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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.

+ Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meeting Finder
+ Overeaters Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Al-Anon Online Meeting Finder

Daily Recovery Readings – July 11

Just For Today
July 11
Encouragement

“We share comfort and encouragement with others.”
Basic Text, p.95

Many of us have watched as babies take their first steps. The mother holds the child on its feet. The father kneels nearby with outstretched arms, encouraging the little one, his face flooded with devotion. The baby takes a few small steps toward its father. An older brother and sister cheer the tyke on. Baby falls down. Its mother, murmuring words of comfort, picks the child up and starts over again. This time, baby stays up until it is close enough to fall into the safety of its father’s arms. As newcomers, we arrive in the rooms of NA much like this small child. Accustomed to living a life crippled by addiction, full of fear and uncertainty, we need help to stand. Just like a child beginning its march toward adulthood, we take our halting first steps toward recovery. We learn to live this new way of life because others who have gone before us encourage and comfort us by telling us what worked-and what didn’t work-for them. Our sponsor is there for us when we need a push in the right direction.

Many times we feel like we can’t take another step in recovery. Just like a child learning to walk, we sometimes stumble or fall. But our Higher Power always awaits us with outstretched arms And like the child’s brothers and sisters shouting their encouragement, we, too, are supported by other NA members as we walk toward a full life in recovery.

Just for today: I will seek encouragement from others. I will encourage others who may need my strength.

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Daily Reflections
July 11
A TURNING POINT, p.301

A great turning point in our lives came when we sought for humility as something we really wanted, rather than as something we must have.
12 & 12, p.75

Either the A.A. way of life becomes one of joy or I return to the darkness and despair of alcoholism. Joy comes to me when my attitude concerning God and humility turns to one of desire rather than of burden. The darkness in my life changes to radiant light when I arrive at the realization that being truthful and honest in dealing with my inventory results in my life being filled with serenity, freedom, and joy. Trust in my Higher Power deepens, and the flush of gratitude spreads through my being. I am convinced that being humble is being truthful and honest in dealing with myself and God. It is then that humility is something I “really want,” rather being “something I must have.”

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
July 11
A.A. Thought For The Day

We in Alcoholics Anonymous do not try to chart the path for the human soul or try to lay out a blueprint of the working of faith, as one might plan a charity drive. We do tell the newcomer that we have renewed our faith in a Higher Power. In the telling, our faith is further renewed. We believe that faith is always close at hand, waiting for those who will listen to the heartbeat of the spirit. We believe there is a force for good in the universe and that if we link up with this force, we are carried onward to a new life. Am I in this stream of goodness?

Meditation For The Day

God will protect you from the forces of evil, if you will rely on Him. You can face all things through the power of God which strengthens you. Once God has set on you His stamp and seal of ownership, all His strength will serve and protect you. Remember that you are a child of the Father. Realize that the Father’s help is always ready and available to all His children, so that they can face anything. God will do all that is necessary for your spiritual well-being, if you will let Him live His way.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may rely on God as I go through this day. I pray that I may feel deeply secure, no matter what happens to me.

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As Bill Sees It
July 11
Carrying the Message, p. 192

The wonderful energy the Twelfth Step releases, by which it carries our message to the next suffering alcoholic and finally translates the Twelve Steps into action upon all our affairs, is the payoff, the magnificent reality of A.A.

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Never talk down to an alcoholic from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked with you. Offer him friendship and fellowship.

1. 12 & 12, p. 109
2. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 95

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Keep It Simple
July 11

If you would be loved, love and be lovable.
—Benjamin Franklin

We all want to be loved. and no matter how much we’re loved, we always want more.

How can we be lovable? What does the mean? Should we try to be perfect? Should we act cute and helpless? No, being lovable means that we act ourselves. We let others get to know us. When others love us, we enjoy it. We tell them. We let them know that their love isn’t wasted on us, that it’s important to us. We are lovable, and we are loved!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me accept the love of others today. Help me be lovable.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list all the little things others do that show that they care for me.

