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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – July 8, 2014

Just For Today
July 8, 2014
The “G” Word

“It is important for you to know that you will hear God mentioned at NA meetings. What we are referring to is a Power greater than ourselves that makes possible what seems impossible.”
IP No.22, “Welcome to NA”

Most of us come to Narcotics Anonymous with a variety of preconceptions about what the word “God” means, many of them negative. Yet the “G” word is used very regularly in NA, if not constantly. It occurs 92 times in the first 103 pages of our Basic Text, and appears prominently in a third of our Twelve Steps. Rather than sidestep the sensitivity many of us feel toward the word, let’s address it head on.

It’s true that Narcotics Anonymous is a spiritual program. Our Twelve Steps offer a way to find freedom from addiction through the help of a spiritual Power greater than we are. The program, however; doesn’t tell us anything about what we have to think about that Power. In fact, over and over again, in our literature and our steps and our meetings, we hear it said, “the God of our understanding” – whatever that understanding may be.

We use the word “God” because it’s used in our Basic Text and because it communicates most effectively to most people a basic understanding of the Power underlying our recovery. The word, we use for the sake of convenience. The Power behind the word, however, we use for more than convenience. We use that Power to maintain our freedom from addiction and to ensure our ongoing recovery.

Just for today: Whether I believe in “God” or not, I will use the Power that keeps me clean and free.

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Daily Reflections
July 8, 2014
AN EVER-GROWING FREEDOM, p.198

The Seventh Step is where we make the change in our attitude which permits us, with humility as our guide, to move out from ourselves toward others and toward God.
12 & 12, p.76

When I finally asked God to remove those things blocking me from Him and the sunlight of the Spirit, I embarked on a journey more glorious than I ever imagined. I experienced freedom from those characteristics that had me wrapped up in myself. Because of this  humbling Step, I feel clean. I am especially aware of this Step because I’m now able to be useful to God and to my fellows. I know that He has granted me strength to do His bidding and has prepared me for anyone, and anything, that comes my way today. I am truly in His hands, and I give thanks for the joy that I can be useful today.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
July 8, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

We in Alcoholics Anonymous do not enter into theological discussions, but in carrying our message we attempt to explain the simple “how” of the spiritual life. How faith in a Higher Power can help you to overcome loneliness, fear, and anxiety. How it can help you get along with other people. How it can make it possible for you to rise above pain, sorrow, and despondency. How it can help you to overcome your desires for the things that destroy. Have I reached a simple, effective faith?

Meditation For The Day

Expect miracles of change in people’s lives. Do not be held back by unbelief. People can be changed and they are often ready and waiting to be changed. Never believe that human nature cannot be changed. We see changed people everyday. Do you have the faith to make those changes possible? Modern miracles happen every day in the lives of people. All miracles are in the realm of personalities.  Human nature can be changed and is always being changed. But we must have enough faith so that we can be channels for God’s strength into the lives of others.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may have the faith to expect miracles. I pray that I may be used by God to help change the lives of others.

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As Bill Sees It
July 8, 2014
Experimenters, p. 189

We agnostics liked A.A. all right, and were quick to say that it had done miracles. But we recoiled from meditation and prayer as obstinately as the scientist who refused to perform a certain experiment lest it prove his pet theory wrong.

When we finally did experiment, and unexpected results followed, we felt different; in fact, we knew different; and so we were sold on meditation and prayer. And that, we found, can happen to anybody who tries. It has been well said that “Almost the only scoffers at prayer are those who never tried enough.”

12 & 12, p. 97

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Walk In Dry Places
July 8, 2014
God’s will for us.
Spiritual Guidance.

“I was afraid God would want me to do something unpleasant, like go off to become a monk,” a young man said at a 12 Step meeting. “That’s why I had a hard time seeking God’s will for me.” This sort of comment is heard now and then at meetings. It reveals a belief that God is a harsh taskmaster who delights in imposing difficult conditions on us.

The truth is that God’s purpose is to help us be more of what we ought to be, which is always something better than what we’re experiencing now. Few people are ever called to be monks, but those who do are pleased with their choice and devote themselves to it.

We must always be interested in finding God’s direction in our lives. It will turn out to be something far better than anything we could have planned.

I need not fear God’s direction in my life. It’s actually what I need in order to reach my true place.

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Each Day a New Beginning
July 8, 2014

Women like to sit down with trouble as if it were knitting.
—Ellen Glasgow

How often we turn minor challenges into monumental barriers by giving them undue attention, forgetting that within any problem lies its solution! However, the center of our focus must be off the problem’s tangle if we are to find the solution’s thread. The best remedy for this dilemma is the Serenity Prayer.

