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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – August 7

Just For Today
August 7
The Gratitude List

“We focus on anything that isn’t going our way and ignore all the beauty in our lives.”
Basic Text, p.77

It’s easy to be grateful when everything runs smoothly. If we get a raise at work, we’re grateful. If we get married, we’re grateful. If someone surprises us with a nice present or an unasked favor, we’re grateful. But if we get fired, divorced, or disappointed, gratitude flies out the window. We find ourselves becoming obsessed with the things that are wrong, even though everything else may be wonderful.

This is where we can use a gratitude list. We sit down with a pen and paper and list the people for whom we are grateful. We all have people who’ve supported us through life’s upheavals. We list the spiritual assets we have attained, for we know we could never make it through our present circumstances without them. Last, but not least, we list our recovery itself. Whatever we have that we are grateful for goes on the list.

We’re sure to find that we have literally hundreds of things in our lives that inspire our gratitude. Even those of us who are suffering from an illness or who have lost all material wealth will find blessings of a spiritual nature for which we can be thankful. An awakening of the spirit is the most valuable gift an addict can receive.

Just for today: I will write a list of things, both material and spiritual, for which I am grateful.

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Daily Reflections
August 7
A “DESIGN FOR LIVING”

We in our turn, sought the same escape with all the desperation of drowning men. What seemed at first a flimsy reed, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God. A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, “a design for living” that really works.
ALCOHOLIC ANONYMOUS , p. 28

I try each day to raise my heart and hands in thanks to God for showing me a “design for living” that really works through our beautiful Fellowship. But what, exactly, is this “design for living” that “really works”? For me, it is the practice of the Twelve Steps to the best of my ability, the continued awareness of a God who loves me unconditionally, and the hope that, in each new day, there is a purpose for my being. I am truly, truly blessed in the Fellowship.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
August 7
A.A. Thought For The Day

We in A.A. are offering an intangible thing, a psychological and spiritual program. It’s a wonderful program. When we learn to turn to a Higher Power, with faith that that Power can give us the strength we need, we find peace of mind. When we reeducate our minds by learning to think differently, we find new interests that make life worthwhile. We who have achieved sobriety through faith in God and mental reeducation are modern miracles. it is the function of our A.A. program to produce modern miracles. Do I consider the change in my life a modern miracle?

Meditation For The Day

You should never doubt that God’s spirit is always with you, wherever you are, to keep you on the right path.  God’s keeping power is never at fault, only your realization of it. You must try to believe in God’s nearness and availability of His grace. It is not a question of whether God can provide a shelter from the storm, but of whether or not you seek the security of that shelter. Every fear, worry, or doubt is disloyalty to God. You must endeavor to trust God wholly. Practice saying: “All is going to be well.” Say it to yourself until you feel it deeply.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may feel deeply that all is well. I pray that nothing will be able to move me from that deep conviction.

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As Bill Sees It
August 7
Willing To Believe, p. 219

Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they might mean to you. At the start, this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him. Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many things which had seemed entirely out of reach. That was growth.  But if we wished to grow we had to begin somewhere. So at first we used our own conceptions of God, however limited they were.

We needed to ask ourselves but one short question: “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?” As soon as a man can say that he does believe, even in this small degree, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 47

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Walk In Dry Places
August 7
Competing with others
Attitude

Some of us never liked close competition. We preferred to be clear winners or not to compete at all. We didn’t like to have competitors breathing down our necks.

This attitude kept us from doing our best, and we made a mistake when we thought we were competing with others. We’re actually competing with ourselves at all times, trying to do better than we did yesterday. The presence of other people only helps us to set performance standards and goals.

Once we accept the idea of self-improvement, we can delight in competition. We can take satisfaction in situations where, though we were not number one, we came in a close second instead of a sullen last.

I’ll know today that I’m always working with others but only competing against myself.

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Keep It Simple
August 7

True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body.
—Humboldt

In recovery, we work at taking better care of ourselves. We care for our mind and our body.

Often, during our drinking and drugging, we ignored our mind and body. We probably ate poorly, and we pushed our body to the limit.

But now, we are to recover. . .totally! We are to care for our mind and body as we care for our spirit. Our illness is an illness of mind, body, and spirit. So let’s care for all three. In recovery, we learn to care for and love all of who we are.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me care for my mind and body as I recover. You love all of me. Help me to respect and care for all of me.

Action for the Day: I will write down how much time I’ve spent caring for my mind and body in the past two weeks. Is it enough?

