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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
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Daily Recovery Readings – July 17, 2014

Just For Today
July 17, 2014
Using Our “Using Dreams”

“Do we fully accept the fact that our every attempt to stop using or to control our using failed?”
Basic Text, p. 18

The room is dark. Your forehead is bathed in cold sweat. Your heart is racing. You open your eyes, sure that you’ve just blown your clean time. You’ve had a “using dream”, and it was just like being there-the people, the places, the routine, the sick feeling in your stomach, everything. It takes a few moments to realize it was just a nightmare, that it didn’t actually happen. Slowly, you settle down and return to sleep.

The next morning is the time to examine what really happened the night before. You didn’t use last night – but how close are you to using today? Do you have any illusions about your ability to control your using? Do you know, without a doubt, what would happen once you took the first drug? What stands between you and a real, live relapse? How strong is your program? Your relationships with your sponsor, your home group, and your Higher Power?

Using dreams don’t necessarily indicate a hole in our program; for a drug addict, there’s nothing more natural than to dream of using drugs. Some of us think of using dreams as gifts from our Higher Power, vividly reminding us of the insanity of active addiction and encouraging us to strengthen our recovery. Seen in that light, we can be grateful for using dreams. Frightening as they are, they can prove to be great blessings – if we use them to reinforce our recovery.

Just for today: I will examine my personal program. I will talk with my sponsor about what I find, and seek ways to strengthen my recovery.

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Daily Reflections
July 17, 2014
SURRENDER AND SELF-EXAMINATION

My stability came out of trying to give, not out of demanding that I receive. Thus I think it can work out with emotional sobriety. If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependency and its consequent unhealthy demand. Let us, with God’s help, continually surrender these hobbling demands. Then we can be set free to live and love; we may then be able to Twelfth Step ourselves and others into emotional sobriety.
THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEART, p. 238

Years of dependency on alcohol as a chemical mood-changer deprived me of the capability to interact emotionally with my fellows. I thought I had to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, and self-motivated in a world of unreliable people. Finally I lost my self-respect and was left with dependency, lacking any ability to trust myself or to believe in anything. Surrender and self-examination while sharing with newcomers helped me to ask humbly for help.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
July 17, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

The new life of sobriety that we are learning to live in A.A. is slowly growing on us and we are beginning to get some of that deep peace of mind and serenity that we never thought were possible. At first we may have doubted that this could happen to us, but after any considerable length of time in A.A., looking at the happy faces around us, we know that somehow it is happening to us . In fact, it cannot help happening to anyone who takes the A.A. program seriously day by day. Can I see my own happiness reflected in the faces of others?

Meditation for the Day

God does not withhold His presence from you. He does not refuse to reveal more of His truth to you. He does not hold back His spirit from you. He does not withhold the strength that you need. His presence, His truth, His spirit, His strength are always immediately available to you, whenever you are fully willing to receive them. But they may be blocked off by selfishness, intellectual pride, fear, greed, and materialism. We must try to get rid of these blocks and let God’s spirit come in.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may remove all blocks that are keeping me from God. I pray that I may let God come into my life with power.

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As Bill Sees It
July 17, 2014
Tell the Public?, p. 198

“A.A.’s of worldly prominence sometimes say, ‘If I tell the public that I am in Alcoholics Anonymous, then that will bring in many others.’  Thus they express the belief that our anonymity Tradition is wrong–at least for them.

“They forget that, during their drinking days, prestige and the achievement of worldly ambition were their principal aims. They do not realize that, by breaking anonymity, they are unconsciously pursuing those old and perilous illusions once more. They forget that the keeping of one’s anonymity often means a sacrifice of one’s desire for power, prestige, and money. They do not see that if these strivings became general in A.A., the course of our whole history would be changed; that we would be sowing the seeds of our own destruction as a society.

“Yet I can happily report that while many of us are tempted–and I have been one–few of us in America actually break our anonymity at the public-media level.”

Letter, 1958

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Walk In Dry Places
July 17, 2014
We never arrive
Finding Happiness.

We delude ourselves if we believe that our happiness and well-being will come when we reach a certain goal. Whatever happiness and well-being we obtain must come through the process of living in ordinary, everyday situations.

If we observe carefully, we’ll find lots of happy people who are in situations or work that we might consider unpleasant. It is not the work or situation that creates happiness and fulfillment. What counts is the ATTITUDE toward it.

Those of us in 12 Step programs should have special insight into the issue of happiness. We tried to find it, here and now, in false ways. But it is available to us, here and now, in ordinary living.

I’ll be happy today in knowing that I’m blessed with the ordinary tasks of life.