We cannot change our children, our husbands or partners, not even the best friends who we know love us. But with God’s help we can change the attitude that has us blocked at this time. A changed attitude, easing up on ourselves, lessening our expectations of others, will open the door to the kind of relationships we seek, the smooth flowing days we long for.

We need not take life so seriously. In fact, we shouldn’t take it so seriously. We can measure our emotional health by how heartily we laugh with others and at ourselves. The 24 hours stretching before us at this time promises many choices in attitude. We can worry, be mad, depressed, or frustrated, or we can trust our higher power to see us through whatever the situation. So, we can relax. It is our decision, the one decision over which we are not powerless.

I will be in control of my attitude today. I can have the kind of day I long for.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
July 8, 2014
The Vicious Cycle

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

Around this time our big A.A. book was being written and it all became much simpler; we had a definite formula which some sixty of us agreed was the middle course for all alcoholics who wanted sobriety, and that formula has not been changed one iota down through the years. I don’t think the boys were completely convinced of my personality change, for they fought shy of including my story in the book, so my only contribution to their literary efforts was my firm conviction, being still a theological rebel, that the word God should be qualified with the phrase “as we understand him”–for that was the only way I could accept spirituality.

p. 229

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
July 8, 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.”

The actual experience of meditation and prayer across the centuries is, of course, immense. The world’s libraries and places of worship are a treasure trove for all seekers. It is to be hoped that every A.A. who has a religious connection which emphasizes meditation will return to the practice of that devotion as never before. But what about the rest of us who, less fortunate, don’t even know how to begin?

Well, we might start like this. First let’s look at a really good prayer. We won’t have far to seek; the great men and women of all religions have left us a wonderful supply. Here let us consider one that is a classic. Its author was a man who for several hundred years now has been rated as a saint. We won’t be biased or scared off by that fact, because although he was not an alcoholic he did, like us, go through the emotional wringer. And as he came out the other side of that painful experience, this prayer was his expression of what he could then see, feel, and wish to become:

“Lord, make me a channel of thy peace–that where there is hatred, I may bring love–that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness–that where there is discord, I may bring harmony–that where there is error, I may bring truth–that where there is doubt, I may bring faith–that where there is despair, I may bring hope–that where there are shadows, I may bring light–that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted–to understand, than to be understood–to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.”

As beginners in meditation, we might now reread this prayer several times very slowly, savoring every word and trying to take in the deep meaning of each phrase and idea. It will help if we can drop all resistance to what our friend says. For in meditation, debate has no place. We rest quietly with the thoughts of someone who knows, so that we may experience and learn.

As though lying upon a sunlit beach, let us relax and breathe deeply of the spiritual atmosphere with which the grace of this prayer surrounds us. Let us become willing to partake and be strengthened and lifted up by the sheer spiritual power, beauty, and love of which these magnificent words are the carriers. Let us look now upon the sea and ponder what its mystery is; and let us lift our eyes to the far horizon, beyond which we shall seek all those wonders still unseen.

pp. 98-100

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Xtra Thoughts
July 8, 2014

All time spent angry is time lost being happy.
–Mexican Proverb

Do what you can, for who you can, with what you have, and where you are.
–Anonymous

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.
–John Wesley

Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.
–Abraham Lincoln

“One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.”
–Henry Miller

Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.
–Henry David Thoreau

“No one has ever done anything too bad to be forgiven.”
–Ruth Sheppard

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
July 8, 2014
ART

“There is no must in art because it is free.”
–Vasily Kandinsky

Now I understand why the religious people of the past persecuted the artist. Now I understand why so many artists moved away from religion and grew beyond it. The artist is always searching for that which is different, that which cannot be contained or codified; that which is free: Spirituality. As a drinking alcoholic I found it necessary to control my life; control my thoughts and behavior; control each and every situation — and it was depressingly exhausting. Today sobriety enables me to risk that which is new and different. Sobriety allows me to experiment and take risks in God’s world. Sobriety is being free. I am discovering more of me in what yesterday’s artists wrote and produced. The “musts” of yesterday have been replaced by the shoulds and needs today. I am free to listen and consider the person because he is a person and not simply because of his credentials.

Supreme Artist, let me hear You in the whisperings of Your creatures.

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Bible Scriptures
July 8, 2014

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:26

You are from God, little children, and have overcome; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
John 14:5-7

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Daily Inspiration
July 8, 2014

Keep your mind open to the possibility that things can turn out even better than expected. Lord, I trust in You and graciously accept all blessings that You send to me.

