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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 – June 17, 2014

Just For Today
June 17, 2014
Walls

“Reaching out is the beginning of the struggle that will set us free. It will break down the walls that imprison us.” Basic Text, p.80

Many of us came to NA emotionally shattered. Years of using people and allowing them to use us had taken their toll on our ability to trust anyone, ourselves included. But the love and acceptance we found in Narcotics Anonymous encouraged us to reach out and get close to others.

The longer we stayed clean, the more we began to long for greater intimacy with our loved ones. We began reaching out in deeper, more meaningful ways, even though we might get hurt. Despite our fears of rejection, we decided to risk revealing ourselves, our beliefs, and our needs. We decided to let down our defensive walls.

The freedom we’ve found has been worth the risk involved. We know there is still work to do before we will be completely free of the barriers built by years of active addiction. But by reaching out to other addicts and allowing them to reach out to us, despite our human failings, we have come to know that we have a great capacity for love and intimacy. When set free of their restraining walls, our hearts hold great power.

Just for today: I will let down my personal walls and reach out to others. I will allow my heart the freedom to love and be loved.

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Daily Reflections
June 17, 2014
“DEEP DOWN WITHIN US”

We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. . . . search diligently within yourself . . . With this attitude you cannot fail. The consciousness of your belief is sure to come to you.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 55

It was out of the depths of loneliness, depression and despair that I sought the help of A.A. As I recovered and began to face the emptiness and ruin of my life, I began to open myself to the possibility of the healing that recovery offers through the A.A. program. By coming to meetings, staying sober, and taking the Steps, I had the opportunity to listen with increasing attentiveness to the depths of my soul. Daily I waited, in hope and gratitude, for that sure belief and steadfast love I had longed for in my life. In this process,  I met my God, as I understand Him.

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

We in A.A. have the privilege of living two lives in one lifetime. One life of drunkenness, failure, and defeat. Then, through A.A., another life of sobriety, peace of mind, and usefulness. We who have recovered our sobriety are modern miracles. And we’re living on borrowed time. Some of us might have been dead long ago. But we have been given another chance to live. Do I owe a debt of gratitude to A.A. that I can never repay as long as I live?

Meditation For The Day

Thinking about God in love and worship drives away evil. It is the thought before that the hosts of evil flee. The thought of a Power greater than yourself is the call for a life-line to rescue you from temptation. The thought of God banishes loneliness and dispels gloom. It summons help to conquer your faults. Think of God as often as possible. Use the thought prayerfully and purposefully. It will carry your thoughts away from material things and toward the spiritual things that make life worthwhile.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may think of God often. I pray that I may rest in peace at the thought of His love and care.

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As Bill Sees It
June 17, 2014
Accepting God’s Gifts, p. 168

“Though many theologians hold that sudden spiritual experiences amount to a special distinction, if not a divine appointment of some sort, I question this view. Every human being, no matter what his attributes for good or evil, is a part of the divine spiritual economy. Therefore, each of us has his place, and I cannot see that God intends to exalt one another.

“So it is necessary for all of us to accept whatever positive gifts we receive with a deep humility, always bearing in mind that our negative attitudes were first necessary as a means of reducing us to such a state of that we would be ready for a gift of the positive ones via the conversion experience. Your own alcoholism and the immense deflation that finally resulted are indeed the foundation upon which your spiritual experience rests.”

Letter, 1964

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Walk In Dry Places
June 17, 2014
Is the Golden Rule Applicable?
Inventory

Some people say the Golden Rule is impractical or believe it can work only if everybody begins following it at the same time.

We learn in 12 Step programs that the Golden Rule does work. We start by taking our own inventory, whether nor not others do. We make amends for our own wrongs, even when amends are not made to us. We think rightly about others, no matter how they think about us.

From time to time, we also receive a cosmic hint that the Golden Rule is far more than a mere human ideal expressed in an ancient time. It really appears to be one way of stating a law of life. We should treat others as we want to be treated because, in time, this is how we will be treated.

