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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 – July 16, 2014

Just For Today
July 16, 2014
Self-esteem

“Deep inside, I had feelings of inadequacy and inferiority.”
Basic Text, p. 112

Somewhere along the way, many of us developed strong feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. Deep inside was a voice that continually cried out, “You’re worthless!” Many of us learn to recognize this characteristic of low self-esteem very early in our recovery. Some of us may feel that our feelings of inferiority were where all our problems began.

Whether we learn this low self-esteem in our families or through our interactions with others, in NA we learn the tools for reclaiming ourselves. Building up our fractured self-esteem sometimes begins by simply accepting a service position. Or perhaps our phone begins to ring, and for the first time people are calling just to see how we are. They don’t want anything from us but to reach out and help.

Next we get a sponsor, someone who teaches us that we are worthwhile and believes in us until we can believe in ourselves. Our sponsor guides us through the Twelve Steps where we learn who we really are, not who we have built ourselves up or down to be.

Low self-esteem doesn’t go away overnight. Sometimes it takes years for us to really get in touch with ourselves. But with the help of other members of NA who share our same feelings, and by working the Twelve Steps, we blossom into individuals that others and, most importantly, we ourselves respect.

Just for today: I will remember that I am deserving of my Higher Power’s love. I know that I am a worthy human being.

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Daily Reflections
July 16, 2014
“A MEASURE OF HUMILITY”

In every case, pain had been the price of admission into a new life.  But this admission price had purchased more than we expected. It brought a measure of humility, which we soon discovered to be a healer of pain.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 75

It was painful to give up trying to control my life, even though success eluded me, and when life got too rough, I drank to escape. Accepting life on life’s terms will be mastered through the humility I experience when I turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understand Him. With my life in God’s care, fear, uncertainty, and anger are no longer my response to those portions of life that I would rather not have happen to me. The pain of living through these times will be healed by the knowledge that I have received the spiritual strength to survive.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
July 16, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

We can believe that God is in His heaven and that He has a purpose for our lives, which will eventually work out as long as we try to live the way we believe He wants us to live. It has been said that we should “wear the world like a loose garment.” That means nothing should seriously upset us because we have a deep, abiding faith that God will always take care of us. To us that means not to be too upset by the surface wrongness of things, but to feel deeply secure in the fundamental goodness and purpose in the universe. Do I feel deeply secure?

Meditation For The Day

Like the shadow of a great rock in a desert land, God is your refuge from the ills of life. The old hymn says: “Rock of ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.” God can be your shelter from the storm. God’s power can protect you from every temptation and defeat. Try to feel His divine power–call on it–accept it–and use it. Armed with that power, you can face anything. Each day, seek safety in God’s secret place, in communion with Him. You cannot be wholly touched or seriously harmed there. God can be your refuge.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may find a haven in the thought of God. I pray that I may abide in that Strong Tower, strongly guarded.

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As Bill Sees It
July 16, 2014
Where Rationalizing Leads, p. 197

“You know what our genius for rationalization is. If, to ourselves, we fully justify one slip, then our rationalizing propensities are almost sure to justify another one, perhaps with a different set of excuses.  But one justification leads to another and presently we are back on the bottle full-time.”

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

Experience shows, all too often, that even the “controlled” pill-taker may get out of control. The same crazy rationalizations that once characterized his drinking begin to blight his existence. He thinks that if pills can cure insomnia so may they cure his worry.

Our friends the doctors are seldom directly to blame for the dire results we so often experience. It is much too easy for alcoholics to buy these dangerous drugs, and once possessed of them the drinker is often likely to use them without any judgment whatever.

1. Letter, 1959
2. Grapevine, November 1945

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Walk In Dry Places
July 16, 2014
Accepting and correcting mistakes.
Mature living.

Being in error now and then is part of our human existence. Many of us, however, feel unbearable self-reproach when we make a mistake. Some compulsive people even blame themselves for errors beyond their control.