God gives us power, love and self-discipline, not fear and timidness. Lord, I will not be afraid to proclaim that You are my God. All will see it in my actions.

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A Day At A Time
July 8, 2014

When we speak with a friend in The Program, we shouldn’t hesitate to remind him or her of our need for privacy.  Intimate communication is normally so free and easy among us that even a friend or sponsor may sometimes forget when we expect him to remain silent.  Such “privileged communications” have important advantages.  For one thing, we find in them the perfect opportunity to be as honest as we know how to be.  For another, we don’t have to worry about the possibility of injury to other people, nor the fear of ridicule or condemnation.  At the same time, we have the best possible chance to spot self-deception.  Am I trustworthy to those who trust me.

Today I Pray

I pray for God’s assistance in making me a trusted confidant.  I need to be a person others will be willing to share with.  I need to be an open receiver, not just a transmitter.  Today I pray for a large portion of tried-and-sureness, so that I may be a better and more receptive friend to those who choose to confide in me.

Today I Will Remember

Be a receiver.

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One More Day
July 8, 2014

They do me wrong who say I come no more, / Fear every day I stand outside your door.
–  Walter Malone

Opportunity doesn’t just knock once, it’s there all the time.  Perhaps we just don’t see it because we’re frightened to try new things.  Or we may be complacent.  One of the ways we know we are really making capable, mature decisions is when we become willing to open the door to opportunity again.

Occasionally, when a person retires, he or she may expect life to become automatically wonderful — all the time in the world and nothing in particular to do.  It may take a little time for us to adjust.  Opportunity is always there, waiting.  We can learn to open our own doors.

I can renew my energies by becoming eager to burst forward, to pursue leisure-time efforts, to work with others.

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One Day At A Time
July 8, 2014
~ ACTION ~

“He does not believe who does not live his belief.”
Thomas Fuller

It’s an old axiom that actions speak louder than words. Our Twelve Step program is one of action, no matter how much we want to avoid working the Steps. The Big Book states that IF you want what we have, you will do what we did. That also means the opposite … if you don’t want what we have, don’t do it. The insanity of this disease is expecting a different result by continually doing the same old thing. Sanity is giving up what didn’t work and daring to try something new.

One day at a time …
I am going to trust that obedience to the program will, in time, restore me to sanity.

~ Jeremiah ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – July 8

“You are going to learn the most important lesson – that God is the most powerful thing there is.”
–Mathew King, LAKOTA

The Medicine Wheel teaches that there are two worlds – the Seen World and the Unseen World, or the Physical World and the Spiritual World. We need information from both of these worlds in order to live our lives in a harmonious way.

The most difficult way is to figure things out by ourselves and leave the Great Spirit out of it. When we do this, we are making decisions with information only from the Physical World

can be called reliance on self. If we ask the Creator to help us, we then get information from the Unseen World or the Spiritual World.  The Spiritual World is where we get our power. When we do this, we are God-reliant. Being God-reliant is the same as being on the Red Road.

Great Spirit, whisper the secrets of the Unseen World in my mind’s ear.

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Journey To The Heart
July 8, 2014
Sometimes the Road Gets Rough

Don’t be dismayed when you come to a pothole, a detour, a stretch of rough and rocky road. Don’t be surprised. Slow down a little. Be patient. It’s not the whole journey. It’s not the way it’ll always be. But it is part of your journey,too, part of your journey to your heart and soul. Even when we’re living with joy and freedom, we continue to learn, grow, feel, experience. And the road can still get rough.

Happiness doesn’t mean feeling gleeful all the time. Happiness doesn’t mean the road we’re traveling is always smooth. Happiness means feeling all we need to feel. And accepting each part of the journey, even the changes of course and direction.

Feel all your feelings. Feel your fear and frustration about slowing down, then settle in for the ride. You may not be going as fast as you’d like, but the journey hasn’t stopped. You’re not doing anything wrong. You are going slower, but you’re still moving forward.

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Today’s Gift
July 8, 2014

Hurry, hurry has no blessing.
—Swahili Proverb

In a busy family there is a lot of activity. We sometimes feel imprisoned by all the work, school, extracurricular activities, housework, meetings, and special events. In the press to do it all, we may lose our peace because of the hurry. We rush to eat; we rush to work; we rush to get there on time. Much of this cannot be helped. But hurry has no blessing, as the proverb goes. We can create quick tempers and a lot of frustration if we try to hurry too much.

