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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – July 19

Just For Today
July 19
Fulfilling Our Dreams

“Dreams that we gave up long ago can now become realities.”
Basic Text, p. 68

All things begin with a dream. But how many of us fulfilled our dreams while using? Even if we managed to complete something we had started, our addiction usually robbed us of any pride in our accomplishment. Perhaps when we used, we dreamed of the day when we would be clean. That day has come. We can use this day to make our dreams come true. To fulfill our dreams we must take action, but our lack of self confidence may keep us from trying. We can begin by setting realistic goals.

The success we experience when we attain our initial goals allows us to dream bigger dreams the next time around.Some of our members share that when they compare the ambitions they had when they first got clean with what they have actually achieved in recovery, they are astounded. In recovery, we often find more dreams come true than we could ever have imagined.

Just for today: I will remember that all things begin with a dream. Today, I will allow myself to make my dreams come true.

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Daily Reflections
July 19
FALSE PRIDE, p.209

Many of us who had thought ourselves religious awoke to the limitations of this attitude. Refusing to place God first, we had deprived ourselves of His help.
12 & 12, p. 75

Many false notions operate in false pride. The need for direction to live a decent life is satisfied by the hope experienced in the A.A. Fellowship. Those who have walked the way for years–a day at a time–say that a God centered life has limitless possibilities for personal growth. This being so, much hope is transmitted by the elder A.A.s.

I thank my Higher Power for letting me know that He works through other people, and I thank Him for our trusted servants in the Fellowship who aid new members to reject their false ideals and to adopt those which lead to a life of compassion and trust. The elders in A.A. challenge the newcomers to “Come To”–so that they can “Come to Believe.” I ask my Higher Power to help my unbelief.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
July 19
A.A. Thought For The Day

Gossip about or criticism of personalities has no place in an A.A. clubroom. Every man in A.A. is a brother and every woman is a sister, as long as he or she is a member of A.A. We ought not to gossip about the relationships of any man or woman in the group. And if we say about another member, “I think she or he is taking a few drinks on the side,” it’s the worst thing we could do to that person. If a woman or a man is not living up to A.A. principles or has a slip, it’s up to her or him to stand up in a meeting and say so. If they don’t do that, they are only hurting themselves. Do I talk about other members behind their backs?

Meditation for the Day

To God, a miracle of change in a person’s life is only a natural happening. But it is a natural happening operated by spiritual forces.  There is no miracle in personalities too marvelous to be an everyday happening. But miracles happen only to those who are fully guided and strengthened by God. Marvelous changes in people’s nature happen so simply, and yet they are free from all other agencies than the grace of God. But these miracles have been prepared for by days and months of longing for something better. They are always accompanied by a real desire to conquer self and to surrender one’s life to God.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may expect miracles in the lives of people. I pray that I may be used to help people change.

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As Bill Sees It
July 19
Source of Strength, p. 200

When World War II broke out, our A.A. dependence on a Higher Power had its first major test. A.A.’s entered the services and were scattered all over the world.

Would they be able to take discipline, stand up under fire, and endure the monotony and misery of war? Would the kind of dependence they had learned in A.A. carry them through?

Well, it did. They had even fewer alcoholic lapses or emotional binges than A.A.’s safe at home did. They were just as capable of endurance and valor as any other soldiers. Whether in Alaska or on the Salerno beachhead, their dependence upon a Higher Power worked.

Far from being a weakness, this dependence was their chief source of strength.

12 & 12, pp. 38-39

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Walk In Dry Places
July 19
Hurrying up to wait?
Practicing Serenity.

We often urge ourselves to hurry up when there’s no good reason for it. At such times, all we really do is create needless tension and anxiety.

The slogan “EASY DOES IT” is our answer to such calls to hurry. The slogan suggests that we simply move into the rhythms of life and “go with the flow.”

It’s not hurrying but steady effort that finally brings achievement. We’ve had entirely too much hurry and impatience. What we really need is confident, persistent effort in the right direction. We should be especially reminded of hits when we see anxious, impatient people speeding through traffic only to be forced to wait at traffic lights, risking life and limb to save a few seconds. A good seady pace is what we need, and it will win the game.

I”ll be active today, but not overactive. I’ll look for rhythm and efficiency in everything I do.

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Keep It Simple
July 19

We grow small trying to be great.
–  Unknown

We dreamed of being great. Trying to be great is about control. We’ve caused a lot of trouble trying to control things. We’ve been afraid to just let things happen, We’re not very trusting. Many of us have good reasons not to trust. Whatever the reasons, we had put our trust in getting drunk or high. We thought that was one thing we could control. What really happened? We got sick.