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Keep It Simple
July 17, 2014

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
—Marie Curie

We have many sides, some good, and some bad. Maybe we’re afraid to see our faults. But we don’t need to be afraid. After all, we need to know our dark side before we can change it. When we see ourselves clearly, we can stop our dark side from causing trouble.

When we shine light on our fears and secrets, we’ll begin to feel better about ourselves. We’ll feel more safe about sharing our worries. The more honest we are with ourselves and others, the better and stronger we become. The goodness and love in us will blossom. We have a Higher Power and a program to help us.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me be brave enough to see myself clearly. Gently teach me to see who I really am. Help me know enough to stay sober today.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll look myself in the eyes. I’ll spend two minutes looking into my eyes in a mirror. I’ll talk to my sponsor about what I see.

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Each Day a New Beginning
July 17, 2014

The problem is not merely one of woman and career, woman and the home, woman and independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.
—Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Before getting into this recovery program, many of us didn’t cope with life’s distractions except with the help of our addiction. We had no sense of wholeness and were constantly bouncing from one crisis to another. We may still feel pulled. The crises may still trip us up. But we have a center now that we are beginning to understand and rely upon. That center is our spiritual selves.

Slowing down, going within to our center, listening to the message therein, unravels our problem, smoothes the waves of the storm. The strength to go forward awaits us.

We can absorb the shocks that “crack the hub of the wheel” and be enriched by them. Each moment we are weaving our tapestry of life. Each experience colors our design. Our pain and sorrow and joy give the depth that one-day will move us to say, “I see, I understand.”

I will be grateful for the experiences today that give my tapestry its beauty.

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Alcoholics Anonymous – Fourth Edition
July 17, 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.

About then I realized that my point of view on the opposite sex wasn’t entirely like that of most of the boys I knew. For that reason, I believe, I married at a much younger age than I would have, had it not been for my home training. My wife and I have been married for some thirty years now. Vi was the first girl that I ever took out. I had quite a heartache about her then because she wasn’t the type of girl that my mother wanted me to marry. In the first place, she had been married before; I was her second husband. My mother resented it so much that the first Christmas after our marriage, she didn’t even invite us to dinner. After our first child came, my parents both become allies. Then, in later days, after I became an alcoholic, they both turned against me.
pp. 233-234

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
July 17, 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.”

In A.A. we have found that the actual good results of prayer are beyond question. They are matters of knowledge and experience. All those who have persisted have found strength not ordinarily their own. They have found wisdom beyond their usual capability. And they have increasingly found a peace of mind which can stand firm in the face of difficult
circumstances.

p. 104

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Xtra Thoughts
July 17, 2014

With love and patience, nothing is impossible.
–Daisaku Ikeda

This is the way of peace. Overcome evil with good. Falsehood with truth, And hatred with love.
–Peace Pilgrim

“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.”
–George Bernard Shaw

The purpose of man is in action not thought.
–Thomas Carlyle

Thanks, but I won’t need your help today.
–GOD

To attain Knowledge, add things every day. To attain Wisdom, remove things every day.
–Lao Tzu

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
July 17, 2014
NEGATIVITY

“My life has been nothing but a failure.”
–Claude Monet

I can identify with Claude Monet because for years I considered myself a complete failure. For years I wallowed on my pity-pot until it became too painful. Whatever the “pay-off” was in the previous years had dried up, and I was left with a rock bottom pain that forced me to consider the alternative: I needed to set about doing something to change things!

Astounding! Impossible! How could this ever be? I was forever to be a victim of alcoholism. “Not so.” I heard a voice of hope from a recovering alcoholic who had made the change. Slowly I took small steps towards recovery and self-esteem.

I am a failure so long as I consider myself a failure. I am what I create in my life. God requires my cooperation to make miracles in my life. My decision to listen to those who had achieved sobriety provided the seeds for my recovery today. I wonder if Claude Monet was an alcoholic who never heard the words of hope?

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Bible Scriptures
July 17, 2014

The joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.
Phil. 2:10

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Romans 12:12-13

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Daily Inspiration
July 17, 2014

Share the lighthearted moments of your life with others. Lord, may I be instrumental in relieving tensions by lifting the spirits of others with a little cheerfulness.

Be a patient person but, most of all, be patient with yourself. Lord, may I be blessed with a calm spirit and diligence as I do my work today.

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A Day At A Time
July 17, 2014

Reflection For The Day

For my own good, I’ll go to meetings and participate in discussions with an open mind that’s ready to receive and accept new ideas.  For my own peace and comfort, I’ll determinedly try to apply those new ideas to my own life.  I’ll remember that The Program offers me the instruction and support I can’t find elsewhere.  I’ll seek out others who understand my problems, and I’ll accept their guidance in matters which cause me discomfort and confusion.  Will I try to be willing to listen — and to share?