When we allow enough time to slow things down, we give ourselves a chance to enjoy what we’re doing, and to develop along spiritual lines. Inner peace depends on our keeping a balance in all the things we do. Only then can we feel the joy that comes from having enough time to do things quietly and smoothly, and value the inner peace that comes when we do not hurry.

How can I take my time today and enjoy myself?

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The Language of Letting Go
July 8, 2014
Going with the Flow

Go with the flow.

Let go of fear and your need to control. Relinquish anxiety. Let it slip away, as you dive into the river of the present moment, the river of your life, your place in the universe.

Stop trying to force the direction. Try not to swim against the current, unless it is necessary for your survival. If you’ve been clinging to a branch at the riverside, let go.

Let yourself move forward. Let yourself be moved forward.

Avoid the rapids when possible. If you can’t, stay relaxed. Staying relaxed can take your safely through fierce currents. If you go under for a moment, allow yourself to surface naturally. You will.

Appreciate the beauty of the scenery, as it is. See things with freshness, with newness. You shall never pass by today’s scenery again!

Don’t think too hard about things. The flow is meant to be experienced. Within it, care for yourself. You are part of the flow, an important part. Work with the flow. Work within the flow. Thrashing about isn’t necessary. Let the flow help you care for yourself. Let it help you set boundaries, make decisions, and get you where you need to be when it is time. You can trust the flow, and your part in it.

Today, I will go with the flow.

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More Language Of Letting Go
July 8, 2014
Dump it

Sometimes, we don’t have one clear feeling to express. We have a bunch of garbage we’ve collected, and we just need to dump.

We may be frustrated, angry, afraid, and sick to death of something– all in one ugly bunch. We could be enraged, hurt, overwhelmed, and feeling somewhat controlling and vengeful,too. Our emotional stuff has piled up to an unmanageable degree.

We can go to our journal and write this whole mess of feelings out, as ugly as it looks and as awkward and ungrateful as it feels to put it into words. We can call up a friend, someone we trust, and just spill all this out over the phone. Or we can stomp around our living room in the privacy of our own home and just dump all this stuff out into the air. We can go for a drive in our car, roll the window down, and dump everything out as we drive through the wilderness.

The important idea here is to dump our stuff when it piles up.

You don’t always have to be that healthy and in control of what you feel. Sometimes, dumping all your stuff is the way to clean things out.

God, help me understand that sometimes the only thing preventing me from moving forward in my life is hanging on to all the stuff that I really need to dump.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
July 8, 2014

He was shut out from all family affairs. No one told him anything. The children, alone with their mother, told her all about the day’s happenings, everything…. But as soon as the father came in, everything stopped.
—D. H. Lawrence

Many of us men are on the outer edge of our family circles. The closeness between our children and our wives often seems more comfortable, more intimate than our relationships with them. Perhaps it’s similar to the closeness we had with our mother while our father was outside. It is painful to us and probably not entirely our own fault. We were taught that our main job was outside the home – supporting our family by earning a living. But it is up to us to change the situation.

Many of us learned from our own father that grown men stay aloof from emotional relationships, but this has hurt our relationships and alienated us from the people we most care for. Learning to know our feelings and how to express them helps us move into the family circle of intimacy.

Today, I will let go of my aloofness with my family so they can know me better.

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Daily TAO
July 8, 2014
Victory

Can you be both martial and spiritual?
Can you overcome your ultimate opponent?

To be martial requires discipline, courage, and perseverance. It has nothing to do with killing. People fail to look beyond this one narrow aspect of being a warrior and so overlook all the other excellent qualities that can be gained from training. A warrior is not a cruel murderer. A warrior is a protector of ideals, principle, and honor. A warrior is noble and heroic.

A warrior will have many opponents in a lifetime, but the ultimate opponent is the warrior’s own self. Within a fighter’s personality are a wide array of demons to be conquered: fear, laziness, ignorance, selfishness, egotism, and so many more. To talk of overpowering other people is inconsequential. To actually overcome one’s own defects is the true nature of victory. That is why so many religions depict warriors in the iconography. These images are not symbols for dominating others. Rather, they are symbols of the ferocity and determination that we need to overcome the demons within ourselves.

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Food for Thought
July 8, 2014
Stronger or Weaker?

Every time I say no to the craving for just one small, extra bite, I become stronger. Every time I give in, I weaken myself and make it harder to say no the next time.

Abstinence from compulsive overeating is made up of many small decisions. We gradually acquire the knowledge of what we can handle and what we should avoid. This knowledge applies to situations and attitudes as well as food. As we work our program and make the right decisions, we gain strength.

