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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 5

Just For Today
July 5
Exploring Spiritual Options

“The nature of our belief will determine the manner of our prayers and meditation.”
Basic Text, p.43

How do we pray? For each NA member, this is a deeply personal matter. Many of us find that, over time, we develop a manner of prayer and meditation based on what we learn from others and what we are comfortable with.

Some of us arrive in NA with a closed mind toward a Power greater than ourselves. But when we sit down with our sponsor and discuss our difficulty, looking at the Second Step in depth, we are pleased to find that we can choose any concept of a Higher Power that appeals to us.

Just as our definition of a Power greater than ourselves differs from addict to addict, so does our manner of achieving a “conscious contact” Some attend religious services; some chant; some sit quietly or talk with whatever is out there; some find a spiritual connection by communing with nature. The “right way” to pray and meditate is whatever way helps us improve our conscious contact with our own Higher Power.

Asking others how they found their spiritual guidance is always a good place to begin. Reading literature before we enter periods of meditation can also help us. Many have gone before us on this search. As we seek spiritual growth, we can greatly benefit from their experience.

Just for today: I will explore my options for improving my conscious contact with the God of my understanding.

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Daily Reflections
July 5
A NEW DIRECTION

Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly. . . Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all our activities.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p.45,85

I hear talk of the “weak-willed” alcoholic, but I am one of the strongest-willed people on earth! I now know that my incredible strength of will is not enough to save my life. My problem is not one of “weakness,” but rather of direction. When I, without falsely diminishing myself, accept my honest limitations and turn to God’s guidance, my worst faults become my greatest assets. My strong will, rightly directed, keeps me working until the promises of the program become my daily reality.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
July 5
A.A. Thought For The Day

Until we came into A.A. most of us had tried desperately to stop drinking. We were filled with the delusion that we could drink like our friends. We tried time and again to take it or leave it, but we could do neither. We always lapsed into ceaseless, unhappy drinking. Families, friends, and employers threw up their hands in hurt bewilderment, in despair, and finally in disgust. We wanted to stop. We realized that every reason for drinking was only a crazy excuse. Have I given up every excuse for drinking?

Meditation For The Day

Many things can upset you and you can easily get off the track. But remember that God is near you all the time, ready to help you if you call on Him. You cannot forever stand against God’s will for you, nor can you, forever upset God’s plan for your life, even though Gods plan may be postponed by your willfulness and deliberate choice of evil. A whole world of men and women cannot permanently change God’s laws nor His purpose for the universe. The sea of life may look very rough to us, but we can believe that our Captain steers the boat on a straight course.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may try to steer a straight course. I pray that I may accept God’s direction in my life’s journey.

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As Bill Sees It
July 5
“The Only Requirement. . .”, p. 186

In Tradition Three, A.A. is really saying to every serious drinker, “You are an A.A. member if you say so. You can declare yourself in; nobody can keep you out. No matter how low you’ve gone, no matter how grave your emotional complications–even your crimes–we don’t want to keep you out. We just want to be sure that you get the same chance for sobriety that we’ve had.”

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

We do not wish to deny anyone his chance to recover from alcoholism. We wish to be just as inclusive as we can, never exclusive.

1. 12 & 12, p. 139
2. Grapevine, August 1946

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Walk In Dry Places
July 5
What brings change?
Inventory.

In human affairs, vast changes sometimes take place almost spontaneously, bringing on revolutionary upheavals. What brings about such change?

These visible changes, for good or bad, occur because people come to accept new ideas. It’s easy to see how this works in one person’s life, but it works in the same way with societies.

The 12 Step movement is a most dramatic form of such change. We’ve become effective because we have new forms of thinking to replace the old destructive forms that caused so much harm. Our movement will grow and develop only as long as we retain the new ways of thinking that first brought about this change.

I’ll hold to the idea that my life can only be as good as the thoughts I choose.

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Keep It Simple
July 5

If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average.
—Ovid

Our program speaks of spiritual progress, not perfection. We can take all the time we need. Our bottom line is steady progress. We can ask ourselves, “Am I a little more spiritual than I was a year ago? A month ago?” If the answer is yes, we’re doing great. If the answer is no, we should look at why.

Our illness pushes us to be prefect. In recovery, we learn that we are free to be what we are—human. Even the world’s fastest runners are average in most other areas of their lives.. This is okay. Remember, “spiritual progress, not perfection.”

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I’ll not be ashamed of how average I am. I’ll remember I’m average—and that’s good.