Today I Pray

Thank you, God, for bringing The Program into my life, and with it a better understanding of Divine Power.  Help me to remember that attendance and attentiveness at meetings are all-important to continuing in this happily-discovered way of life.  May I listen and share with honesty, open-mindedness and willingness.

Today I Will Remember

Her’s HOW;  honesty, open-mindedness, willingness.

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One More Day
July 17, 2014

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:  Its loveliness increases;  it will never Pass into nothingness.
–  John Keats

We know a work of fine art can only increase in value.  As the years pass by, art develops character lines which further define and highlight its beauty.

We wonder about people.  There is grace which comes with age, we know, but how can people last forever?  The answer, of course, is what do not.  But all that we comprise and create — the love, the caring, the storytelling, the things we make with our hands — will endure forever.  Just as enduring, and perhaps even more value, is the respect we give to our family and traditions.   These and other family heirlooms are our assurance that no one or no thing passes into nothingness.

I am comforted by the traditions of family and faith and by the meaningfulness they add to my life.

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One Day At A Time
July 17, 2014
LIVING RIGHT

“Life is not a matter of having good cards …. but of playing a poor hand well.”
–Robert Louis Stevenson

There are many things in this world we have no control over, such as: our gender, our stature, our race, or physical abnormalities. But we always have the power to choose how we deal with events and circumstances. We can always take the right action ~ if it is not predicated on achieving a favorable outcome.

The Big Book tells us that it is a “well-understood fact that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return.”

I must ask myself ~

One day at a time …
Am I living properly?
Am I living properly today?
Am I really trying at all?

~ Jeremiah ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day July 17

“My friends, how desperately do we need to be loved and to love.”
–Chief Dan George, SKOKOMISH

Oh my great Creator: Help me this day to love myself. I can’t give away anything that I don’t have myself. If I am to love others, then I must love myself. If I am to forgive others, then I am to forgive myself. If I am to accept others as they are then I need to accept myself as I am. If I am to not judge others, then I need to lighten up on myself. Let me experience this power of love…

My Creator, today I will love myself so I can love my neighbor. I will look at each person today and see Your light within them. If I do this, I will hold my brothers and sisters without guilt.

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Journey To The Heart
July 17, 2014
Put Yourself on Equal Ground

I sat in the booth across from my friend. I was fiddling with an empty soda can in front of me while we discussed the subject of power. Suddenly he snatched the can away from me and began tossing it in the air, catching it, then tossing it up again. “See how easy it is to take your power?” he said. “See how you just gave it to me?”

I watched, amazed at how quickly I had relinquished my power, how vulnerable I was to the world around me.

Then my friend smiled and stopped juggling the can. “Relax,” he said. “It’s an illusion. That’s not really your power– it’s an empty can. And it’s an illusion that anyone can take your power away from you.”

Each of us has an unlimited supply of power available– the power to think, to feel, to take care of ourselves. The power to open our hearts, love, be gentle, honest, and kind. We each have the power to be clear and to trust and follow the guidance of our own hearts.

Part of our journey to freedom, an important part, is equalizing our relationships. For many years, we may have believed the scales were tipped one way or the other in our work and love relationships. We may have believed that others knew a great deal more than we did, or we may have begun to believe that we had all the answers. But no one has our power. That’s an illusion. So much so that sometimes the person we believe is more powerful than us may be looking at us thinking we’re the ones pulling the strings.

Remember, if you give up your power or decide that someone has power over you, you’ll begin grousing, sabotaging, and doing sneaky little things to equalize that relationship, to feel like you have your power. There’s another way, a better way, one that will help you heal.

Put yourself on equal ground.

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Today’s Gift
July 17, 2014

When you feel rejected, start accepting yourself, and then go out and accept someone.
—Sondra Ray

There was once a mother who felt rejected when her children grew up and needed to separate from her. She felt hurt when they pushed her away and no longer wanted all the love and caring that she wanted to give them. She thought, What’s wrong with me?

Encouraged by her friends, she began to ask herself another question: What’s right with me? The more answers she found to that question, the better she liked herself. The better she liked herself, the more she was able to see her children’s need to separate from her as their own natural and healthy urge for independence, and not the result of her shortcomings.

Our good points may seem undesirable to others, but that’s not our fault. Sometimes, too much of a good thing can be inappropriate, but that doesn’t make it bad.

What’s right with me today?