But the worst mistake is the refusal, or denial, of responsibility for mistakes. This comes from a strange belief that we can erase the mistake by refusing to accept it. It may stem from the belief that we should be above mistakes. This is immature thinking.

We are learning and growing when we accept our mistakes graciously and immediately move to correct them. Most of the time, when this is done, the distress passes quickly and we can go on to other matters.

I’ll take full responsibility for all of my actions today, and I’ll move quickly to correct any of my mistakes.

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Keep It Simple
July 16, 2014

We can’t all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.
—Will Rogers

Humility is being thankful for the chance to watch the parade. There were days we thought that all that counted were the heroes. But our program has no heroes. It has many fine, spiritual people. . . but no heroes.

When someone is needed to make coffee or pick up after a meeting, we can be willing to do those things. Let’s look at doing these little jobs as our way of looking for a good spot on the curb. . . .to watch the parade! The floats are so colorful, and the bands play so loud!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me be proud of who I am, instead of always putting myself down because I’m not who I “should” be.

Action for the Day: I will look and help someone today. Service to others is service to my Higher Power.

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Each Day a New Beginning
July 16, 2014

I have come to believe in the “Sacrament of the Moment,” which presupposes trust in the ultimate goodness of my creator.
—Ruth Casey

The moment, realized, is like a bud blossoming. The day unfolds and with each minute we are moved along to the experiences right for us at this place and this time. Our resistance to certain experiences and particular people creates the barrier that blocks the good in store for us.

We can rest assured; our higher power is caring for us. Each breath we take is Spirit-filled, and the plan for our lives is an accumulation of necessary experiences that is helping us to grow and develop our special talents. What we often forget is that the difficult periods of our lives stretch us, enlighten us, ready us to be the women we desire within to be.

This moment is sacred. All moments are sacred. They will not come again. What is offered this moment for us to grow on will not be offered in exactly this way again. Our higher power knows our needs and is caring for them. We can trust the goodness of today.

Whatever situation I encounter today, I will believe in its goodness. It is right for me. It may stretch my patience rather than elicit laughter, but it is right for me at this time.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
July 16, 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.

In my first year in high school, mother suggested that I not join the cadet unit. She got a medical certificate so that I should not have to join. I don’t know whether she was a pacifist or whether she just thought that in the event of another war it would have some bearing on my joining up.

p. 233

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
July 16, 2014

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.”

We also fall into another similar temptation. We form ideas as to what we think God’s will is for other people. We say to ourselves, “This one ought to be cured of his fatal malady,” or “That one ought to be relieved of his emotional pain,” and we pray for these specific things. Such prayers, of course, are fundamentally good acts, but often they are based upon a supposition that we know God’s will for the person for whom we pray. This means that side by side with an earnest prayer there can be a certain amount of presumption and conceit in us. It is A.A.’s experience that particularly in these cases we ought to pray that God’s will, whatever it is, be done for others as well as for ourselves.

p. 104

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Xtra Thoughts
July 16, 2014

Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by.
–Carl Sandburg

You can have fun and still be efficient. In fact, you will be more efficient.
–Stress Fractures, p.155

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
–Robert Louis Stevenson

It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action.
–Al Batt

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
–Leo Buscaglia

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
July 16, 2014
DESIRE

“One must not lose desires. They are mighty stimulating to creativeness, to love, and to long life.”
–Alexander A. Bogomoletz

Today I desire to live. I have discovered value in my life. I have experienced personal self-esteem. I am able to feel again, talk, trust and laugh again. Today I desire to live.

But I can remember when I felt lonely, isolated, angry, shutdown and hopeless. The desires I had were destructive, desiring isolation mingled with alcohol. Then the pain became too great and I experienced a vital “moment”. I realized I needed to make a choice — was I to live or die? I chose to live!

This was the beginning of my spiritual journey into self from which I discovered God and His world. Creative and positive desires were re-born in my life, and I am able to live and love again.