Nothing will help me more with my program today than to practice the Golden Rule, even in the face of trying situations. This will show me, more than word ever can, that God is really in charge of my life.

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Keep It Simple
June 17, 2014

Each day provides its own gifts.
—Ruth D. Freedman

Life is full of wonderful gifts. Recovery is life’s greatest gift to us. If we’re not excited about being sober, we need to check ourselves. Are we keeping something secret? Is there a sadness we need to talk about? Are we stuffing anger? These things eat away at our excitement for life.

Many addicts never get the gift of recovery. Those of us in recovery are special. We’ve been given a new life. There will be hard times. But the joy of getting a second chance will be stronger. Am I grateful that I’ve been given recovery?

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me see recovery as a gift. I deserve this gift because I’m human. Help me to always accept this gift.

Action for the Day: At the end of the day, I’ll list three gifts that this day has given me.

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Each Day a New Beginning
June 17, 2014

Wisdom never kicks at the iron walls it can’t bring down.
—Olive Schreiner

God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. Many times – yesterday, last week, today, and even tomorrow – we’ll come face-to-face with a seemingly intolerable situation. The compulsion to change the situation, to demand that another person change the situation, is great. What a hard lesson it is, to learn we can change only ourselves! The hidden gift in this lesson is that as our activities change, often the intolerable situations do, too.

Acceptance, after a time, smoothes all the ripples that discourage us. And it softens us. It nurtures wisdom. It attracts joy and love from others. Ironically, we often try to force changes that we think will “loosen” love and lessen struggle. Acceptance can do what our willpower could never accomplish.

As we grow in wisdom, as we grow in understanding, as we realize the promises of this program, we’ll stand ready, as women, to weather all our personal storms. Like the willow in the wind, we’ll bend rather than break. And we’ll be able to help our sisters become wise through our example.

My lessons are not easy. But they will ease my way. Better days begin, today.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
June 17, 2014
Our Southern Friend

Pioneer A.A., minister’s son, and southern farmer, he asked, “Who am I to say there is no God?”

I’ll get drunk! It is a cold-blooded idea. It is premeditated. I fix up a little apartment over the garage with books and drinking water. I am going to town to get some liquor and food. I shall not drink until I get back to the apartment. Then I shall lock myself in and read. And as I read, I shall take little drinks at long intervals. I shall get myself “mellow” and stay that way.

I get in the car and drive off. Halfway down the driveway a thought strikes me. I’ll be honest anyway. I’ll tell my wife what I am going to do. I back up to the door and go into the house. I call my wife into a room where we can talk privately. I tell her quietly what I intend to do. She says nothing. She does not get excited. She maintains a perfect calm.

When I am through speaking, the whole idea has become absurd. Not a trace of fear is in me. I laugh at the insanity of it. We talk of other things. Strength has come from weakness.

I cannot see the cause of this temptation now. But I am to learn later that it began with the desire for my own material success becoming greater than the interest in the welfare of my fellow man. I learn more of that foundation stone of character, which is honesty. I learn that when we act upon the highest conception of honesty which is given us, our sense of honesty becomes more acute.

I learn that honesty is truth, and the truth shall make us free!

pp. 217-218

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
June 17, 2014

Step Ten – “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

Few people have been more victimized by resentments than have we alcoholics. It mattered little whether our resentments were justified or not. A burst of temper could spoil a day, and a well-nursed grudge could make us miserably ineffective. Nor were we ever skillful in separating justified from unjustified anger. As we saw it, our wrath was always justified. Anger, that occasional luxury of more balanced people, could keep us on an emotional jag indefinitely. These emotional “dry benders” often led straight to the bottle. Other kinds of disturbances–jealousy, envy, self-pity, or hurt pride–did the same thing.