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Each Day a New Beginning
July 11

I have listened to the realm of the Spirit. I have heard my own soul’s voice, and I have remembered that love is the complete and unifying thread of existence.
—Mary Casey

The act of loving someone else brings us together, closes whatever the gap between us. It draws us into the world of another, making richer the world we call our own. Love is the great equalizer.

We no longer wish to conquer or dominate those whom we love. And our love for one increases our capacity for loving others. Love heals another, and love heals ourselves, both giving it and receiving it.

Love from another acknowledges our existence, assuring us that we do count, that someone else values our presence. It is human to need these reminders, these assurances. But our need for them is lessened each time we acknowledge another person in our midst.

Where love is absent, people, even in a crowd, feel alone, forgotten, and unimportant. No doubt we can each recall times of quiet desperation moments of alienation. We must reach out to someone and send thoughts of love to someone who may need to be remembered. Our loving thoughts for persons close and far away always reach their destination. They do unify us.

Love is powerful. It can change the complexion of the universe. It will change the direction of my life.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
July 11
The Vicious Cycle

How it finally broke a Southerner’s obstinacy and destined this salesman to start A.A. at Philadelphia.

In conclusion, I can only say that whatever growth or understanding has come to me, I have no wish to graduate. Very rarely do I miss the meetings of my neighborhood A.A. group, and my average has never been less than two meetings a week. I have served on only one committee in the past nine years, for I feel that I had my chance the first few years and that newer members should fill the jobs. They are far more alert and progressive than we floundering fathers were, and the future of our fellowship is in their hands. We now live in the West and are very fortunate in our area A.A.; it is good, simple and friendly, and our one desire is to stay in A.A. and not on it. Our pet slogan is “Easy Does It.”

And I still say that as long as I remember January 8th in Washington, that is how long, by the grace of God as I understand Him, I will retain a happy sobriety.

pp. 230-231

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
July 11

Step Eleven – “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

This much could be a fragment of what is called meditation, perhaps our very first attempt at a mood, a flier into the realm of spirit, if you like. It ought to be followed by a good look at where we stand now, and a further look at what might happen in our lives were we able to move closer to the ideal we have been trying to glimpse. Meditation is something which can always be further developed. It has no boundaries, either of width or height. Aided by such instruction and example as we can find, it is essentially an individual adventure, something which each one of us works out in his own way. But its object is always the same: to improve our conscious contact with God, with His grace, wisdom, and love. And let’s always remember that meditation is in reality intensely practical. One of its first fruits is emotional balance. With it we can broaden and deepen the channel between ourselves and God as we understand Him.

pp. 101-102

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Xtra Thoughts
July 11

There are no burdens when everybody lifts.
–unknown

When someone is impatient and says, “I haven’t got all day” I always wonder, how can that be? How can you not have all day?
–unknown

Learn to say kind words, nobody resents them.
–unknown

Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?
–Friedrich Nietzsche

First mend yourself, and then mend others.
–Jewish Proverb

Always look at your moccasin tracks first before you speak of another’s faults.
–Native American Proverb

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
July 11
CHANGE

“The foolish and the dead never change their opinion.”
–James Russell Lowell

Part of my understanding of spirituality is that I will change. I will change my mind, my attitude and my opinion. My understanding of sobriety is that I will grow, grow in an understanding of myself, grow in an understanding of God’s will for me, and grow in an understanding of other people. Today I am not afraid to change my thinking about life.

During my years as an addict I was fixed and rigid about everything.  I saw it as weakness to change my mind and opinions. Now I understand that I was afraid of change, afraid not to have an answer, afraid not to be seen as being “in charge”.

In treatment I learned how to understand spirituality as reality;  seeing things as they are, rather than how I wanted them to be. I began to accept that life is about change and that truth is a process that we evolve towards.

In my journey towards You may I have the willingness to change.

