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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – June 28

Just For Today
June 28
Group Conscience

“Working with others is only the beginning of service work.”
Basic Text, p.56

Service work calls for a selfless devotion to carrying the message to the still-suffering addict. But our attitude of service cannot stop there. Service also requires that we look at ourselves and our motives. Our efforts at service make us highly visible to the fellowship. In NA, it is easy to become a “big fish in a small pond.” Our controlling attitude can easily drive away the newcomer.

Group conscience is one of the most important principles in service. It is vital to remember that the group conscience is what counts, not just our individual beliefs and desires. We lend our thoughts and beliefs to the development of a group conscience. Then when that conscience arises, we accept its guidance. The key is working with others, not against them. If we remember that we strive together to develop a collective conscience, we will see that all sides have equal merit. When all the discussions are over, all sides will come back to carry a unified message.

It is often tempting to think that we know what is best for the group. If we remember that it doesn’t matter if we get our way, then it is easier to allow service to be the vehicle it is intended to be – a way to carry the message to the addict who still suffers.

Just for today: I will take part in the development of group conscience. I will remember that the world won’t end just because I don’t get my way. I will think about our p[primary purpose in all my service efforts. I will reach out to a newcomer.

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Daily Reflections
June 28
THE DETERMINATION OF OUR FOUNDERS

A year and six months later these three had succeeded with seven more.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 159

If it had not been for the fierce determination of our founders, A.A. would have quickly faded like so many other so-called good causes. I look at the hundreds of meetings weekly in the city where I live and I know A.A. is available twenty-four hours a day. If I had had to hang on with nothing but hope and a desire not to drink, experiencing rejection wherever I went, I would have sought the easier, softer way and returned to my previous way of life.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
June 28
A.A. Thought For The Day

You can prove to yourself that life is basically and fundamentally an inner attitude. Just try to remember what troubled you most a week ago. You probably will find it difficult to remember. Why then should you unduly worry or fret over the problems that arise today? Your attitude toward them can be changed by putting yourself and your problems in God’s hands and trusting Him to see that everything will turn out all right, provided you are trying to do the right thing. Your changed mental attitude toward your problems relieves you of their burden and you can face them without fear. Has my mental attitude changed?

Meditation For The Day

You cannot see the future. It’s a blessing that you cannot. You could not bear to know all the future. That is why God only reveals it to you day by day. The first step is to lay your will before God as an offering, ready for God to do what is best for you. Be sure that, if you trust God, what He does for you will be for the best. The second step is to be confident that God is powerful enough to do anything He wills, and that no miracle in human lives is impossible with Him. Then leave the future to God.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may gladly leave my future in God’s hands. I pray that I may be confident that good things will happen, as long as I am on the right path.

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As Bill Sees It
June 28
Coping With Anger, p. 179

Few people have been more victimized by resentments than have we alcoholics. 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 “dry benders’ often led straight to the bottle.

<< << << >> >> >>

Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen. We must avoid quick-tempered criticism, furious power-driven argument, sulking, and silent scorn. These are emotional booby traps baited with pride and vengefulness. When we are tempted by the bait, we should train ourselves to step back and think. We can neither think nor act to good purpose until the habit of self-restraint has become automatic.

12 & 12
1. p. 90
2. p. 91

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Walk In Dry Places
June 28
Why it works.
Confidence.

Twelve Step meetings often begin with a reading from a famous Fifth chapter, “How it works.” We know that the program does work, but why? Is there a secret or magic to it?

The real reason the program works is neither secret nor magic. The program actually relies on ancient principles that always amaze people when they are employed: Help Others, and you help yourself. Clean up your own house. Put your trust in God, not frail human beings or shaky institutions. Remove false gods, such as alcohol and other drugs.

There may be additional reasons for the program’s success, but these are enough for a start. The Twelve Step program does work.

I’ll take comfort today in knowing that I’m walking in a way that has been tested and proven. The program works if I let it work.

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Keep It Simple
June 28

The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form.
–Stanley J. Randall

Trying to be perfect get us into trouble. Trying to be perfect means we’re trying to control things.