O Lord, may I continue to desire those things that do not hurt me.

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Bible Scriptures
July 16, 2014

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:10b

If you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Mark 11:26

God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
1 Corinthians 1:25

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A Day At A Time
July 16, 2014

Reflection For The Day

Long experience has proven that The Program and Twelve Steps will work for any person who approaches it with an open mind.  We have to remember that we can’t expect miracles overnight; after all, it took years to create the situation in which we find ourselves today.  I’ll try to be receptive and to listen.  I’ll try to e less hasty in drawing judgmental conclusions.  I’ll hand on to the expectation that The Program can change my entire life as long as I give it a chance.  Have I begun to realize that my ultimate contentment doesn’t depend on having things work out my way?

Today I Pray

I pray for a more receptive attitude;  for a little more patience;   a little less haste and more humility in my judgments.  May I always understand that change will come — it will all happen — if I will listen for God’s will, God grant me perseverance, for sometimes I must wait a while for The Program’s Steps to take effect.

Today I Will Remember

Patience.

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One More Day
July 16, 2014

What is experience?  A poor little hut constructed from the ruins of the palace of gold and marble called our illusion.
–  Joseph Roux

Our youthful dreams of glory, adventure, and wealth have, for most of us, been unfulfilled, yet we are not disappointed.  Childlike illusions that a meaningful life had to be based on excitement and power have give way to a maturity that values simpler, yet more important, goals.

Our long-ago need to importance was based on the judgment of others.  We want other people to see our wealth, feel our power, possibly even envy our influence.  Today, we seek our own approval.  We value serenity, not adventure.  Love, not envy.  Acceptance, now power.  We live with goals, not illusions.

I am thankful that my values are strong.

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One Day At A Time
July 16, 2014
SELF-RESPECT

“In his private heart … no man much respects himself.”
Mark Twain

I had no confidence or satisfaction in myself. I covered my lack of self-respect with absurd and harmful behaviors. I shielded myself from the respect and love of others by using these behaviors. I wanted to hide from the truth I knew – that I was behaving badly and dishonestly.

Having begun this program which restores us to sanity, we have stepped into a new realm of learning to love and respect ourselves. We have come to realize that we gain self-respect by working the Steps, surrendering ego, doing service for others, and relying on a Higher Power. Our lives become useful, our hearts are healed, and we are filled with respect for who we have become.

One day at a time …
May I come to realize I am worthy of self-respect because I am doing the right things for the right reasons … and giving credit to my Higher Power.

~ Judy N.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day July 16

“Grandfather says…you must not hurt anybody or do harm to anyone. You must not fight. Do right always. It will give you satisfaction in life.”
–Wovoka, PAIUTE

The question one should ask themselves is: Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? If you want to be right, this is a request from your ego. If you want to be happy then this is of the Great Spirit. The only meaning anything has is the meaning we give it. Maybe we should develop a philosophy of: Today is the last day of the rest of my life. If this were true, how easy it would be to let things go – how easy it would be to forgive.

Oh Great Spirit, let me live today as if it was my last. Let me express Your joy and be happy today. Let me see the joy and honor of living on the Red Road.

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Journey To The Heart
July 16, 2014
Go a Little Further

I arrived at Oregon’s Willamette National Forest after dark. Suddenly I found myself at a fork in the road. To the right was a chained gate marked “Foot Travelers Welcome. To the left was an open road marked “Nature Sanctuary, Authorized Visitors Only.”

I stared at both signs, then headed to the left. I didn’t see anything that looked like lodging and I began to feel uncomfortable, like one of the unauthorized visitors the sign warned about. I backed the car out to the fork, turned around and left.

Two hours later, I still hadn’t found the retreat. I was tired and worried about running out of gas. I tried to remember what I’d been learning– that desperation attracts more desperation. I relaxed and visualized myself finding the retreat, being given a key to a room, and going to sleep in a bed. I visualized it until I could see the scene clearly in my mind.