Recovery is based on trust. We must learn to trust that it’s best for us to give up control. It will seem strange at first. But letting go and trusting can become a way of life. The Steps, our groups, our sponsor, and our Higher Power—here, we find love and caring. We can trust them.

Prayer for the Day: I pray that day by day, I’ll put more trust in my program and in my Higher Power.

Action for the Day: I’ll list five reasons why I can trust my Twelve Step program.

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Each Day a New Beginning
July 19

At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.
—Maya Angelou

We had to surrender to a power greater than ourselves to get to where we are today. And each day, we have to turn to that power for strength and guidance. For us, resistance means struggle – struggle with others as well as an internal struggle.

Serenity isn’t compatible with struggle. We cannot control forces outside of ourselves. We cannot control the actions of our family or our co-workers. We can control our responses to them. And when we choose to surrender our attempts to control, we will find peace and serenity.

That which we abhor, that which we fear, that which we wish to conquer seems suddenly to be gone when we decide to resist no more – to tackle it no more.

The realities of life come to us in mysterious ways. We fight so hard, only to learn that what we need will never be ours until the struggle is forsaken. Surrender brings enlightenment.

Life’s lessons are simple once I give up the struggle.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
July 19
Jim’s Story

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

I don’t think I suffered too much as far as the racial situation was concerned because I was born into it and knew nothing other than that. A man wasn’t actually mistreated, though if he was, he could only resent it. He could do nothing about it. On the other hand, I got quite a different picture farther south. Economin conditions had a great deal to do with it, because I’ve often heard my father say that his mother would take one of the old-time flour sacks and cut a hole through the bottom and two corners of it and there you’d have a gown. Of course, when Father finally came to Virginia to work his was through school, he resented the southern “cracker,” as he often called them, so much that he didn’t even go back to his mother’s funeral. He said he never wanted to set foot in the Deep South again, and he didn’t.
pp. 234-235

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
July 19

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.”

All this should be very encouraging news for those who recoil from prayer because they don’t believe in it, or because they feel themselves cut off from God’s help and direction. All of us, without exception, pass through times when we can pray only with the greatest exertion of will. Occasionally we go even further than this. We are seized with a rebellion so sickening that we simply won’t pray. When these things happen we should not think too ill of ourselves. We should simply resume prayer as soon as we can, doing what we know to be good for us.

p. 105

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Xtra Thoughts
July 19

All things are difficult before they are easy.
–Italian Proverb

“If you are afraid of your future, you don’t have a present.”
–James Petersen

How joyful to look upon the Awakened and to keep company with the wise. Follow then the shining ones, the wise, the awakened, the loving, for they know how to work and forbear. But if you cannot find friend or master to go with you, travel on alone ~ like a king who has given away his kingdom, like an elephant in the forest.
–Buddha, from the Dhammapada (Sayings of the Buddha)

When you get in a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
–Harriet Beecher Stowe

It is never too late to start doing what is right!
–Growing Deep In The Christian Life, p.380

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
July 19
YOUTH

“We are none of us infallible — not even the youngest of us.”
–W. H. Thompson

When I was a young man I did not want to listen to older people because I felt that they did not understand me. With hindsight I see that I did not want to hear what they were saying about my lifestyle.

Today now that I am a “mature man” with a few years of sobriety, I must avoid having the same attitude towards the young, not listening to them because I think they are “too young” or do not understand! I must not repeat, in reverse, yesterday’s mistakes!

None of us are infallible. We are not God. We can learn from each other if we have the patience to listen. Sometimes we need to seek the meaning behind the words.

God, teach me to listen with the ear of understanding and patience.

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Bible Scriptures
July 19

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:26

“Sunshine is sweet; it is good to see the light of day. People ought to enjoy every day of their lives, no matter how long they live…”
Ecclesiastes 11:7-8

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Joel 2:32

Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 6:35

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Daily Inspiration
July 19

Never look back with regret because life is never perfect, but it offers us the perfect moment to start anew which is right now. Lord, help me to live with enthusiasm and recognize that each new day is an adventure.

Live as a responsible adult, but approach God as a child, full of faith and trust. You cannot help but perfect one by the other. Lord, You are my Father. Who else will so lovingly listen to me and care for my desires?

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A Day At A Time
July 19

Reflection For The Day

Many of us come to The Program professing that we’re agnostic or atheistic.  As someone once put it, our will to disbelieve is so strong that we prefer a date with the undertaker to an experimental and open-minded search for a Higher Power.  Fortunately for those of us with closed minds, the constructive forces in The Program almost always overcome our obstinacy.  Before long, we discover the bountiful world of faith and trust.  It was there all along, but we lacked the willingness and open-mindedness to accept it.  Does obstinacy still sometimes blind me to the power for good that resides in faith?