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Each Day a New Beginning
August 7

To have one’s individuality completely ignored is like being pushed quite out of life. Like being blown out as one blows out a light.
—Evelyn Scott

We need to know that we matter in this life. We need evidence that others are aware of our presence. And thus, we can be certain that others need the same attention from us. When we give it, we get it. So the giving of attention to another searching soul meets our own need for attention as well.

Respectful recognition of another’s presence blesses her, God, and ourselves. And we help one another grow, in important ways, each time we pay the compliment of acknowledgment.

We’re not sure, on occasion, just what we have to offer our friends, families, co-workers. Why we are in certain circumstances may have us baffled, but it’s quite probable that the people we associate with regularly need something we can give them; the reverse is just as likely. So we can begin with close attention to people in our path. It takes careful listening and close observation to sense the message another soul may be sending to our own.

I will be conscious of the people around me. I shall acknowledge them and be thankful for all they are offering me.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
August 7
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.

The following Sunday we met at Ella G.’s. It was Charlie and three or four others. That was the first meeting of a colored group in A.A., so far as I know. We held some two or three meetings at Ella’s home, and from there we held some two or three meetings at her mother’s home. Then Charlie or someone in the group suggested that we try to get a place in a church or hall to hold meetings. I approached several ministers and all of them thought it was a very good idea, but they never relinquished any space. So, finally, I went to the YMCA, and they graciously permitted us to use a room at two dollars a night. At that time we had our meetings on Friday nights. Of course, it wasn’t very much of a meeting in the beginning, most of the time it was just Vi and myself. But, finally, we got one or two to come in and stick, and from there, of course, we started to grow.

p. 244

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
August 7

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.”

Like most people, we have found that we can take our big lumps as they come. But also like others, we often discover a greater challenge in the lesser and more continuous problems of life. Our answer is in still more spiritual development. Only by this means can we improve our chances for really happy and useful living. And as we grow spiritually, we find that our old attitudes toward our instincts need to undergo drastic revisions. Our desires for emotional security and wealth, for personal prestige and power, for romance, and for family satisfactions–all these have to be tempered and redirected. We have learned that the satisfaction of instincts cannot be the sole end and aim of our lives. If we place instincts first, we have got the cart before the horse; we shall be pulled backward into disillusionment. But when we are willing to place spiritual growth first– then and only then do we have a real chance.

p. 114

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Xtra Thoughts
August 7

There is no try. There is either do or don’t do.
–unknown

I wake each morning with the thrill of expectation and the joy of being truly alive. And I’m thankful for this day.
–Angela L. Woznick

How I relate to my inner self influences my relationships with all others. My satisfaction with myself and my satisfaction with other people are directly proportional.
–Sue Atchley Ebaugh

My relationships with others are as healthy and fulfilling as my communication with God.
–unknown

Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up.
–unknown

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”
–Nido Qubein

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
August 7
PREJUDICE

“There is no more evil thing in the world than race prejudice . . . it justifies and holds together more baseness, cruelty and abomination than any other sort of error in the world.”
– H. G. Wells

Something about me fears racism because I know that I am at risk. If a group of people can be persecuted or ridiculed for being “different” from others, then why shouldn’t it eventually happen to me? With racism the whole world is at risk.

Also racism is the opposite of spirituality. Spirituality always seeks to include, bring together and unite. The world that God has made is ONE. All people and races are “a family” that must learn to co-exist together if we are to be productive and creative. In the variety is the strength. With the unusual and peculiar comes divinity. God is to be found in the confusions of life.

Teacher, let me have the courage to expose the inadequacies in my life.

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Bible Scriptures
August 7

Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!
Matthew 26:41

“Make me know Thy ways, O LORD; teach me Thy paths.”
Psalm 25:4

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”
John 7:18

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
I Peter 3:3-4

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Daily Inspiration
August 7

It is always possible to pray no matter what you are doing. Lord, You are with me, guiding and caring for me. It takes but a brief moment to turn my thoughts to You.

God sends us His message, but we must be willing to receive it and then live it. Lord, when I yield to You, I become free and full of the richness of life.

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A Day At A Time
August 7

Reflection For The Day

What can we do about our resentments?  Fruitful experience has shown that the best thing to do is to write them down, listing people, institutions or principles with which we’re angry or resentful.  When I write down my resentments and then ask myself why I’m resentful, I’ve discovered that in most cases myself-esteem, my finances, my ambitions, or my personal relationships have been hurt or threatened.  Will I ever learn that the worst thing about my resentments is my endless rehearsal of the acts of retribution?