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The Language of Letting Go
July 17, 2014
Love, in Words and Actions

Many of us have confused notions about what it means to be loved and cared about.

Many of us were loved and cared for by people who had discrepancies between what they said and did.

We may have had a mother or father who said, “I love you” to us, and then abandoned or neglected us, giving us confused ideas about love. Thus that pattern feels like love – the only love we knew.

Some of us may have been cared for by people who provided for our needs and said they loved us, but simultaneously abused or mistreated us. That, then, becomes our idea of love.

Some of us may have lived in emotionally sterile environments, where people said they loved us, but no feelings or nurturing were available. That may have become our idea of love.

We may learn to love others or ourselves the way we have been loved, or we may let others love us the way we have been loved, whether or not that feels good. It’s time to let our needs be met in ways that actually work. Unhealthy love may meet some surface needs, but not our need to be loved.

We can come to expect congruency in behavior from others. We can diminish the impact of words alone and insist that behavior and words match.

We can find the courage, when appropriate, to confront discrepancies in words and actions – not to shame, blame, or find fault, but to help us stay in touch with reality and with our needs.

We can give and receive love where behavior matches one’s words. We deserve to receive and give the best that love has to offer.

Today, I will be open to giving and receiving the healthiest love possible. I will watch for discrepancies between words and behaviors that confuse me and make me feel crazy. When that happens, I will understand that I am not crazy; I am in the midst of a discrepancy.

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More Language Of Letting Go
July 17, 2014
Relief is around the bend

I needed to go into the city for errands. It was a chilly morning at the beach, not even 70 degrees. I put on my jacket, got in the car, and headed out. I made the turn onto the canyon road and was struck by the beauty of the fog burning off, playing peekaboo with the canyon walls. It was 94 and sunny when I arrived in town.

I ran my errands and stopped at In and Out Burger for lunch. When I got back in the car, the thermometer read 102. It was hot. Traffic was bad, the temperature reached 106 on the freeway, and even the air conditioning didn’t help much.

Finally, I turned back onto the canyon road. The grass was brown and I worried about wildfires– they get so bad here. Soon, I noticed the temperature was down to 94 again, then 90, then 88. The hills turned green. I rounded a corner and could see the Pacific Ocean. The temp was 82. By the time I made it home it was back to 74.

I was surprised at the big difference a few miles made.

Sometimes, a small change can impact the way we’re feeling– a lot. Feeling overwhelmed or pressured? Do something else for a while. Give yourself a treat. Sometimes, the smallest change in our routine can do wonders to change the temperature in our lives.

God, help me see any changes I can make that will have a positive effect on my energy and on the way I feel.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
July 17, 2014

I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
—Walt Whitman

How foreign the thought is to many men that we might make progress by loafing. Yet we probably have experienced it. We have felt more in tune with ourselves after taking a break. After an especially relaxing weekend we feel more alive or clearer about ourselves. At those times we have invited our soul and have been rejuvenated.

Centuries of spiritual practice from different ideologies have taught the need for quiet relaxation in some form to invite the soul. Some have practiced a Sabbath day each week, others a time of prayer every day – even several times a day – others have practiced a daily period of deep meditation. Simply a period of loafing, with no particular goal in mind, may invite conscious contact with our Higher Power.

I pray for the ability to set aside my busy pace of life, my worrying and fretting, my “take charge” attitude for a period of time today.

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Daily TAO
July 17, 2014
Conservation

Don’t let a thread fall without noticing it.
Don’t rake dry brown leaves carelessly.
Think how difficult it was
For something to take this existence.

Frugality is lauded in almost every culture. Nearly all of us have been taught to conserve and save. Those who do not waste and yet do not become misers are most admirable.

We can be aware of conservation everyday. We should think whether what we discard can be reused or recycled. We should consider whether our expenditures are really necessary. We should be aware if we are wasting our time and efforts on frivolous activities. We should not abuse our environment with garbage, pollutants, and recreational activities.

Conservation is impossible without a sound understanding of the wholeness of cycles. Unless we remember how precious something is, how much effort it took for it to come into being, we will not value it. Unless we think about its proper transformation into its next phase – a leaf withering, a flower browning, a lake drying up – we will not know our relation to it. Everything lives or dies in its own time. We too are part of the same cycles, only we have the option of contemplating and acting within that context. To do so with grace and awareness is the essence of one who follows Tao.

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 Food for Thought
July 17, 2014
The Narrow Path

Abstinence is the narrow path that leads out of the swamp of compulsive overeating. If we allow ourselves to deviate from the path, we immediately put ourselves on slippery ground and run the risk of falling into a bog of quicksand.