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Bible Scriptures
July 11

“Apply your heart to instruction, And your ears to words of knowledge.”
Proverbs 23:12

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
John 10:10

“As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
Psalm 103:12

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 1:13

“as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”
1 Peter 1:14-15

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Daily Inspiration
July 11

The presence of God in us puts a joy in our soul that is beyond our ability to explain. Lord, when I open my self to this joy, I am renewed and peaceful.

Let today’s difficulties make you better not bitter. Lord, guide me, protect me and work through me.

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A Day At A Time
July 11

Reflection For The Day

Someone once defined the ego as “the sum total of false ideas about myself.”  Persistent reworking of the Twelve Steps enables me to gradually strip away my false ideas about myself.  This permits nearly imperceptible but steady growth in my understanding of the truth about myself.  And this, in turn, leads to a growing understanding of God and other human beings.  Do I strive fro self-honesty, promptly admitting when I’m wrong?

Today I Pray

God, teach me understanding;  teach me to know truth when I meet it;  teach me the importance of self-honesty, so that I may be able to say, sincerely, “I was wrong.”  along with, “I am sorry.”  Teach me that there is such a thing as a “healthy ego”  which does not require that feelings be medicated by mood-alters.  May I — slowly, on my tightrope– move toward the ideal of balance, so I can do away with the nets of falsehood and compulsion.

Today I Will Remember

To keep my balance.

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One More Day
July 11

The biggest thing in our today’s sorrow is the memory of yesterday’s pain.
–  Kahlil Gibran

Even though we intellectually know that a chronic illness will never go away, we emotionally offer ourselves a small glimmer of hope of recovery, of our lives going on as before.

We may spend some time reviewing life’s memories, closing out whole chapters, and dealing with how life used to be.  Then we can open a whole new section of life that allows us to include pain and sickness as part of our days.  We work in the frame of reference of today.  This is today’s problem, and we can work it into our lives.  Acknowledging that we are living a part of our lives differently from before will be our first step toward adjustment.  We accept, we change, and we begin to create new joys in the present to ease our sorrow.

By altering my goals, I once again can move into the mainstream of life.

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One Day At A Time
July 11
HONESTY

“Our lives improve only when we take chances ~ and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.”
–Walter Anderson

After the initial shock and realization that I am a compulsive overeater, it transpired that in order to recover, I had to get honest. This was — and still is — a painful process for me, yet it is an essential step towards my recovery.

First I had to admit that I wasn’t in control of my life and that recovery couldn’t be achieved unaided. As with most revelations, this was an uncomfortable truth to behold. I was also prompted through honesty to stop blaming everyone else for my unwillingness to help myself. I had to find conviction in my actions and not just emptiness in my words.

I conceded that I am not as perfect as I would like to think. I make mistakes and sometimes slip from the path of recovery, but with honesty comes acceptance that I am only human. This disease would deceive me into thinking that I am a failure when in fact it’s my actions that have failed me. Like a magician who performs illusions for the crowd, this disease would have me think I have committed unforgivable sins. Honesty is the key to my recovery; it unlocks the chains that have imprisoned me for so long. It allows me to recognize my weaknesses and turn them into strengths. It turns simple existence into life ~ and inner-conflicts into outward serenity.

One day at a time…
I will be honest with myself.

~ Sue G.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – July 11

“Do not grieve. Misfortunes will happen to the wisest and best of men. Death will come, always out of season. It is the command of the Great Spirit, and all nations and people must obey. What is past and what cannot be prevented should not be grieved for…”
–Big Elk, OMAHA Chief

Our earth continues to Grow by cycles and seasons: The cycles of growth – spring, summer, fall, winter. The cycles of the human being – baby, youth, adult, elder. It is through these cycles that we will experience the changes. I will not always necessarily agree with these changes but I need to trust the Grandfathers are in charge. Things will come and things will go. Really, I own nothing, the Creator owns all. Too often I label things as mine. I say this belongs to me, but it really belongs to the Creator. He gives me things to take care of. I need to do the best I can with what I have, with what I know at the time. And when the Creator changes things, I need to let go for His planning is the best.