Action for the Day: I’ll list what is average about me. I’ll share this with a friend. Than I’ll ask my friend what is special about me.

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Each Day a New Beginning
July 5

There are really only two ways to approach life–as victim or as gallant fighter-and you must decide if you want to act or react, deal your own cards or play with a stacked deck. And if you don’t decide which way to play with life, it always plays with you.
—Merle Shain

Being the victim is, or was, uncomfortably familiar to many of us. Perhaps some of us are only now realizing we have choices, that we need not let life happen to us. Becoming responsible to ourselves, choosing behavior, beliefs, friends, activities, that please us, though unfamiliar at first, soon exhilarates us. The more choices we make, the more alive we feel. The more alive we feel, the healthier our choices.

Our aim is recovery. Recovering means participating fully in our lives. It means self-assessment and self-direction. It means trusting to move forward, step-by-step, choice-by-choice, knowing all the while that no thoughtful action can trouble us.

Many opportunities to make choices will present themselves today. The choices I make will satisfy me; they will move me toward my goal of recovery.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
July 5
The Vicious Cycle

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

At that time the group in New York was composed of about twelve men who were working on the principle of every drunk for himself; we had no real formula and no name. We would follow one man’s ideas for a while, decide he was wrong, and switch to another’s method. But we were staying sober as long as we kept and talked together. There was one meeting a week at Bill’s home in Brooklyn, and we all took turns there spouting off about how we had changed our lives overnight, how many drunks we had saved and straightened out, and last but not least, how God had touched each of us personally on the shoulder. Boy, what a circle of confused idealists! Yet we all had one really sincere purpose in our hearts, and that was not to drink. At our weekly meeting I was a menace to serenity those first few months, for I took every opportunity to lambaste that “spiritual angle,” as we called it, or anything else that had any tingle of theology. Much later I discovered the elders held many prayer meetings hoping to find a way to give me the heave-ho but at the same time stay tolerant and spiritual. They did not seem to be getting an answer, for here I was staying sober and selling lots of auto polish, on which they were making one thousand percent profit. So I rocked along my merry independent way until June, when I went out selling auto polish in England. After a very good week, two of my customers took me to lunch on Saturday. We ordered sandwiches, and one man said, “Three beers.” I let that sit too. Then it was my turn–I ordered, “Three beers,” but this time it was different; I had a cash investment of thirty cents, and, on a ten-dollar-a-week-salary, that a big thing. So I drank all three beers, one after the other, and said, “I’ll be seeing you, boys,” and went around the corner for a bottle. I never saw either of them again.

pp. 227-228

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
July 5

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.”

There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life. Now and then we may be granted a glimpse of that ultimate reality which is God’s kingdom. And we will be comforted and assured that our own destiny in that realm will be secure for so long as we try, however falteringly, to find and do the will of our own Creator.

p. 98

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Xtra Thoughts
July 5

God, guide me in making my commitments. Give me the courage to make those that are right for me, the wisdom to not commit to that which does not feel right, and the patience to wait until I know.
–Melody Beattie

Gratitude is our most direct line to God and the angels. If we take the time, no matter how crazy and troubled we feel, we can find something to be thankful for. The more we seek gratitude, the more reason the angels will give us for gratitude and joy to exist in our lives.
–Terry Lynn Taylor

Wisdom is using those things that work for you, for as long as they work for you, and letting go of the things that are not working for you.
–John-Roger

“Allow God to speak through you and smile upon the earth through you, because you are an unconditional giver, a purposeful being.”
–Dr. Wayne Dyer

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.
–Ambrose Bierce

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
July 5
FORGIVENESS

“Without forgiveness life is governed by . . . an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.”
–Roberto Assagioli

So much of what I resent in others springs from my unhappiness with self. I hate in others what I know to be in myself: arrogance, pride, narrow-mindedness, snobbery and dishonesty.

Today I am learning that as long as I refuse to forgive others, I am not capable of forgiving myself. Part of my denial is reflected in my attitudes towards others. Those character traits I refuse to forgive in others are buried within myself. I know that without forgiveness there is no freedom — and I wish to grow in freedom.

Today I am learning the difference between forgiveness and acceptance. I can forgive other people without accepting their lifestyle. I can forgive myself and still see the need for change. In my forgiveness is the hope for tomorrow.

Master, You taught that without forgiveness, there can be no pure love. Help me grow in the forgiveness of self and others.