We may be trying to cover up something. Maybe we aren’t facing our pain. Maybe we’ve hurt someone and we need to make amends.

We need to practice being human. Humans aren’t perfect. In Steps Six and Seven, we face our human limits and our shortcomings. We then start the lifelong job of letting them go. To accept our human limits leads us to our Higher Power. We see how we need a guide in life. Our Higher Power makes a perfect guide.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me accept that I can’t be perfect. Help me be a good human being.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list my shortcoming. I’ll talk with a friend about them. I’ll ask my friend to tell me what my good qualities are.

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Each Day a New Beginning
June 28

Joy fixes us to eternity and pain fixes us to time. But desire and fear hold us in bondage to time, and detachment breaks the bond.
—Simone Weil

We live both in the material realm and the spiritual. In our material dimension we seek material pleasures, inherent in which is pain. Our human emotions are tied to our material attachments, and joy, at its fullest, is never found here. Real joy lies outside of the material dimension while living fully within us too, in the secret, small place inside where we always know that all is well.

We are on a trip in this life. And our journey is bringing us closer to full understanding of joy with every sorrowful circumstance. When you or I are one with God, have aligned our will with the will of God, we know joy. We know this, fully, that all is well. No harm can befall us.

Each circumstance in the material realm is an opportunity for us to rely on the spiritual realm for direction, security, and understanding. As we turn within, to our spiritual nature, we will know joy.

Every day in every situation I have an opportunity to discover real joy. It’s so close and so ready for my invitation.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
June 28
The Vicious Cycle

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

My next job was in sales promotion for an oil company in Mississippi, where I promptly became high man and got lots of pats on the back. Then I turned two company cars over in a short time and bingo–fired again! Oddly enough, the big shot who fired me from this company was one of the first men I met when I later joined the New York A.A. Group. He had also gone all the way through the wringer and had been dry two years when I saw him again.

pp. 223-224

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
June 28

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

But in other instances only the closest scrutiny will reveal what our true motives were. There are cases where our ancient enemy, rationalization, has stepped in and has justified conduct which was really wrong. The temptation here is to imagine that we had good motives and reasons when we really didn’t.

p. 94

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Xtra Thoughts
June 28

I can get more out of God by believing Him for one minute than by shouting at Him all night.
–Smith Wigglesworth

I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.
–Abraham Lincoln

LORD, Let me want what I have.
–Anonymous

“A positive attitude is like a fire – Unless you continue to add fuel, it goes out.”
–Alexander Lockhart

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
–John Lubbock

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

When life seems just a dreary grind; and things seem fated to annoy; say something nice to someone else and watch the world light up with joy.
–Unknown

Appreciative words are the most powerful force for good on earth!
–George W. Crane

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
June 28
WINE

“One of the disadvantages of wine is that it makes a man mistake words for thoughts.”
–Samuel Johnson

Alcohol produced problems in my life. I was unable to control my drinking and the result was catastrophe. I hurt people. I endangered my health. I ruin my productivity. I became lonely. I felt isolated. I was forever getting into arguments. The police were often involved. People who loved me had to walk away from me for their own sanity. Alcohol made my life a mess!

Today I can see this and I am glad I made the spiritual decision to refuse the first drink. Today I am getting my life together. I am becoming a productive citizen. I have friends and relationships again.  But I need to remember what I must never forget:

Alcohol + Me = Problems.

Lord, alcohol is a gift I can refuse.

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Bible Scriptures
June 28

“I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life.”
John 5:24

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
Psalm 91:14-15

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Proverbs 25:11

And your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.
Isaiah 30:21

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Daily Inspiration
June 28

Be easier on yourself and more forgiving so that you can begin to recognize the depth of the wisdom you already possess. Lord, help me look beyond my shortcomings so that I am better able to get through my difficult moments and am able to spend more time enjoying who I am.

One of life’s greatest rewards is not what we get, but what we become. Lord, teach me as I am able to learn and give me the courage to be all that I can.