Oh Great Spirit, today let me do the best I can with what I know, with what I have. Let me experience acceptance of Your will.

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Journey To The Heart
July 11
Clear the Path to Your Heart

I watched Old Faithful from my window. The geyser gurgled and spewed a low layer of steam. Then true to its name, Old Faithful erupted and sprayed thousands of gallons of steaming water into the air. Right on time.

A full range of gurgling emotions, reactions, and responses to life line the pathway to the heart. We need to feel them all– anger, hurt, sadness, irritations– in order to feel joy. To experience life and all its wonders, we must embrace all these feelings.

We need to experience the little anger as well as the big hurts, the painful wounds that life sometimes brings. To insist that we will only feel pleasant emotions means we’re blocking the pathway to the heart. We’re ignoring all the other gurgling emotions that need to be felt.

All our emotions are important; all need to be recognized. The energy of each needs to be acknowledged and released. This clears the way for love. All the emotions that precede love clear the heart, so it’s pure and free to feel joy.

Trust your emotions. All of them. You’re not off the path. They lead to the path you’re seeking. They are the journey to the heart. Let them flow freely. And sure as Old Faithful, your heart will come gleaming, shining through.

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Today’s Gift
July 11

Always think of what you have to do as easy and it will become so.
—Emile Corie

How we think about the activities before us is very important. If we think cleaning the garage is hard, dirty, and no chance for fun, that’s just how it will feel. We’ll be tired before we even begin. However, if we approach it like a treasure hunt, expecting to rediscover some long-forgotten treasures, we’ll enjoy the task. In fact, it will feel like a game.

The thoughts we carry in our minds determine whether our tasks are fun or not. What good fortune it is that we can control those thoughts. If we approach an assignment for school or a job believing that we’re able to do it, that it’s not too hard for us, we’ll finish with ease. Our thoughts determine our successes. In this way, our lives are in our own hands.

How much better can I make my life today?

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The Language of Letting Go
July 11
Bring Any Request to God

Bring any request you have to God.

No request is too large; none too small or insignificant.

How often we limit God by not bringing to God everything we want and need.

Do we need help getting our balance? Getting through the day?

Do we need help in a particular relationship? With a particular character defect? Attaining a character asset?

Do we need help making progress on a particular task that is challenging us? Do we need help with a feeling? Do we want to change a self-defeating belief that has been challenging us? Do we need information, an insight? Support? A friend?

Is there something in God’s Universe that would really bring us joy?

We can ask for it. We can ask God for whatever we want. Put the request in God’s hands, trusting it has been heard then let it go. Leave the decision to God.

Asking for what we want and need is taking care of ourselves. Trust that the Higher Power to whom we have turned over our life and will really does care about us and about what we want and need.

Today, I will ask my Higher Power for what I want and need. I will not demand-I will ask. Then I will let go.

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More Language Of Letting Go
July 11
Stop building cases

You don’t have to build a big drama around your life. We may need to end a relationship or explore a new career. Instead of simply saying, This is what I’m going to do, we build a case.

Like a lawyer getting ready to go to court, we prepare our arguments. We take one feeling and build a hundred-page document around it, prepared to battle our case.

You can build cases if you want to. But usually, there’s a hidden feeling underneath all that case-building that’s asking to be cleared. It could be a tinge of guilt or fear. Or it could just be the belief that it’s not okay to clearly express ourselves, say how it feels to us, and do what we need to do to take care of ourselves.

Let go of the drama. Just say what you need and how it feels to you.

Be as simple and clear as you can in expressing yourself. If you find yourself building a case or creating a big dramatic scene, take a moment. Why are you making such a fuss.

