the great Husbandman to avert so serious a calamity. Shine, blessed Sun of Righteousness, and drive the blights away.

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