Today I Pray

I want to thank God for this opportunity to open my mind;  to learn again about faith and trust;  to realize that my wanderings did not change His place within me or His loving concern for me.  May I know that it was my own doing that I lost faith.  Thank God for another chance to believe.

Today I Will Remember

Discard the will to disbelieve.

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One More Day
July 19

Our faith comes in moments;  our vice is habitual.
–  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some habits are not good for us, yet we can fall into them so easily.  “Just one more drink,”  we rationalize, “It won’t hurt me.  I don’t have to go to work tomorrow,”  “Just a small piece of cake, I’ll start my diet tomorrow,”  We may not realize that we are acting in a pattern.  Being human, we continue in this way until something happens which forces us to change our patterns and ourselves.

Whatever that something is, it may prompt many actions, one of which may be to turn to our faith for solace.  many things in our lives are uncertain.  There is uncertainty as to how our day will be.  It is our faith that keeps us going regardless of any setbacks.  The moments of darkness we all fall into can be overcome by faith.

I can believe and trust in my Higher Power no matter what is happening in my life now.

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One Day At A Time
July 19
HONORING MYSELF

“And how shall you punish those whose remorse is already greater than their misdeeds?”
–Kahlil Gibran

We are not bad people trying to become good; rather, we are sick people trying to get well. It takes a long time for some of us to believe this truth. We have been programmed to believe the worst about ourselves … or ironically, to believe ourselves to be much better than others. This appears to be a common denominator in our disease.

We despise the person we perceive ourselves to be. Virtually every event in our lives drives us deeper into the abyss of remorse, self-abuse, self-hate, and self-serving. We must stop believing lies about ourselves. The fact that we are here on Earth is proof that we belong and that we have the right — even the obligation — to be what we can be.

One day at a time…
I will honor and respect myself.

~ Jeremiah

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – July 19

“We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that He never forgets, that hereafter He will give every man a spirit-home according to his deserts: If he has been a good man, he will have a good home; if he has been a bad man, he will have a bad home.”
–Chief Joseph, NEZ PERCE

I cannot hide my true spirit and intent from the Creator. He created a system of justice. This system of justice says we will get back whatever we plant. If I plant good then good returns – if we plant bad, then we will suffer the consequences. Whatever we think about another person, the same things are thought about us. Whatever we send out is sent back. Man cannot alter this system of justice. It doesn’t matter what we say or do. What really matters is what we really, really did.

Oh Great Spirit, guide me today to do good, to have good thoughts. Let me remember the things I do are to honor Your way of life.

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Journey To The Heart
July 19
The Lessons Are Love

Lessons of love, that’s what they are.

We usually don’t know what the lesson is while we’re learning it. Maybe we’re not supposed to. Besides, if we knew it, really knew it, we wouldn’t need to learn it. We’d already be practicing it in our daily lives. But even when we don’t know what the lesson is, we can know one thing, it’s a lesson of love.

Courage. Faith. Patience. Loving ourselves when it looks and feels like nobody else cares. Starting over again one more time, when we think we’ve already started over again more times than we should have had to. Forgiveness. Compassion. Gentleness. Joy. Each one is a lesson of love.

For many of us, the problem isn’t that we haven’t had love in our lives before. The issue is that we haven’t understood love. Know this: not only are the lessons about love, the lessons themselves are love.

Feel your feelings. Struggle through your situations and experiences and emotions. The struggle to learn isn’t incidental to your purpose. It’s an integral part of your purpose, your destiny, your reason for being. Go through your moments of darkness and confusion,and trust that light will come. Through it all, rest in one thought: you’re on track. You’re on your path.

You’re connected to love. You’re connected to God. And the lessons you’re learning are lessons of love.

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Today’s Gift
July 19

Trust takes time. If you don’t invest it, then you don’t get it.
—Anonymous

Trusting other human beings is like planting a garden. First we must choose where to plant – is the soil healthy, is it open to sunlight? We would not plant seeds on rocks that are hard and un-giving. In the same way, we need to choose friends who are trustworthy, who are like rich soil open to planting and sunlight.

Then we need to plant the seeds of time and care. If we share some of our feelings and are welcomed, we will know it is safe to share more. We can share ourselves in our own time – even a garden grows slowly, and can take only so much sun and rain in one day.

Having trust in someone feeds the spirit. Trust also gives us the courage to be beautiful, like the flowers of our gardens.

Am I brave enough to trust others and to be worthy of their trust?