God, help me keep it simple, especially when it comes to expressing myself.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
July 11

In playing, and perhaps only in playing, the child or adult is free to be creative.
—D. W. Winnicott

There are so many activities called play, which have not really been playful. Organized sports for youth, which consumed some of us, are called play. The partying, which was connected with some of our addictions, is called play. Reckless and dangerous driving is called play. In recovery, some of us become intensely focused on doing what’s right, and we need a deeper understanding to take the spiritual leap into creative play

This leap takes a willingness to let go. Maybe we remember hurtful things happening when our guard was down. Creative play involves trusting that every activity doesn’t need a worthy goal, doesn’t need to be planned out. Pleasure, humor, lightness, and aimless passing of time are forms of openness to the spirit of God. It is experimenting, exploring, setting aside our ordered and planned approach to most of life, and accepting that what comes out will be all right.

God, help me see the possibilities for play in the moments of this day.

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Daily TAO
July 11
Austerities

Self-discipline leads to higher spiritual states
Only if practiced with understanding.
The clearer the goal,
The greater the result.

We must distinguish between discipline with a purpose and blind discipline. Discipline with a purpose is merely a means to an end and is healthy. Blind discipline does not have a true purpose and so becomes fanaticism. In the past, there were many spiritual people who believed in harsh asceticism. They would flog themselves, lie in cold and damp caves, twist themselves into uncomfortable postures, fast for dangerous periods of time. All too often, these people lost sight of their goals. We must be strongly disciplined, but we must not lose sight of our inner meaning.

Austere living with a clear understanding of why and how we are doing things does not require esoteric practices. Few of us mind going through extra effort and even hardship if we know that we will gain something better for it. That is all that discipline and austerity are about: You make extra efforts to gain a better life.

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In God’s Care
July 11

We are only as sick as the secrets we keep.
~~Anonymous

We all have our secrets. Some of them we’re not about to tell anybody. God, of course, already knows them. There may be some things we consider so shameful that we can’t share them with anyone. But shame seperates us from God. It’s a way of saying we are too horrible, too different – it’s a form of false pride.

To hide something means we’re holding on to the shame. Not until we’re ready to admit to God, ourselves, and another human being the nature of our secrets can we be rid of our shame. But when we come to believe that we have nothing to fear from sharing our secrets, God will transform them into something useful and constructive. There is nothing we have ever done that can’t be used to help someone, ourselves included.

    Today I will share my secrets with someone.

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Day By Day
July 11
    Showing empathy

When we first got into recovery, most of us were quite unhappy. We were in pain; we were vulnerable. We were angry and impatient. We probably didn’t like ourselves very much and may not have liked other people much.

But what if others had treated us according to these feelings? Weren’t we forgiven? Accepted? (And if we weren’t, wouldn’t it have been better if we had been?) Today, we see that we are the same as everyone else who is struggling to achieve or maintain a drug-free life. If we treat everyone well, it will help us recover.

Am I practicing generosity and compassion?

    Higher Power, help me to treat others as I would want to be treated.

    Today I will be especially campassionate toward…

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Food for Thought
July 11
Goals and Ends

Most of us came into this program with a specific weight goal in mind. We thought that if only we could weigh an ideal number of pounds, all of our other troubles would miraculously vanish.

When we reach goal weight, we discover that we still have to live with ourselves and deal with our problems. If we have been developing a strong program as we have been losing weight, we have a basis on which to work for further emotional and spiritual growth.

Our emotional and spiritual goals are not static. Since we never achieve perfection, there is always opportunity for further progress. The beauty of the OA program is that it is a program for life; its possibilities are limitless. To know and do the will of our Higher Power is our ultimate goal as well as our immediate one.

May I remember that You are my goal today and always.