Today I Pray

May God help me find a way to get rid of my resentments.  May I give up the hours spent making up little playlets, in which I star as the angry man or woman cleverly shouting down the person who has threatened me.    Since these dramas are never produced, may I instead list my resentful feelings and look at the why’s behind each one.  May this be a way of shelving them.

Today I Will Remember

Resentments cause violence:  resentments cause illness in non-violent people.

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One More Day
August 7

Eat little at night, open your windows, drive out often, and look for the good in things and people … You will no long be sad, or bored, or ill.
–  Mary Knowles

When we get caught up in our problems, it may seem that they will continue to escalate, repeat, and secalte again.  We all have hard times — times when we are uncertain whether or not life has meaning, and at those times it may feel as though we have no control over the direction or quality of our lives.

But when we ease back a little and remember the hundreds of small choices we can make, we’re more able to accept some of the large unchangeable realities of our lives.  We can’t cure ourselves or change other people, but we can make the choices and take charge of the decisions that are ours.

I can simplify my life by letting go of decisions and problems that aren’t mine to handle.

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One Day At A Time
August 7
~ SERVICE ~

You cannot do a kindness too soon … because you never know how soon it will be too late.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

So many people in program sit silently in meetings because they don’t think they have anything of importance to say. Perhaps they haven’t been in program very long, and feel that, because they aren’t a seasoned veteran, they haven’t the right to speak up. But everyone’s experiences and insights are different, and I would appreciate hearing from those who are quiet. They just might say something that will keep me from losing my serenity and abstinence. It would be a kindness for them to speak up.

I’ve had people tell me, “Oh, I can’t pick up the phone and make an outreach call to someone I just met.” To that I say, “Why not?” It would be a kindness to let someone know that you’re there and you care about them.

Sometimes a person will say, “But I’m having a bad day myself; how can I offer hope to someone when I’m in such a shape?” It would be a kindness to share your struggle, for you would be giving others the chance to serve. I think it’s as much a selfishness on our part to deny someone the opportunity to serve us as it is to deny our service to someone who is hurting.

Ours is a fatal disease. I don’t want to risk missing the chance to serve someone who may not be with us tomorrow. I want to do that kindness today in case it’s YOU who isn’t here tomorrow. I hope you would do that kindness today in case it’s ME who isn’t here tomorrow.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will perform an act of kindness, for I never know when I may forever lose that opportunity.

~ JAR ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – August 7

“Everything I know I learned by listening and watching.”
–Vernon Cooper, LUMBEE

Sometimes my mind is talking so fast about so many different things that I can’t slow it down. All day long I am judging and making assumptions about everything.

Great Spirit, help me this day to slow down.  Help me to listen – quietly.  Help me to watch carefully.  Help me to listen to my inner voice.

Let me listen and watch only the thing You would have me observe. Guide my eyes and my ears to be focused on You. Grandfather, love me today and teach me to be quiet.

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Journey To The Heart
August 7
Be All You Can Be

Step out into the cool night air. Look at the stars. See how they shine. Know that it is okay for you to shine,too.

Who told you you had to hold back? Who told you your gifts, your talents, your beauty– your natural, beautiful, loving, delightful self– was wrong? Who told you not to be all you could be? Maybe, as some suggest, we’ve gotten too comfortable focusing on our flaws, our errors, our dark side. Perhaps it’s not our dark side we fear. Perhaps we’re really afraid of our gifts, our brilliance, our light.

Now, is a time of light. It’s time for us to shine. We’ve worked hard on ourselves, dealt with our issues, gone back to the past. We’ve learned our lessons well. The reason to hold back and hide away are no longer there. Enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Be all you can be, and enjoy being that. Don’t hold back. Use your gifts with joy. Use your talents. Let your light shine for all the world to see.

Finally, you are free to be all that you are and can be.

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Today’s Gift
August 7

Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.
—Rainer Maria Rilke

For a relationship to be healthy and fulfilling, each of us must respect the other. “Two solitudes” is exactly what we are, and we will never be one, no matter how close we become. It may feel like that at times, but we always remain separate persons with our own thoughts, feelings, dreams, and interests.

When we love one another, we allow each other to be who we are, to have our own lives, for it is out of those separate lives that we bring strength and energy and life into our relationships.

We are meant to honor the differences between us. Often these differences lead to squabbles, but when we recognize that each of us is necessary to the union we have created, we create a better one, far superior to the sum of its parts.