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The Language of Letting Go
July 19
Proving It to Ourselves

I spent a year trying to prove to my husband how much his drinking was hurting me. When I began to recover, I realized I was the one who needed to realize how much his drinking was hurting me.
—Anonymous

I spent months trying to prove to a man I was dating how responsible and healthy I was. Then I realized what I was doing. He didn’t need to realize how responsible and healthy I was. I did.
—Anonymous

Trying to prove how good we are, trying to prove we’re good enough, trying to show someone how much he or she has hurt us, trying to show someone we’re understanding, are warning signs that we may be into our self defeating behaviors.

They can be an indication that we are trying to control someone. They can be an indication that we do not believe how good we are, that we’re good enough, that someone is hurting us.

They can be a warning that we’ve allowed ourselves to get hooked into a dysfunctional system. They may indicate that we’re stuck in the cloudy fog of denial or doing something that is not good for us.

Trying excessively to make a point with another may mean that we have not yet made that point with ourselves. Once we make that point with ourselves, once we understand, we will know what to do.

The issue is not about others understanding and taking us seriously. The issue is not about others believing we’re good and good enough. The issue is not about others seeing and believing how responsible or loving or competent we are. The issue is not about whether others realize how deeply we are feeling a particular feeling. We are the ones that need to see the light.

Today, God, help me let go of my need to control outcomes by influencing the beliefs of others. I will concentrate on accepting myself, rather than trying to prove something about myself. If I catch myself in the codependent trap of trying to emphasize something about myself to another, I will ask myself if I need to convince myself at that point.

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More Language Of Letting Go
July 19
Watch your “never’s”

Be careful what you say you’ll never do again. You might be building a wall between you and the good in your life.

He hurt me, so I’m never going to speak to him again. She hurt me, so I’m never going to get involved with women again.

Sometimes, our hurt feelings can be accurate and reliable warnings that we need to back off and stay away. But usually when we say never, it’s because we don’t want to be vulnerable and feel the hurt that came our way.

Saying never may be an indication that we’ve closed our hearts.

Have you built a wall with your “never’s”? Look. Peek underneath. Is there a feeling of hurt you need to feel, instead?

You got burned when you touched the hot stove, so you’re never going to go near a stove again? You’ll miss out on some tasty meals.

God, help me be vulnerable enough to feel my pein and learn my lesson, instead of saying never and building a big wall.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
July 19

They have rights who dare defend them.
—Roger Baldwin

There is a hard side to emotional health and manhood. As we grow, we gain many more sides, more ways of responding to the situations we meet. We learn that yielding to God sometimes means letting our full strength flow to defend our rights and ward off intrusion or disrespect. As we have become more loving and tolerant, we have become more assertive for our rights and those of others.

We must speak up for ourselves and for our points of view. We must not let others demean us or put us down, nor can we take on blame for others’ life problems. When we ought to stand up for ourselves and don’t, we may be invaded by a false feeling that we are crazy or bad. As recovering men, we sometimes must call on our hard side and say, “No! I will not be a doormat for the harmful actions of others. I will defend my rights.”

I will cultivate my relationship with my Higher Power and let that lead me to stand up for myself.

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Daily TAO
July 19
Choosing

      One side of a ridge is cold and foggy,
      The other side is hot and dry.
      Just by choosing where you stand,
      You alter your destiny.

Those who follow Tao talk of destiny. They define destiny as the course or pattern of your life as it spontaneously takes shape. They do not think of destiny as a preordained set of circumstances. There is no rigid script for this mad stage we are on.

Those who follow Tao then talk of location. By this, they mean something as literal as where you situate your house or where you stand politically. They think these factors are very important. Let us imagine for a moment you had a job offer in another city far from where you were born. You move there with your family. Do you think your life would change? We can refine this perception: If you went to a certain school, you would be educated differently. If you went into a different profession, it would change your outlook. If you lived in one neighborhood or another, you would be a different person. Every choice you make changes you.

No matter how minor or how great, you must make choices each and every minute that passes. The irony of life is that it is a one-way journey. You cannot go back, you cannot make comparisons by trying one way and then another. There are no double-blind studies when it comes to your own life. Therefore, only wisdom will suffice to guide you.

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In God’s Care
July 19

We are what we are.
~~Motto of Lake Wobegon, Garrison Keillor

Sometimes we devote so much effort to being what we are not, that we lose the chance to be what we are. We have one identity for this person and another for that one. Our co-workers, neighbors, friends, family – all expect different things of us, leaving us wondering who we actually are. How can we be so many different things to so many people?

God wants us to be only who we are, We were created with unique characteristics for a purpose, even if that purpose isn’t always clear to us. We need to be who we really are, and to be the best we can be, knowing that God approves because God created us as we are.