Before long I found myself back at the fork. I mean no harm, I thought. So I’ll just drive down that nature sanctuary road again, the one for authorized visitors only. I drove as far as I had before, then decided to push ahead a bit more. I rounded the bend and there it was– the parking lot, the night office, and a man who could give me a key to my room. Within twenty minutes, I was in bed for the evening.

Sometimes we need to go further than we thought we could. We need to go past our fear, past our uncertainty, past the bend we can’t see beyond. If we stay on the course, give it that extra push, and go round the bend, we may find what we’re looking for.

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Today’s Gift
July 16, 2014

Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by.
—Carl Sandburg

There is a song that says joy is like the rain. It comes across our windowpane and then goes away again. When joy comes knocking at our window we can reach out and let it in. Joy comes to us in many ways – through deep laughter, through games played together in a spirit of fun and sharing. Singing together, skating, and being around a campfire are all ways we share joy. Yet joy can also be felt alone.

Each moment of joy we reach for strengthens our spirits. Joyful memories can sustain us through days of long hard work. Like rain, joy comes and goes; yet its nourishment keeps our spirits alive.

How can I share my joy today?

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The Language of Letting Go
July 16, 2014
Insisting on the Best

We deserve the best life and love has to offer, but we are each faced with the challenge of learning to identify what that means in our life. We must each come to grips with our own understanding of what we believe we deserve, what we want, and whether we are receiving it.

There is only one place to start, and that is right where we are, in our current circumstances. The place we begin is with us.

What hurts? What makes us angry? What are we whining and complaining about? Are we discounting how much a particular behavior is hurting us? Are we making excuses for the other person, telling ourselves we’re “too demanding”?

Are we reluctant, for a variety of reasons, especially fear, to tackle the issues in our relationships that may be hurting us? Do we know what’s hurting us and do we know that we have a right to stop our pain, if we want to do that?

We can begin the journey from deprived to deserving. We can start it today. We can also be patient and gentle with ourselves as we travel in important increments from believing we deserve second best, to knowing in our hearts that we deserve the best, and taking responsibility for that.

Today, I will pay attention to how I allow people to treat me, and how I feel about that. I will also watch how I treat others. I will not overreact by taking their issues too personally and too seriously; I will not under react by denying that certain behaviors are inappropriate and not acceptable to me.

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More Language Of Letting Go
July 16, 2014
There’s a bottom to the well

“I’m not disconnected from my emotions,” said Jan. “But what I am is frightened. I go so deeply into some feelings that I think that how I’m feeling now is the way I’ll always feel. I get frightened, especially with sadness, that there’s no end, no bottom, to what I’m going through.”

Some feelings are just plain big. It feels like we’ve fallen into an emotional well with no bottom.

We haven’t. There is a bottom. It may take a while to ge there, but there is a bottom. And there are ways we can take care of ourselves when we’re feeling this way. Some people get professional help. Others make a decision to go through it, giving special care to themselves. If you’re going through an emotionally exhausting time, you may want to design your own care routine. Here are some suggestions that have helped some people get through these times.

. If you’re involved with a support group, go to your meetings, even and especially if you don’t feel like going out.

. Let a trusted friend know what you’re going through. Ask that person for support, be clear in asking for what you need.

. Get plenty of rest. It takes a lot of energy to go through feelings this big.

. Make yourself get up and get out sometimes,too. Just the sheer act of being around people, in a park or at the mall, reminds us that life goes on when it feels like our life has stopped. Ask yourself what might feel good, and listen to any positive ideas you get.

. Exercise, even if you don’t want to. Move your body around. It’ll help move those feelings around,too.

. Make daily goals, a list of things you want and need to do each day. Give yourself room to feel your feelings, but exercise your will and volition,too.

. Don’t let your environment reflect what you’re feeling; let it reflect how you want to feel. Tidy up your living space.