What differences between us make our lives together better?

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The Language of Letting Go
August 7
Saying No

For many of us, the most difficult word to say is one of the shortest and easiest in the vocabulary: No. Go ahead, say it aloud: No.

No – simple to pronounce, hard to say. We’re afraid people won’t like us, or we feel guilty. We may believe that a “good” employee, child, parent, spouse, or Christian never says no.

The problem is, if we don’t learn to say no, we stop liking ourselves and the people we always try to please. We may even punish others out of resentment.

When do we say no? When no is what we really mean.

When we learn to say no, we stop lying. People can trust us, and we can trust ourselves. All sorts of good things happen when we start saying what we mean.

If we’re scared to say no, we can buy some time. We can take a break, rehearse the word, and go back and say no. We don’t have to offer long explanations for our decisions.

When we can say no, we can say yes to the good. Our no’s and our yes’s begin to be taken seriously. We gain control of ourselves. And we learn a secret: “No” isn’t really that hard to say.

Today, I will say no if that is what I mean.

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More Language Of Letting Go
August 7
Stop second-guessing yourself

Often in life, when an incident arises, we know what we want and need to do. It’s clear. We’ve already got that lesson under our belt. Our hearts and inner guides are clearly speaking to us about what we want or don’t want to do.

But I should be open to change and new ideas, we think. Maybe what I want is wrong. Could it really be that what I want is right? Probably not. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Like Winnie the Pooh says, “Oh bother. Oh angst.”

We’re creating this bother and angst ourselves.

Be open to new ideas. We’re not always right in what we believe. Stay open to examining and changing your beliefs and ideals. But don’t spend all your time second-and third guessing yourself. Your life will whiz by. You won’t get anything done. And chances are, those second, third, and fourth guesses will lead you back to the place you started from.

God, help me stop wasting my time and energy second-guessing myself. Help me learn to trust you and to trust myself.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
August 7

We love because it’s the only true adventure.
—Nikki Giovanni

In loving, we meet ourselves. As we have become more honest, we no longer make excuses about our relationship problems. We can’t blame our troubles on our partner. Our problems with love were often because we didn’t know how to be close or we didn’t dare to be.

When we let ourselves engage in this adventure, we meet many obstacles – things we can’t control, and sometimes we want to quit right there. We have arguments and disappointments as well as good feelings. But what adventure is without difficulty or surprises? Part of the reason for choosing new experiences is to confront forces outside our control. A relationship is a dialogue. Only if we stay with it through the frustrations, express our deepest feelings openly, and listen to our partner, do we achieve a new level of understanding and confidence in the relationship. Then deeper levels also open within ourselves.

Today, I will let honesty guide me in this adventure of my love dialogue.

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Daily TAO
August 7
Composure

      Although they may have to kill
         Or suffer themselves to be killed,
      A person of composure remains dispassionate.
         Nothing is ever destroyed.
         Nothing is ever created.
      All is infinity.

For most people, killing is an abhorrence. If they had to kill, they would be horrified and their emotions would be uncontrollable. Likewise, if they were being threatened with death, they would be afraid and would struggle to keep alive.

Both these situations involve extreme attachment to what we know and how we wish to remain. Both situations indicate a fundamentally limited view of the world. We assume we are truly destroying someone. But though this body may be slain, the soul cannot be slain. Every soul is but a part of an infinite, cosmic soul.

You could subtract numerous souls from the world, and the number of souls would not be diminished. Numerous souls could be born, and the number of souls would not be augmented. Nothing is truly destroyed, and nothing is truly born. Only appearances change.

Therefore, people of composure view the transformation of the world calmly. They do not become alarmed with the different permutations of phenomena. They know these are all merely outer manifestations of an indefinable, unlimited, and infinite reality.

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Food For Thought
August 7
Keep It Simple

Complicated food plans and complicated lives work against us in this program. We compulsive overeaters have a hard time making decisions about food, and the more simple our menus, the better. We also tend to overextend ourselves in other areas, dissipating energy, which we need for working our program.

Our three meals a day can be nourishing and attractive without being elaborate. If we spend too much time and energy planning and preparing our food, we run the risk of reactivating our obsession. Too much thinking about food usually leads to overeating and invariably produces mental turmoil.

For our peace of mind and emotional serenity, we need to keep the mechanics of our lives as simple as possible. If the spirit is to be free, it cannot be shackled by over concern with material things.

May I keep life simple today and use my energies for working the program.