p. 90

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Xtra Thoughts
June 17, 2014

When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.
–Edward Teller

Take time each day to seek out stillness, to find that sacred spot. Let your mind and soul be at ease. Don’t grasp and grab for the magic and miracles. When you reside in that place of stillness, the joy, miracles, and magic you’re seeking will find you.
–Melody Beattie

“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I only have to be what I am, no more, no less.
–Robbie Rocheford

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
June 17, 2014
SELF-LOVE

“Only a person who can live with himself can enjoy the gift of leisure.”
–Henry Greber

As an addict I could not tolerate my own company for long. I was
forever telephoning somebody, going over to a friend’s house, inviting people in, creating an “occasion” so I did not have to think or, at least, think about myself. Being alone terrified me. I was terrified because I would begin to think about what was happening in my life and I did not want to face it.

Spirituality is reality. Some years ago I decided to encounter the “real” me, painful but necessary. I began to develop an awareness of who I am. Acceptance followed: I am an alcoholic.

Today I know me; today I like me; today I can love me – and this awareness brings with it a knowledge of God, self and my neighbor.

Today I can be alone without feeling lonely.

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Bible Scriptures
June 17, 2014

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: If you honor your father and mother, “you will live a long life, full of blessing.” And now a word to you fathers. Don’t make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1-4

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22, 23

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
Colossians 3:15

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Daily Inspiration
June 17, 2014

The best thing to let go of is your past. Lord, the goodness of my past is part of whom I am now, but the rest only serves to pull me away from You. Help me to keep my thoughts only on this moment.

Imagine that you were paid for every kindness and charged for every unkindness. Would you be rich or poor? Lord, I often pray for material wealth. Let me not neglect my soul by now praying for the ability to build my spiritual wealth also.

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A Day At A Time
June 17, 2014

Reflection For The Day

Readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well-being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine.  A casual apology, on the one hand, will rarely suffice in making amends to one we have harmed;  a true change of attitude, in contrast, can do wonders to make up for past unkindness.  If  I’ve deprived anyone of any  material thing, I’ll acknowledge the debt and pay it as soon as I’m able.  Will I swallow my pride and make the first overtures toward reconciliation?

Today I Pray

God show me the best ways to make “direct amends.”  Sometimes simply admitting my mistakes may make it up to someone and unload my own simmering guilt.   Other times restitution may take some creative thought.  May I be wholly aware that I cannot take this Ninth Step unless I develop some caring, some real concern about how others feel, along with changes in my behavior.

Today I Will Remember

First I care, then I apologize.

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One More Day
June 17, 2014

Variety is the mother of enjoyment.
–  Benjamin Disraeli

Ideally, we anticipate awakening in the morning, not sure what the day is going to bring, but looking forward to it anyway.  Sometimes this eagerness comes more easily, for we have places to go and people to see.  At other times, we’re unable to recapture our previous joy.   What took away our excitement for life?  What can we do to reclaim it?

Life does not end at retirement or when the children move away or when our good health is diminished.  It just changes.  We can develop some new interests and hobbies.  We can reexamine old attitudes and come up with new perspectives.  Music and-good fellowship with others can enrich our lives and strengthen us to go on.  We can turn to our spiritual natures, and we will know joy.

I am aware of the wonders and opportunities around me.  I will share the joy I find.

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One Day At A Time
June 17, 2014
VICES AND VIRTUES

“It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.”
–Abraham Lincoln

In doing a tenth step daily, I am faced with my character defects — and yes, even vices. While I may not be compulsively eating, I may over-indulge in any number of other things like talking, whining, or frenetic busy-ness. I have been told that in life I must learn to “take my foot off the gas.” I have also been told that I am “too intense” or just “too much.” I guess this means I am not moderate in all things (by a mile.)

This thought comforts me in all of this: at least I am in the game. If someone asks for my opinion, he or she will get it ~ straight from the heart or the hip, as they say. If someone needs a favor, I am apt to be excessive in performing it. If someone needs a friend, he or she often gets much more than a casual acquaintance in me. In essence, my being “too much in general” has its good side — at least I am not asleep at the wheel. I am fully engaged in life.