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Bible Scriptures
July 5

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:14-16

Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”
1 Peter 1:21-25

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Daily Inspiration
July 5

If you want those around you calm, you must be calm. Lord, when life becomes frantic, help me focus on solutions and restore the peace that the events of the moment try to destroy.

We are not always what we ought to be or want to be, but through God’s love we are not what we would be without Him. Lord, thank you for raising me to heights in this world that alone I could not reach and for giving me eternal life in the next.

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A Day At A Time
July 5

Reflection For The Day

I am free to be, to do, to accept, to reject.  I am free to be the wise, loving, kind, and patient person I want to be.  I’m free to do that which I consider wise — that which will in no way harm or hinder another person.  I’m free to do that which will lead me into paths of peace and satisfaction.  I’m free to decide for or against, to say no and to say yes.  I’m free to live life in a productive way and to contribute what I have to give to life.  Am I coming to believe that I’m free to be the best self I’m able to be?

Today I Pray

Let the freedom I am now experiencing continue to flow through my life into productiveness, into the conviction of life’s goodness I have always wanted to share.  May I accept this freedom with God’s blessing — and use it wisely.

Today I Will Remember

Let freedom ring true.

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One More Day
July 5

When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another!
–  Helen Keller

When we toss a pebble into a pond, the widening concentric circles continue to spread — the ripple effect — long after the pebble is out of sight.  Often the actions we take have similar results.

We don’t always know what effect our lives and choices will have on other people.  The immediate effects of our daily lives are probably easier to gauge, but often we don’t see the long-term effect we have on others.  And that really doesn’t matter because all we are urged to do is to let kindness and responsibility rule our decisions.  The immediate effect we see is the sense of growth within ourselves;  the long-term effect we can trust to be miracle that we may never see.

I’ll remember that my actions affect many people beyond me.

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One Day At A Time
July 5
OVERCOMING RELAPSE

“Come, whoever you are! Wanderer, worshiper, Lover of Leaving. Come, this is not a caravan of despair.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve broken your vow a thousand times.  Still, and yet again, come, come.”
–Rumi

Perhaps the best thing my recovery plan has given me is finding the gift of inspiration almost anywhere. The above quote is such an example. Mevlana Jelalu’ddin Rumi was a Persian poet and theologian who lived from 1207 to 1273. Rumi also seemed to understand recovery quite well, judging from this quote.

I have fallen so many times on my recovery path. Once down, the disease really starts talking to me. “You’re already down; you may as well stay down,” it will say. Or, “You screwed up your food plan, so you might as well eat this, too.” On and on, it never fails.

That’s why this quote from Rumi means so much to me. My Higher Power sent it as an invitation to begin again, however many times I need. Even if I slip over and over and over, I can always begin again. My Higher Power and this program of recovery are very forgiving, and I can pick up and move on. I needn’t fear failure, because I only fail if I don’t get up and forge ahead.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will remember that I may fall, but I can get up again. I can begin anew, and know that I will overcome relapse when I make a fresh start.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – July 5

“It does not require many words to speak the truth.”
–Chief Joseph, NEZ PERCE

The truth shall set you free. This is the truth. When we speak the Truth, we do not need to be defensive. Truth needs no defense.  When we speak the Truth, we do not need to attack because
Truth cannot be attacked.

It is so easy to want to manipulate or to be deceitful or dishonest.  My head tells me I can get away with doing these things, after all everybody does it.

My Creator, today let me know Truth. Let me live Truth. Let me risk the Truth. Let me make the Truth sweet. Help me to make my word good. Let Your spirit and intent be added to by words. Let My thoughts be Truth.

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Journey To The Heart
July 5
Become Excited About Life

I woke up one morning and found myself in a strange place. Instead of waking up to pain, I felt a new feeling coursing through my veins. I felt happy, at peace, and excited about being alive. This feeling had come around before, but never to stay or last. Now I knew that it was mine for good. It was where this journey had led.

Let excitement course through you. It is vitality; it is healing, life-giving energy. It is the life force. Feel it course through your veins. This excitement you are feeling is different from the pain of years past. It is a different feeling, but your birthright, my birthright, the birthright of us all. It is your reward for staying committed to your process of learning and growing.

Continue to clear out old, negative feelings and outdated beliefs. Stay committed to healing and discovering your soul, even when you wonder if it’s worth it. Even when you wonder where your path is going, or if it’s going anywhere. Love yourself. Love others. Then love yourself some more. Love yourself until you feel the life force, this exciting new energy, course through you.