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Daily Zen
August 7

Excessive thinking
Weakens the will.
The more you know,
The more your mind
Is confused.
A confused mind gives
Rise to vexation.
The weakened will obstructs the Tao.

– Shih Wang Ming (6th c.)

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Faith’s Check Book
August 7
Rules for Prosperity

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
(Joshua 1:7)

Yes, the Lord will be with us in our holy war, but He demands of us that we strictly follow His rules, Our victories will very much depend upon our obeying Him with all our heart, throwing strength and courage into the actions of our faith. If we are halfhearted we cannot expect more than half a blessing.

We must obey the Lord with care and thoughtfulness. “Observe to do” is the phrase used, and it is full of meaning. This is referred to every part of the divine will; we must obey with universal readiness. Our rule of conduct is “according to all the law.” We may not pick and choose, but we must take the Lord’s commands as they come, one and all. In all this we must go on with exactness and constancy Ours is to be a straightforward course which bends neither to the right nor to the left. We are not to err by being more rigid than the law, nor turn out of levity to a more See and easy way. With such obedience there will come spiritual prosperity. O Lord, help us to see if it be not even so! We shall not test Thy promise in vain.

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This Morning’s Readings
August 7

“The upright love Thee”
—Song of Solomon 1:4.

BELIEVERS love Jesus with a deeper affection then they dare to give to any other being. They would sooner lose father and mother then part with Christ. They hold all earthly comforts with a loose hand, but they carry Him fast locked in their bosoms. They voluntarily deny themselves for His sake, but they are not to be driven to deny Him. It is scant love which the fire of persecution can dry up; the true believer’s love is a deeper stream than this. Men have laboured to divide the faithful from their Master, but their attempts have been fruitless in every age. Neither crowns of honour, now frowns of anger, have untied this more than Gordian knot. This is no every-day attachment which the world’s power may at length dissolve. Neither man nor devil have found a key which opens this lock. Never has the craft of Satan been more at fault than when he has exercised it in seeking to rend in sunder this union of two divinely welded hearts. It is written, and nothing can blot out the sentence, “The upright love Thee.” The intensity of the love of the upright, however, is not so much to be judged by what it appears as by what the upright long for. It is our daily lament that we cannot love enough. Would that our hearts were capable of holding more, and reaching further. Like Samuel Rutherford, we sigh and cry, “Oh, for as much love as would go round about the earth, and over heaven—yea, the heaven of heavens, and ten thousand worlds—that I might let all out upon fair, fair, only fair Christ.” Alas! our longest reach is but a span of love, and our affection is but as a drop of a bucket compared with His deserts. Measure our love by our intentions, and it is high indeed; ’tis thus, we trust, our Lord doth judge of it. Oh, that we could give all the love in all hearts in one great mass, a gathering together of all loves to Him who is altogether lovely!

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This Evening’s Readings
August 7

“Satan hindered us.”
—1 Thessalonians 2:18.

INCE the first hour in which goodness came into conflict with evil, it has never ceased to be true in spiritual experience, that Satan hinders us. From all points of the compass, all along the line of battle, in the vanguard and in the rear, at the dawn of day and in the midnight hour, Satan hinders us. If we toil in the field, he seeks to break the ploughshare; if we build the wall, he labours to cast down the stones; if we would serve God in suffering or in conflict—everywhere Satan hinders us. He hinders us when we are first coming to Jesus Christ. Fierce conflicts we had with Satan when we first looked to the cross and lived. Now that we are saved, he endeavours to hinder the completeness of our personal character. You may be congratulating yourself, “I have hitherto walked consistently; no man can challenge my integrity.” Beware of boasting, for your virtue will yet be tried; Satan will direct his engines against that very virtue for which you are the most famous. If you have been hitherto a firm believer, your faith will ere long be attacked; if you have been meek as Moses, expect to be tempted to speak unadvisedly with your lips. The birds will peck at your ripest fruit, and the wild boar will dash his tusks at your choicest vines. Satan is sure to hinder us when we are earnest in prayer. He checks our importunity, and weakens our faith in order that, if possible, we may miss the blessing. Nor is Satan less vigilant in obstructing Christian effort. There was never a revival of religion without a revival of his opposition. As soon as Ezra and Nehemiah begin to labour, Sanballat and Tobiah are stirred up to hinder them. What then? We are not alarmed because Satan hindereth us, for it is a proof that we are on the Lord’s side, and are doing the Lord’s work, and in His strength we shall win the victory, and triumph over our adversary.

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