One day at a time…
I will not forget that my zest for overindulging and overdoing-it-in-general has its counterpart in my zest for goodness and service. I am alive and kicking. I will not hate myself for being fully alive.

~ Q

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day June 17

“Your power comes from the songs.”
–Ethel Wilson, COWICHAN

If you do not know any of the songs, ask an Elder to teach you. Get yourself a drum. When you sing a song and play the drum, you’ll be surprised how your mind, body, and spirit will react. Everything becomes calm and joyful. Our bodies love the songs. The songs allow us to touch the hand of the Creator. When we sing and touch the Great Spirit’s hand, He gives us power. Songs are another way to pray.

My Grandfather, teach me a song today.

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Journey To The Heart
June 17, 2014
Learn to Report Instead of Judge

There is a world of difference between reporting and judging.

When you report, you merely say what happened. I am going through this. I did this. She did that. I feel this. But when you judge, attitudes and feelings are added on. I am going through this; therefore I’m deficient. I did this; therefore I’m wrong. She did that; therefore there’s something wrong with her. I feel this; so I must be bad.

Reporting brings clarity and helps move us forward. Report on what is happening in your life as often as you like. But try not to judge. Judgment limits, confines, brings condemnation down on others and ourselves. It says who you are, where you are, what you are doing is wrong. That leaves little room to move, and even less space for acceptance. Ir diminishes the freedom to grow and evolve.

Reporting without judgment doesn’t mean we approve of what’s going on or that we don’t have feelings about the situation. Nor does it mean we have to tolerate whatever comes our way. But when we can report without judgment, we can accept. And acceptance sets us free. Acceptance is the place from which all growth and change occurs.

When there is truth and acceptance without fear of judgement, there is love. Create your own world of love.

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Today’s Gift
June 17, 2014

You will jump to it someday. Then you’ll fly. You’ll really fly. After that you’ll quite simply, quite calmly make your own stones, your own floor plan, your own sound.
—Anne Sexton

A young man sat beside a whispering creek all day for years, never moving. The townsfolk who watched him wondered whether he heard the gurgling creek sounds, or felt the sting of insects, or saw the raccoons when they came at night to sip from the cool, dark waters.

One day the young man rose and dashed up the hill above the creek. There, using all the healing strength of the stream, which he had quietly absorbed over the years, he gathered stones. He arranged them layer-by-layer to fit the plan he had thought out by the creek, and feverishly he built his home. When done, he let out a brassy, booming holler of joy. Imagine the townsfolk’s surprise when they turned their eyes to that lonely spot by the creek and saw a huge castle of stone above the place where the young man once rested.

What plans can I make during my idle hours today?

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The Language of Letting Go
June 17, 2014
Surrender

Master the lessons of your present circumstances.

We do not move forward by resisting what is undesirable in our life today. We move forward, we grow, we change by acceptance.

Avoidance is not the key; surrender opens the door.

Listen to this truth: We are each in our present circumstances for a reason. There is a lesson, a valuable lesson that must be learned before we can move forward.

Something important is being worked out in us, and in those around us. We may not be able to identify it today; but we can know that it is important. We can know it is good.

Overcome not by force, overcome by surrender. The battle is fought, and won, inside ourselves. We must go through it until we learn, until we accept, until we become grateful, until we are set free.

Today, I will be open to the lessons of my present circumstances. I do not have to label, know, or understand what I’m learning; I will see clearly in time. For today, trust and gratitude are sufficient.

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More Language Of Letting Go
June 17, 2014
Relax when things don’t go as you planned

So, the boyfriend calls, says he’s going hiking with his buddies for a week, cancels his date with you, says he hopes you won’t be mad.

Or the bank calls and says you’re overdrawn, and you don’t know how that can be. You’ve been trying to carefully watch your deposits and checks. You’ve gone out of your way not to mess up. This can’t be right.