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A Day At A Time
June 28

Reflection For The Day

Almost daily, I hear of seemingly mysterious coincidences in the lives of my friends in The Program.  From time to time, I’ve experienced such “coincidences” myself;  showing up at the right place at exactly the right time;  phoning a friend who, unbeknown to me, desperately needed that particular phone call at that precise moment;  hearing “my story” at an unfamiliar meeting in a strange town.  These days, I choose to believe that many of life’s so-called “coincidences” are actually small miracles of God, who prefers to remain anonymous.  Am I continually grateful for the miracle of my recovery?

Today I Pray

May my awareness of a Higher Power working in our lives grow in sensitivity as I learn, each day, of “coincidences” that defy statistics, illnesses that reverse their prognoses, hair-breadth escapes that defy death, chance meetings that change the course of a life.  When the un-understandable happens, may I perceive it as just another of God’s frequent miracles.  My own death-defying miracle is witness enough for me.

Today I Will Remember

My life is a miracle.

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One More Day
June 28

Believe and remember this:  every saint and every sinner affects those whom he will never see, because his words and deeds stamp themselves upon the soft clay of human nature everywhere.
–  Joshua Loth Liebman

In a world of billions of people, it’s easy to feel insignificant.  As a result, we might excuse ourselves for not acting upon our sense of rightness.  After all, we might reason, what difference does it make?  At those times, we’ve forgotten about the ripple effect.

Occasionally we’ve even seen our words and actions rippling from one person to another, but more often we see nothing at all.  Then we must choose — whether to bitterly reject the idea of making a difference or to trust that someone, somewhere, is being comforted by a ripple of the wave we dared to make.

My presence is felt by people I know — and by people I’ll never know.

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One Day At A Time
June 28
ISOLATION

”Solitude vivifies; isolation kills.”
Joseph Roux

As an introvert and an agoraphobic I relate to both sides of this quote. From an introverted point of view, I need solitude to regroup, renew, and refresh. It’s part of my process in life to have quiet time alone in order to “get it together”. When I’m alone and I read my OA literature and meditate on what I’m reading and learning, I’m able to gain new insight and a renewed sense of direction in my program.

From an agoraphobic point of view, isolation kills my ability to stick to my program. When my social anxiety cycles and it becomes difficult to get to meetings or make phone calls, I hide from the world ~ and from my friends and other OA members who can help me maintain my abstinence.

Solitude and Isolation are both active decisions. Both require some forethought. If solitude is what I need to in order to regroup, I have to make time for it. I have to take a walk, read a book, putter around my house. On the flip side, if I’m having a hard time with Program and my social anxiety is becoming unmanageable, I can either isolate and spiral down, or I can choose to take action and get to a meeting, make a phone call, or ask my sponsor to meet me for coffee. I don’t have to be alone in this program.

One day at a time…
I remember that I have control over my actions. Although I need solitude to heal, I don’t have to be alone in my disease.

~ Deb B.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – June 28

“Whenever you take anything from the Earth, remember to leave an offering.”
–Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE

We need to look at nature and its inhabitants as our brothers and sisters. Whenever we pick plants or herbs, we should leave an offering of tobacco. We should talk to the plants and ask their permission to use them. The plants will feel honored to be of service for each of them knows they are here to serve. Each of them knows they carry a special medicine and this medicine is about continuing the cycle of life. We need always to be grateful to our brothers and sisters.

Creator, I thank you for the opportunity of life.

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Journey To The Heart
June 28
Feel Your Feelings

You don’t have to do anything about your feelings. Understand that. Believe that. They are only feelings. Emotional energy is important. It’s important not to block it, stop it, deny it, or repress it. It’s important to discharge it. To value it. To value ourselves.

But you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to act on every feeling. You don’t need to control every emotion or let your emotions control you. Doing something is the old way, the way of control. Simply feel whatever you need to feel. Become fully and completely conscious of what you feel. Take responsibility for the way you choose to express your feelings. Then let your feelings go. Release the emotional energy.

Soon you will know what to do next, know what lesson is underway. You will naturally take the action that’s right for you to take.

All you have to do about your feelings is feel them.

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Today’s Gift
June 28

It’s the deepest channel that runs most true.
—Kate Wolf

The greatest rivers spread themselves out wide and lazy over the earth. They roll over on themselves like great turtles turning in the warm sun. A river flows, drawn to the oceans, carving ever-deepening channels, nestling snug in the earth’s welcoming lap. The current is strongest in the deepest channel. Boat navigators know that finding that channel means finding the swiftest current and the safest voyage home.