. Give yourself time deadlines for emotions. For instance, give yourself half an hour to thoroughly and completely give in to the feeling, then go do something else for a while. Go for a walk, watch TV, go to a movie, read a book. Tell yourself you’re not running away from the feeling. You’re just going to take a break for a while.

. Journal. Write about how you feel. Few things in life can substitute or work better than actually making a connection with ourselves.

. Then pray. Connecting with God always help.

God, help me accept and get through all my feelings, even the big ones.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
July 16, 2014

Do not seek death. Death will find you.
—Dag Hammarskjold

When we accept deep within ourselves the fact that we will die, that our days are numbered as certainly as those of each thriving, bustling generation before us, then we become more fully alive and vital men. Facing this raises grief over our loss, and we wish to avoid it. Yet, death keeps us honest. It highlights the folly of our questions about whether we should live or die and confronts us with the self-destructive behaviors we have used. Some of us have nearly killed ourselves by our extreme behaviors.

Since death is certain, the real question is. How shall we live? By pursuing recovery and spiritual growth we have chosen to live more fully and to use our energies well. We live with commitment to our highest values. We stay in tune with our inner voice to help us make choices. We play, we love, and we celebrate the miracle of life every day, not because there is no grief, but because life is precious and time is limited.

Today, I will accept my grief over the limits of life. I will celebrate its wonder.

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Daily TAO
July 16, 2014
Smothered

It’s daybreak and already
The prostitutes are on the street,
Addicts are searching the corners with a feral glint.
An obese woman, winded from a few steps,
Passes an anxious man scavenging a garbage can –
Jester to winos in a fiefdom of pigeons.
The summer sky is obscured with leaden clouds.

Tao is all around us, but sometimes the weight of our poor habits, our bad circumstances, or our lack of exposure to philosophy hampers us. Although every person should be equally valued as a human being, not every person is equally sensitive to Tao.

Ignorance is our predominant mode in life. We may pass through ghettos and consider ourselves more fortunate, but don’t we all have dense layers of misfortune, confusion, and selfishness to dissolve?

Tao can be known by progressive purification and cultivation. The opposite is also true. Ignorance can be compounded, made denser, until the light of our spirits is smothered.

The light of the soul is bright, but dense clouds of human ignorance obscure it. Where are you in terms of your effort to make your life brighter?

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 Food for Thought
July 16, 2014
Hard Right or Easy Wrong?

We are constantly faced with choices, and often we are tempted to follow the way of least resistance. In our dealings with others and ourselves it is usually easier to say yes than no, but yes is not always the best answer. If we are too permissive, we become lax and ineffective.

The problem with taking the easy way is that it usually ends up being harder in the long run. If we do not control our eating, we will have all of the problems of obesity. If we do not limit our spending, we will eventually lack funds for what we need. If we do not follow moral and ethical principles, our lives become chaotic and we live in constant fear and tension.

Although choosing the hard right is difficult, it is by exercising our ethical muscles that we become strong and gain self-respect.

By Your grace, may I make the right choices.

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DailyZen
July 16, 2014

Today she is Buddhist Nun Ru,
Yesterday she was Teacher Wang.
Although born to wear silken gauze,
She now wears only the roughest hemp.
Mouths that open and spew out lofty talk
Have no interest in becoming buddhas.
Leap out of the cauldron of right and wrong,
Cut off completely the road of life and death,
Then enter tiger’s lair and demon’s palace
With a heart that feels not the slightest fear.

– Zhenru

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Faith’s Check Book
July 16, 2014
Word to Him Who Halts

I will save her that halteth.
(Zephaniah 3:19)

There are plenty of these lame ones, both male and female. You may meet “her that halteth” twenty times in an hour. They are in the right road and exceedingly anxious to run in it with diligence, but they are lame and make a sorry walk of it. On the heavenly road there are many cripples. It may be that they say in their hearts—What will become of us? Sin will overtake us; Satan will throw us down. Ready-to-halt is our name and our nature; the Lord can never make good soldiers of us, nor even nimble messengers to go on His errands. Well, well! He will save us, and that is no small thing. He says, “I will save her that halteth.” In saving us He will greatly glorify Himself. Everybody will ask—How came this lame woman to run the race and win the crown? And then the praise will all be given to almighty grace.