What do you do when life seems to force you to react? You can panic, become anxious, yell, and respond with a counterattack. But that probably won’t solve the problem. And it may turn things into a brawl.

Or you can calm down. Breathe deeply. Tell yourself to relax. Say as little as possible, if that’s possible, while you’re upset and disturbed. If a problem or disturbance that’s not fair interrupts your life, try responding by saying “hmmm.” Then calm down and decide what you need to do.

There’s a time to get upset, yell, scream, and shout. But that time isn’t when you’re trying to sort out problems. Before you take action, get centered, calm, and clear.

You will discover that when you’re centered and calm, you’re more powerful than you think.

God, help me start sailing through life with more ease by learning to relax and let life be.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
June 17, 2014

The loneliness each man feels is his hunger for life itself…. It is the yearning that makes fulfillment possible.
—Ross Mooney

Many different journeys have been taken by the men who finally entered this program in search of hope. Most of us have known our own brand of desperation, but we have one thing in common – the loneliness we felt. Some of us felt left out of our families and other groups. We were appalled by what was happening in our lives, alone with our secrets, as if no one truly knew us. Some of us even romanticized our loneliness as a form of heroism.

As we gave up our controlling behaviors, false pride, over-competitiveness, and striving for power, we made our weak spots and secrets more obvious. We became more accessible to friends. As we count the blessings of recovery, high on our list is that we are no longer lonely.

In part, what kept me going and led me to this program was my hunger for life. I’m grateful for the friends who truly know me now, and still accept me.

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Daily TAO
June 17, 2014
Sage

Ancient sages lived in forests and
Wandered from village to village,
Sharing openly, teaching the people
Without profit or ownership.

There were more holy aspirants in ancient times. These men and women cultivated themselves in the mountains or wandered among forests and streams. When they came to a village and saw there was some knowledge that could be imparted to the people, they did so openly. Once they taught what was necessary, they disappeared, knowing that others would follow behind them. They did not establish religious schools, temples, or philosophies bearing their names. They knew knowledge did not belong to anyone. It could not be owned, parceled out for profit, or withheld selfishly.

Nowadays, many people regard knowledge as a mere commodity to be packaged, marketed, and sold. Their interest is not in benefit for others’ souls but for their own pocketbooks. For example, one contemporary master requires a thousand ounces of gold before he will teach a single technique. We live in a world where the selfless sharing of knowledge is no longer a virtue.

The more knowledge you give away, the more will come to you. The more you hoard, the less you will accumulate. Be compassionate to others. What do you have to fear by being open?

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Day By Day
June 17, 2014
Growing stronger

We are just one drink, pill, or fix away from relapse. But each day of abstinence makes us sronger. And over time, as we strive for spiritual progress, we become familiar with our resistances and our strengths.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that “this kind of person increases his skill and strength and learns the favorable moments and the favorable accidents. He is his own apprentice, and more time gives a great addition of power, just as a falling body acquires momentum with every foot of the fall.”

Is my recovery growing steadier and stronger?

Higher Power, may my striving for spiritual growth bring self-understanding and strength to my recovery.

I will strengthen my recovery today by…

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In God’s Care
June 17, 2014

One can survive anything these days except death.
~~Oscar Wilde

Perhaps we remember the pain of discovering that a loved one had betrayed our trust. The hurt and shame might have felt unbearable. Maybe we suffered a devastating blow when a dream of ours was lost forever. At the time, our pain may have consumed and immobilized us. But it finally went away and we did survive.

We are survivors or we wouldn’t still be on this journey. All of us have lived through some tragic and overwhelming circumstances. At times we may have felt we were being pushed to the edge of sanity. But we didn’t topple over. And we are still on our journey of recovery. We can continue to find purpose in every situation that claims us, with the knowledge that our Higher Power will be there for us.

I will be able to handle even the most difficult situation today with God’s help.