Stay committed to your growth process until you wake up one morning and ask yourself, What is that strange thing I’m feeling? Then know what the answer is. The answer is joy.

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Today’s Gift
July 5

In uplifting, get underneath.
—George Ade

A sandpile in the summer is deceiving. The topmost sand burns hot on our feet. But as we push down toward the center, we come to a damp, cool place that soothes and oozes between our toes.

The nature of most things is not revealed at the surface. Like the sandpile, many people and situations we encounter are, on the surface, downright uncomfortable. The reward is in digging deeper-to the essential goodness, the core or meaning, the true friend. It takes time, a little knowledge, and abundant trust that we will not be burned.

What have I discovered by digging a little lately?

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The Language of Letting Go
July 5
Survivor Guilt

We begin recovering. We begin taking care of ourselves. Our recovery program starts to work in our life, and we begin to feel good about ourselves.

Then it hits. Guilt.

Whenever we begin to experience the fullness and joy of life, we may feel guilty about those we’ve left behind – those not recovering, those still in pain. This survivor guilt is a symptom of codependency.

We may think about the husband we’ve divorced who is still drinking. We may dwell on a child, grown or adult, still in pain. We may get a phone call from a non-recovering parent who relates his or her misery to us. And we feel pulled into their pain.

How can we feel so happy, so good, when those we love are still in misery? Can we really break away and lead satisfying lives, despite their circumstances? Yes, we can.

And yes, it hurts to leave behind those we love. But keep moving forward anyway. Be patient. Other people’s recovery is not our job. We cannot make them recover. We cannot make them happy.

We may ask why we were chosen for a fuller life. We may never know the answer. Some may catch up in their own time, but their recovery is not our business. The only recovery we can truly claim is our own.

We can let go of others with love, and love ourselves without guilt.

Today, I am willing to work through my sadness and guilt. I will let myself be healthy and happy, even though someone I love has not chosen the same path.

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More Language Of Letting Go
July 5
Balance

In Western medicine, the practice has long been the correction of problems. We have a pain; the doctor identifies its source and treats it. The Eastern approach is different. Many of the Eastern medicines operate from the idea that a healthy body is one that is in balance. When we are sick, it is due to an imbalance in our bodies. The practitioner then seeks to identify the imbalance and restore the body to balance.

Instead of just treating the symptoms of pathos, Eastern medicines seek to maintain balance as a way of life.

That’s a good way to approach taking care of our souls.

Perhaps your heart has been injured through the carelessness of another, or maybe your mind is troubled by distressing, uncomfortable, and sometimes wrong thoughts. When we seek to restore balance, our hearts and our souls will heal.

Be aware of the imbalance in the thoughts in your mind and the emotions disturbing your peace. Then listen to your spirit. Let it tell you in its still quiet way what it needs to regain balance. Maybe you need some time alone, time in meditation or prayer, a quiet walk, a day at the zoo, or some sleep.

Give your body and soul what you need to regain balance, and then healing can begin. Learn to lovingly listen to and take care of yourself.

Maintain balance as a way of life.

God, help me listen to my spirit so I can restore myself to balance each day.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
July 5

We shall describe conditions of the soul that words can only hint at. We shall have to use logic to try to corner perspectives that laugh at our attempt.
—Huston Smith

As we live the spiritual life, we find words and logic are only capable of pointing in the direction of some truths. Words do not contain the entire truth our experience may be teaching us. This is like the difference between hearing about fishing versus actually being on the water, smelling the misty air, and feeling the fish tug on our line.

Spiritual development is a form of education. We are developing the part of us that learns by experience, that has a feeling without exactly knowing why, that understands stories better than statistics. Gradually, we accept more experiences in our lives as mysteries, as not fitting into any specific categories. Many experiences will have more meaning than cold facts could ever express. As this side of us develops, we don’t discard reason and judgment; we become deeper human beings.

Today, I will give my intuition more freedom. That will help my spiritual self grow.

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Daily TAO
July 5
Point

Make the mind
A single point.

The key to any meditation is to concentrate the mind into a single point. There are many methods of doing this, from singing, to listening to holy words, to contemplative procedures. But the end result is the same: to sharply focus the mind.

A point has a definite position in space but neither size nor shape.

A point marks an actual place in time, such as a point of departure.

A point is the very essence of something, as in the point of an idea.

A point is a coordinate for navigation.

A point is the dominant center, as in the principal point of perspective.

A point determines our outlook, as in point of view.