Lord, though I halt in faith, in prayer, in praise, in service, and in patience, save me, I beseech Thee! Only Thou canst save such a cripple as I am. Lord, let me not perish because I am among the hindmost, but gather up by Thy grace the slowest of Thy pilgrims—even me. Behold He hath said it shall be so, and therefore, like Jacob, prevailing in prayer, I go forward though my sinew be shrunk.

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This Morning’s Meditation
July 16, 2014

“They gathered manna every morning.”
—Exodus 16:21.

LABOUR to maintain a sense of thine entire dependence upon the Lord’s good will and pleasure for the continuance of thy richest enjoyments. Never try to live on the old manna, nor seek to find help in Egypt. All must come from Jesus, or thou art undone for ever. Old anointings will not suffice to impart unction to thy spirit; thine head must have fresh oil poured upon it from the golden horn of the sanctuary, or it will cease from its glory. To-day thou mayest be upon the summit of the mount of God, but He who has put thee there must keep thee there, or thou wilt sink far more speedily than thou dreamest. Thy mountain only stands firm when He settles it in its place; if He hide His face, thou wilt soon be troubled. If the Saviour should see fit, there is not a window through which thou seest the light of heaven which He could not darken in an instant. Joshua bade the sun stand still, but Jesus can shroud it in total darkness. He can withdraw the joy of thine heart, the light of thine eyes, and the strength of thy life; in His hand thy comforts lie, and at His will they can depart from thee. This hourly dependence our Lord is determined that we shall feel and recognize, for He only permits us to pray for “daily bread,” and only promises that “as our days our strength shall be.” Is it not best for us that it should be so, that we may often repair to His throne, and constantly be reminded of His love? Oh! how rich the grace which supplies us so continually, and doth not refrain itself because of our ingratitude! The golden shower never ceases, the cloud of blessing tarries evermore above our habitation. O Lord Jesus, we would bow at Thy feet, conscious of our utter inability to do anything without Thee, and in every favour which we are privileged to receive, we would adore Thy blessed name and acknowledge Thine unexhausted love.

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This Evening’s Meditation
July 16, 2014

“Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time is come. For Thy servants rake pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.”
—Psalm 102:13, 14.

A selfish man in trouble is exceedingly hard to comfort, because the springs of his comfort entirely within himself, and when he is sad all his springs are dry. But a large-hearted man full of Christian philanthropy, has other springs from which to supply himself with comfort beside those which lie within. He can go to his God first of all, and there find abundant help; and he can discover arguments for consolation in things relating to the world at large, to his country, and, above all, to the church. David in this Psalm was exceedingly sorrowful; he wrote, “I am like an owl of the desert, I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.” The only way in which he could comfort himself, was in the reflection that God would arise, and have mercy upon Zion: though he was sad, yet Zion should prosper; however low his own estate, yet Zion should arise. Christian man! learn to comfort thyself in God’s gracious dealing towards the church. That which is so dear to thy Master, should it not be dear above all else to thee? What though thy way be dark, canst thou not gladden thine heart with the triumphs of His cross and the spread of His truth? Our own personal troubles are forgotten while we look, not only upon what God has done, and is doing for Zion, but on the glorious things He will yet do for His church. Try this receipt, O believer, whenever thou art sad of heart and in heaviness of spirit: forget thyself and thy little concerns, and seek the welfare and prosperity of Zion. When thou bendest thy knee in prayer to God, limit not thy petition to the narrow circle of thine own life, tried though it be, but send out thy longing prayers for the church’s prosperity, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” and thine own soul shall be refreshed.

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