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Food for Thought
June 17, 2014
Conflicts

To be alive is to have conflicts. We find ourselves in disagreement with other people and in conflict with ourselves. Often, the things we want seem mutually exclusive, such as more money and more free time, more food and fewer pounds.

Our Higher Power does not promise us freedom from conflict, at any rate, not in this life. Like all growing organisms, we struggle with opposing forces. Frequently, our overeating is an attempt to escape the conflicts, which we should be facing. Sometimes we need to be more self-assertive with those around us instead of futilely trying to suppress justifiable indignation with food. There are times when we need to fight for our legitimate requirements.

We cannot always resolve our internal conflicts without a long and difficult battle. Time and maturity are often necessary before a problem is seen in its proper perspective. Some problems we may expect to wrestle with as long as we live. Having faith in the light, even when we cannot see it, makes our darkness bearable.

Lighten our darkness, Lord.

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Daily Zen
June 17, 2014

A temple hidden, treasured,
In the mountain’s cleft.
Pines, bamboo,
Such a subtle flavor:
The ancient Buddha sits there, wordless.
The welling springs speak for him.

– Yuan Me (1716-1798)

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Faiths Check Book
June 17, 2014
Our Field of Battle

For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. (Deuteronomy 20:4)

We have no enemies but the enemies of God. Our fights are not against men but against spiritual wickednesses. We war with the devil and the blasphemy and error and despair which he brings into the field of battle. We fight with all the armies of sin—impurity, drunkenness, oppression, infidelity, and ungodliness. With these we contend earnestly, but not with sword or spear; the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.

Jehovah, our God, abhors everything which is evil, and, therefore, He goeth with us to fight for us in this crusade. He will save us, and He will give us grace to war a good warfare and win the victory. We may depend upon it that if we are on God’s side God is on our side. With such an august ally the conflict is never in the least degree doubtful. It is not that truth is mighty and must prevail but that might lies with the Father who is almighty, with Jesus who has all power in heaven and in earth, and with the Holy Spirit who worketh His will among men.

Soldiers of Christ, gird on your armor. Strike home in the name of the God of holiness, and by faith grasp His salvation. Let not this day pass without striking a blow for Jesus and holiness.

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This Mornings Meditation
June 17, 2014

“Help, Lord.”—Psalm 12:1.
HE prayer itself is remarkable, for it is short, but seasonable, sententious, and suggestive. David mourned the fewness of faithful men, and therefore lifted up his heart in supplication—when the creature failed, he flew to the Creator. He evidently felt his own weakness, or he would not have cried for help; but at the same time he intended honestly to exert himself for the cause of truth, for the word “help” is inapplicable where we ourselves do nothing. There is much of directness, clearness of perception, and distinctness of utterance in this petition of two words; much more, indeed, than in the long rambling outpourings of certain professors. The Psalmist runs straight-forward to his God, with a well-considered prayer; he knows what he is seeking, and where to seek it. Lord, teach us to pray in the same blessed manner.

The occasions for the use of this prayer are frequent. In providential afflictions how suitable it is for tried believers who find all helpers failing them. Students, in doctrinal difficulties, may often obtain aid by lifting up this cry of “Help, Lord,” to the Holy Spirit, the great Teacher. Spiritual warriors in inward conflicts may send to the throne for reinforcements, and this will be a model for their request. Workers in heavenly labour may thus obtain grace in time of need. Seeking sinners, in doubts and alarms, may offer up the same weighty supplication; in fact, in all these cases, times, and places, this will serve the turn of needy souls. “Help, Lord,” will suit us living and dying, suffering or labouring, rejoicing or sorrowing. In Him our help is found, let us not be slack to cry to Him.

The answer to the prayer is certain, if it be sincerely offered through Jesus. The Lord’s character assures us that He will not leave His people; His relationship as Father and Husband guarantee us His aid; His gift of Jesus is a pledge of every good thing; and His sure promise stands, “Fear not, I WILL HELP THEE.”

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