    I will be the best me that I know how to be.

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Day By Day
July 19
    Taking just one

It’s that first fix, pill, or drink that gets us high. It’s not the second or third or fourth one, or the second day or the second week of using that gets us into trouble. It is the first one. And until we understand this concept, we will keep trying-without success-to gain control over our drug use.

For us, control no longer exists. And it never will. When we start thinking, Well, just one won’t hurt me, we are on our way back to that same pain and discouragement of a drug-filled life.

Do I believe that even one is too many?

    Higher Power, please help me remember that I can never regain control over my drug use.

    I will avoid taking that first drink or drug today by…

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Food for Thought
July 19
Right Makes Might

When we are working our program properly, we have an inner sense of rightness that makes us strong and self-confident. We are controlling food, rather than being controlled by it. We are willing to let our Higher Power straighten out our confused lives.

Action is necessary. We need to “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk.” No amount of insight will give us progress unless we are willing to take the concrete steps outlined in the OA program. We need to work closely with qualified sponsors who can guide us in our abstinence and in our program.

Compulsive overeating made us weak physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As we abstain, we gain strength on all three levels.

Thank You for the strength that comes from doing the right thing.

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DailyZen
July 19

The mind of the sage is
Empty and calm,
Profoundly calm,
Dealing with the world
Harmoniously
Like bellows taking in air,
Like pipes containing music.

– Chen Ting- Van

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Faith’s Check Book
July 19
Heavy-Duty Shoes

Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
(Deuteronomy 33:25)

Here are two things provided for the pilgrim: shoes and strength.

As for the shoes: they are very needful for traveling along rough ways and for trampling upon deadly foes. We shall not go barefoot—this would not be suitable for princes of the blood royal. Our shoes shall not be at all of the common sort, for they shall have soles of durable metal, which will not wear out even if the journey be long and difficult. We shall have protection proportionate to the necessities of the road and the battle. Wherefore let us march boldly on, fearing no harm even though we tread on serpents or set our foot upon the dragon himself.

As for the strength: it shall be continued as long as our days shall continue, and it shall be proportioned to the stress and burden of those days. The words are few, “as thy days thy strength,” but the meaning is full. This day we may look for trial, and for work which will require energy, but we may just as confidently look for equal strength. This word given to Asher is given to us also who have faith wherewith to appropriate it. Let us rise to the holy boldness which it is calculated to create within the believing heart.

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This Morning’s Meditation
July 19

“The Lord our God hath shewed us His glory.”
—Deuteronomy 5:24.

GOD’S great design in all His works is the manifestation of His own glory. Any aim less than this were unworthy of Himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man’s eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honour, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why He bringeth His people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when He comes forth to work their deliverance. He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God. They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who “do business in great waters,” these see His “wonders in the deep.” Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man. Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God’s greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as He did His servant Moses, that you might behold His glory as it passed by. Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been capacitated for the outshinings of His glory in His wonderful dealings with you.

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This Evening’s Meditation
July 19

“A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench.”
—Matthew 12:20.

WHAT is weaker than the bruised reed or the smoking flax? A reed that groweth in the fen or marsh, let but the wild duck light upon it, and it snaps; let but the foot of man brush against it, and it is bruised and broken; every wind that flits across the river moves it to and fro. You can conceive of nothing more frail or brittle, or whose existence is more in jeopardy, than a bruised reed. Then look at the smoking flax—what is it? It has a spark within it, it is true, but it is almost smothered; an infant’s breath might blow it out; nothing has a more precarious existence than its flame. Weak things are here described, yet Jesus says of them, “The smoking flax I will not quench; the bruised reed I will not break.” Some of God’s children are made strong to do mighty works for Him; God has His Samsons here and there who can pull up Gaza’s gates, and carry them to the top of the hill; He has a few mighties who are lion-like men, but the majority of His people are a timid, trembling race. They are like starlings, frightened at every passer by; a little fearful flock. If temptation comes, they are taken like birds in a snare; if trial threatens, they are ready to faint; their frail skiff is tossed up and down by every wave, they are drifted along like a sea bird on the crest of the billows—weak things, without strength, without wisdom, without foresight. Yet, weak as they are, and because they are so weak, they have this promise made specially to them. Herein is grace and graciousness! Herein is love and lovingkindness! How it opens to us the compassion of Jesus—so gentle, tender, considerate! We need never shrink back from His touch. We need never fear a harsh word from Him; though He might well chide us for our weakness, He rebuketh not. Bruised reeds shall have no blows from Him, and the smoking flax no damping frowns.

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