Since none of us is perfect, we do not need to become discouraged when we make mistakes. We are learning how to live, and our failures teach us more than our successes. Growth is slow, but if we keep coming back to OA and the program, we will see results beyond our wildest expectations. OA gives us the strength to become new people.

For growing stronger, we thank You.

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DailyZen
July 8, 2014

Limitations gone:
Since my mind fixed on the moon,
Clarity and serenity
Make something for which
There’s no end in sight.

– Saigyo (1118-1190)

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Faith’s Check Book
July 8, 2014
An Angel Encampment

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
(Psalm 34:7)

We cannot see the angels, but it is enough that they can see us. There is one great Angel of the Covenant, whom not having seen we love, and His eye is always upon us both day and night. He has a host of holy ones under Him, and He causes these to be watchers over His saints and to guard them from all ill. If devils do us mischief, shining ones do us service.

Note that the Lord of angels does not come and go and pay us transient visits, but He and His armies encamp around us. The headquarters of the army of salvation is where those live whose trust is in the living God. This camp surrounds the faithful so that they cannot be attacked from any quarter unless the adversary can break through the entrenchments of the Lord of angels. We have a fixed protection, a permanent watch. Sentineled by the messengers of God, we shall not be surprised by sudden assaults nor swallowed up by overwhelming forces. Deliverance is promised in this verse—deliverance by the great Captain of our salvation, and that deliverance we shall obtain again and again until our warfare is accomplished and we exchange the field of conflict for the home of rest.

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This Morning’s Meditation
July 8, 2014

“Tell me I pray thee wherein thy great strength lieth.”
—Judges 16:6.

WHERE lies the secret strength of faith? It lies in the food it feeds on; for faith studies what the promise is—an emanation of divine grace, an overflowing of the great heart of God; and faith says, “My God could not have given this promise, except from love and grace; therefore it is quite certain His Word will be fulfilled.” Then faith thinketh, “Who gave this promise?” It considereth not so much its greatness, as, “Who is the author of it?” She remembers that it is God who cannot lie—God omnipotent, God immutable; and therefore concludeth that the promise must be fulfilled; and forward she advances in this firm conviction. She remembereth, why the promise was given,—namely, for God’s glory, and she feels perfectly sure that God’s glory is safe, that He will never stain His own escutcheon, nor mar the lustre of His own crown; and therefore the promise must and will stand. Then faith also considereth the amazing work of Christ as being a clear proof of the Father’s intention to fulfil His word. “He that spared not His own Son, but freely delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Moreover faith looks back upon the past, for her battles have strengthened her, and her victories have given her courage. She remembers that God never has failed her; nay, that He never did once fail any of His children. She recollecteth times of great peril, when deliverance came; hours of awful need, when as her day her strength was found, and she cries, “No, I never will be led to think that He can change and leave His servant now. Hitherto the Lord hath helped me, and He will help me still.” Thus faith views each promise in its connection with the promise-giver, and, because she does so, can with assurance say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life!”

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This Evening’s Meditation
July 8, 2014

“Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.”
—Psalm 25:5.

HEN the believer has begun with trembling feet to walk in the way of the Lord, he asks to be still led onward like a little child upheld by its parent’s helping hand, and he craves to be further instructed in the alphabet of truth. Experimental teaching is the burden of this prayer. David knew much, but he felt his ignorance, and desired to be still in the Lord’s school: four times over in two verses he applies for a scholarship in the college of grace. It were well for many professors if instead of following their own devices, and cutting out new paths of thought for themselves, they would enquire for the good old ways of God’s own truth, and beseech the Holy Ghost to give them sanctified understandings and teachable spirits. “For thou art the God of my salvation.” The Three-One Jehovah is the Author and Perfecter of salvation to His people. Reader, is He the God of your salvation? Do you find in the Father’s election, in the Son’s atonement, and in the Spirit’s quickening, all the grounds of your eternal hopes? If so, you may use this as an argument for obtaining further blessings; if the Lord has ordained to save you, surely He will not refuse to instruct you in His ways. It is a happy thing when we can address the Lord with the confidence which David here manifests, it gives us great power in prayer, and comfort in trial. “On Thee do I wait all the day.” Patience is the fair handmaid and daughter of faith; we cheerfully wait when we are certain that we shall not wait in vain. It is our duty and our privilege to wait upon the Lord in service, in worship, in expectancy, in trust all the days of our life. Our faith will be tried faith, and if it be of the true kind, it will bear continued trial without yielding. We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us.

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