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DailyZen
July 11

White-robed, I don’t adhere to appearances;
The true principle arises form Emptiness.
Because my mind’s without obstruction
Wisdom goes forth to all directions.
I only consider the lion’s roar–
I don’t let wild jackals yap!
Bodhi is said to be most marvelous,
But I scold it for being a false name

– Layman P’ang (740-808)

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Faith’s Check Book
July 11
Never Separated from God

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believeth thou this? (John 11:26)

Yes, Lord, we believe it; we shall never die. Our soul may be separated from our body, and this is death of a kind; but our soul shall never be separated from God, which is the true death—the death which was threatened to sin—the death penalty which is the worst that can happen. We believe this most assuredly, for who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord? We are members of the Body of Christ; will Christ lose parts of His Body? We are married to Jesus; will He be bereaved and widowed? It is not possible. There is a life within us which is not capable of being divided from God: yea, and the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and how then can we die? Jesus, Himself, is our life, and therefore there is no dying for us, for He cannot die again, In Him we died unto sin once, and the capital sentence cannot a second time be executed. Now we live, and live forever. The reward of righteousness is life everlasting, and we have nothingless than the righteousness of God, and therefore can claim the very highest reward.

Living and believing, we believe that we shall live and enjoy. Wherefore we press forward with full assurance that our life is secure in our living Head.

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This Morning’s Meditation
July 11

“After that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
—1 Peter 5:10.

YOU have seen the arch of heaven as it spans the plain: glorious are its colours, and rare its hues. It is beautiful, but, alas, it passes away, and lo, it is not. The fair colours give way to the fleecy clouds, and the sky is no longer brilliant with the tints of heaven. It is not established. How can it be? A glorious show made up of transitory sun-beams and passing rain-drops, how can it abide? The graces of the Christian character must not resemble the rainbow in its transitory beauty, but, on the contrary, must be stablished, settled, abiding. Seek, O believer, that every good thing you have may be an abiding thing. May your character not be a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock! May your faith be no “baseless fabric of a vision,” but may it be builded of material able to endure that awful fire which shall consume the wood, hay, and stubble of the hypocrite. May you be rooted and grounded in love. May your convictions be deep, your love real, your desires earnest. May your whole life be so settled and established, that all the blasts of hell, and all the storms of earth shall never be able to remove you. But notice how this blessing of being “stablished in the faith” is gained. The apostle’s words point us to suffering as the means employed—”After that ye have suffered awhile.” It is of no use to hope that we shall be well rooted if no rough winds pass over us. Those old gnarlings on the root of the oak tree, and those strange twistings of the branches, all tell of the many storms that have swept over it, and they are also indicators of the depth into which the roots have forced their way. So the Christian is made strong, and firmly rooted by all the trials and storms of life. Shrink not then from the tempestuous winds of trial, but take comfort, believing that by their rough discipline God is fulfilling this benediction to you.

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This Evening’s Meditation
July 11

“Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”
—Joel 1:3.

IN this simple way, by God’s grace, a living testimony for truth is always to be kept alive in the land—the beloved of the Lord are to hand down their witness for the gospel, and the covenant to their heirs, and these again to their next descendants. This is our first duty, we are to begin at the family hearth: he is a bad preacher who does not commence his ministry at home. The heathen are to be sought by all means, and the highways and hedges are to be searched, but home has a prior claim, and woe unto those who reverse the order of the Lord’s arrangements. To teach our children is a personal duty; we cannot delegate it to Sunday School Teachers, or other friendly aids, these can assist us, but cannot deliver us from the sacred obligation; proxies and sponsors are wicked devices in this case: mothers and fathers must, like Abraham, command their households in the fear of God, and talk with their offspring concerning the wondrous works of the Most High. Parental teaching is a natural duty—who so fit to look to the child’s well-being as those who are the authors of his actual being? To neglect the instruction of our offspring is worse than brutish. Family religion is necessary for the nation, for the family itself, and for the church of God. By a thousand plots Popery is covertly advancing in our land, and one of the most effectual means for resisting its inroads is left almost neglected, namely, the instruction of children in the faith. Would that parents would awaken to a sense of the importance of this matter. It is a pleasant duty to talk of Jesus to our sons and daughters, and the more so because it has often proved to be an accepted work, for God has saved the children through the parents’ prayers and admonitions. May every house into which this volume shall come honour the Lord and receive His smile.

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