Once the mind is made into a single point, it takes on the above attributes. In contrast, a mind that is not focused is dispersed over a wide area. Its thoughts are scattered, its energies are in disarray, and it cannot move clearly in any direction. It is at the mercy of a thousand influences and is easily disoriented. The result is confusion, ignorance, unhappiness, and helplessness. A mind that is clearly focused, however, receives all things and can abide in utter tranquility. It is no exaggeration to say that its world revolves around it.. It no longer has to chase after all that appears before it.

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Food for Thought
July 5
Ignore the Craving

Old habits die hard, and for a long time we may experience our old craving for that “small,” compulsive bite. The craving will not hurt us, and eventually it will pass if we ignore it. If we give in to the craving, it does not go away but becomes stronger. To feed the craving is to pour gasoline on a fire.

When we experience the craving for unnecessary food, we need to find something else to occupy our attention. If possible, we should physically remove ourselves from the tempting situation. If that is impossible, we need to ask our Higher Power for the strength to remain abstinent and to ignore the demands of our over blown appetite. God never allows us to be tempted beyond our ability to endure. He is always here to support us when we turn and ask for help.

May I listen to You and ignore harmful cravings.

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DailyZen
July 5

The One Hundred Dharmas of the School of Characters teaches precisely the doctrine that the ten thousand dharmas are mere consciousness. The alaya consciousness is composed of immutable and mutable seeds, because it consists of the aspects of enlightenment and non-enlightenment.

The aspect of enlightenment is the bhutathatata of the One Mind, the primary cause for all sentient beings to realize the Buddha-nature.

The aspect of non-enlightenment is the primal ignorance. Because of the defilement of the One Mind consciousness is formed.

– Han-Shan Te-Ch’ing(1546-1623)

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Faith’s Check Book
July 5
Complete Deliverance

But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the Lord; and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid.
(Jeremiah 39:17)

When the Lord’s faithful ones are suffering for Him, they shall have sweet messages of love from Himself, and sometimes they shall have glad tidings for those who sympathize with them and help them. Ebed-melech was only a despised Ethiopian, but he was kind to Jeremiah, and so the Lord sent him this special promise by the mouth of His prophet. Let us be ever mindful of God’s persecuted servants, and He will reward us.

Ebed-melech was to be delivered from the men whose vengeance he feared. He was a humble… man, but Jehovah would take care of him. Thousands were slain by the Chaldeans, but [he] could not be hurt. We, too, may be fearful of some great ones who are bitter against us; but if we have been faithful to the Lord’s cause in the hour of persecution, He will be faithful to us. After all, what can a man do without the Lord’s permission? He puts a bit into the mouth of rage and a bridle upon the head of power. Let us fear the Lord, and we shall have no one else to fear. No cup of cold water given to a despised prophet of God shall be without its reward; and if we stand up for Jesus, Jesus will stand up for us.

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This Morning’s Meditation
July 5

“Called to be saints.”
—Romans 1:7.

WE are very apt to regard the apostolic saints as if they were “saints” in a more especial manner than the other children of God. All are “saints” whom God has called by His grace, and sanctified by His Spirit; but we are apt to look upon the apostles as extraordinary beings, scarcely subject to the same weaknesses and temptations as ourselves. Yet in so doing we are forgetful of this truth, that the nearer a man lives to God the more intensely has he to mourn over his own evil heart; and the more his Master honours him in His service, the more also doth the evil of the flesh vex and tease him day by day. The fact is, if we had seen the apostle Paul, we should have thought him remarkably like the rest of the chosen family: and if we had talked with him, we should have said, “We find that his experience and ours are much the same. He is more faithful, more holy, and more deeply taught than we are, but he has the selfsame trials to endure. Nay, in some respects he is more sorely tried than ourselves.” Do not, then, look upon the ancient saints as being exempt either from infirmities or sins; and do not regard them with that mystic reverence which will almost make us idolators. Their holiness is attainable even by us. We are “called to be saints” by that same voice which constrained them to their high vocation. It is a Christian’s duty to force his way into the inner circle of saintship; and if these saints were superior to us in their attainments, as they certainly were, let us follow them; let us emulate their ardour and holiness. We have the same light that they had, the same grace is accessible to us, and why should we rest satisfied until we have equalled them in heavenly character? They lived with Jesus, they lived for Jesus, therefore they grew like Jesus. Let us live by the same Spirit as they did, “looking unto Jesus,” and our saintship will soon be apparent.

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