The longer we maintain firm abstinence, the more sure our steps become as we walk away from the crippling effects of our disease. It is so much easier to stay on the narrow path than to slip off and have to find it again. Without abstinence, we compulsive overeaters are lost.

If abstinence is not the most important thing in our lives, then food becomes our number one priority, and we gradually destroy ourselves.

Guide my steps, I pray, on the narrow path of abstinence.

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DailyZen
July 17, 2014
Students of today can’t get anywhere: what ails you? Lack of faith in yourself is what ails you. If you lack faith in yourself, you’ll keep on tumbling along, bewilderedly following after all kinds of circumstances, be taken by these myriad circumstances through transformation after transformation, and never be yourself.

– Lin-chi Hui-chao

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Faith’s Check Book
July 17, 2014
Valiant for Truth

The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
(Daniel 11:32)

“The Lord is a man of war, Jehovah is his name.” Those who enlist under His banner shall have a Commander who will train them for the conflict and give them both vigor and valor. The times of which Daniel wrote were of the very worst kind, and then it was promised that the people of God would come out in their best colors: they would be strong and stout to confront the powerful adversary.

Oh, that we may know our God: His power, His faithfulness, His immutable love, and so may be ready to risk everything in His behalf. He is One whose character excites our enthusiasm and makes us willing to live and to die for Him. Oh, that we may know our God by familiar fellowship with Him; for then we shall become like Him and shall be prepared to stand up for truth and righteousness. He who comes forth fresh from beholding the face of God will never fear the face of man. If we dwell with Him, we shall catch the heroic spirit, and to us a world of enemies will be but as the drop of a bucket. A countless array of men, or even of devils, will seem as little to us as the nations are to God, and He counts them only as grasshoppers. Oh, to be valiant for truth in this day of falsehood.

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This Morning’s Meditation
July 17, 2014

“Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.”
—1 Thessalonians 1:4.

MANY persons want to know their election before they look to Christ, but they cannot learn it thus, it is only to be discovered by “looking unto Jesus.” If you desire to ascertain your own election;—after the following manner, shall you assure your heart before God. Do you feel yourself to be a lost, guilty sinner? go straightway to the cross of Christ, and tell Jesus so, and tell Him that you have read in the Bible, “Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” Tell Him that He has said, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Look to Jesus and believe on Him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for so surely as thou believest, thou art elect. If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust Him, then you are one of God’s chosen ones; but if you stop and say, “I want to know first whether I am elect,” you ask you know not what. Go to Jesus, be you never so guilty, just as you are. Leave all curious inquiry about election alone. Go straight to Christ and hide in His wounds, and you shall know your election. The assurance of the Holy Spirit shall be given to you, so that you shall be able to say, “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to Him.” Christ was at the everlasting council: He can tell you whether you were chosen or not; but you cannot find it out in any other way. Go and put your trust in Him, and His answer will be—”I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” There will be no doubt about His having chosen you, when you have chosen Him.

“Sons we are through God’s election,
Who in Jesus Christ believe.”

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This Evening’s Meditation
July 17, 2014

“Let not one of them escape.”
—1 Kings 18:40.

WHEN the prophet Elijah had received the answer to his prayer, and the fire from heaven had consumed the sacrifice in the presence of all the people, he called upon the assembled Israelites to take the priests of Baal, and sternly cried, “Let not one of them escape.” He took them all down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. So must it be with our sins—they are all doomed, not one must be preserved. Our darling sin must die. Spare it not for its much crying. Strike, though it be as dear as an Isaac. Strike, for God struck at sin when it was laid upon His own Son. With stern unflinching purpose must you condemn to death that sin which was once the idol of your heart. Do you ask how you are to accomplish this? Jesus will be your power. You have grace to overcome sin given you in the covenant of grace; you have strength to win the victory in the crusade against inward lusts, because Christ Jesus has promised to be with you even unto the end. If you would triumph over darkness, set yourself in the presence of the Sun of Righteousness. There is no place so well adapted for the discovery of sin, and recovery from its power and guilt, as the immediate presence of God. Job never knew how to get rid of sin half so well as he did when his eye of faith rested upon God, and then he abhorred himself, and repented in dust and ashes. The fine gold of the Christian is oft becoming dim. We need the sacred fire to consume the dross. Let us fly to our God, He is a consuming fire; He will not consume our spirit, but our sins. Let the goodness of God excite us to a sacred jealousy, and to a holy revenge against those iniquities which are hateful in His sight. Go forth to battle with Amalek in His strength, and utterly destroy the accursed crew: let not one of them escape.

 

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