When we look at a river, or at another person, we see only the surface. What keeps our attention is usually some movement or activity on the surface. But there is more than meets the eye, especially to people. When we overlook someone because that person is quiet or simple, we may be robbing ourselves of an eye-opening discovery.

Which deeper things can I look for in my day?

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The Language of Letting Go
June 28
When Things Don’t Work

Frequently, when faced with a problem, we may attempt to solve it in a particular way. When that way doesn’t work, we may continue trying to solve the problem in that same way.

We may get frustrated, try harder, get more frustrated, and then exert more energy and influence into forcing the same solution that we have already tried and that didn’t work.

That approach makes us crazy. It tends to get us stuck and trapped. It is the stuff that unmanageability is made of.

We can get caught in this same difficult pattern in relationships, in tasks, in any area of our life. We initiate something, it doesn’t work, doesn’t flow, we feel badly, then try the same approach harder, even though it’s not working and flowing.

Sometimes, it’s appropriate not to give up and to try harder. Sometimes, it’s more appropriate to let go, detach, and stop trying so hard.

If it doesn’t work, if it doesn’t flow, maybe life is trying to tell us something. Life is a gentle teacher. She doesn’t always send neon road signs to guide us. Sometimes, the signs are more subtle. Something not working may be a sign!

Let go. If we have become frustrated by repeated efforts that aren’t producing desired results, we may be trying to force ourselves down the wrong path. Sometimes, a different solution is appropriate. Sometimes, a different path opens up. Often, the answer will emerge more clearly in the quietness of letting go than it will in the urgency, frustration, and desperation of pushing harder.

Learn to recognize when something isn’t working or isn’t flowing. Step back and wait for clear guidance.

Today, I will not make myself crazy by repeatedly trying solutions that have proven themselves unsuccessful. If something isn’t working, I will step back and wait for guidance.

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More Language Of Letting Go
June 28
Relax now

“Only two more weeks until vacation,” we say. “Two more weeks until I can relax.” Then we return to our stressful lives of running here, hurrying there, and scrambling to get this or that done.

Why wait? Why not relax today? Part of living fully in the moment is taking a break when you need it. If you are tired, take a nap. Plan an afternoon away from work. Go to the park on a Saturday morning by yourself. Take a bubble bath; order dinner out; take the kids to the zoo.

So often we feel that we are running, running, just trying to keep up with the rest of the world. It’s an illusion. Much of the time we’re running in place. Stop. The only one keeping you on the treadmill is you. Yes, we all have responsibilities. But taking time to take care of ourselves is one of our responsibilities,too.

God, grant me the peace and grace to listen to my own needs.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
June 28

We fear our highest possibility (as well as our lowest one). We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moments.
—Abraham Maslow

In our daily lives, we may dream of success and achievement. We strive and compete in the workplace. We go to meetings and do our part on each Step in the program searching for better lives. When success comes, we are faced with a new problem we could not have expected. It comes as an outcome of some hard work, some good luck, and some help from our friends. It is frightening to have a good thing in our lives and not be in control of it.

We are just as powerless over our successes as we are over the worst of our behaviors. We can only be faithful to our duties and ourselves. The successes, which flow from our work, come and go. Since we can’t nail them down, they may make us feel insecure. Many a man has destroyed his moment of success because he couldn’t stand the powerless feeling. We must return to our program and allow success to rise and fall, as it will.

Today, I turn to my Higher Power for help in accepting success.

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Daily TAO
June 28
War

Weapons are tools of ill omen
Wielded by the ignorant.
If their use is unavoidable,
The wise act with restraint.
The greatest sorrow is to be a veteran,
Witness to the atrocities of humanity.

If you hold a real weapon in your hand, you will feel its character strongly. It begs to be used. It is fearsome. Its only purpose is death, and its power is not just in the material from which it is made but also from the intention of its makers.

It is regrettable that weapons must sometimes be used, but occasionally, survival demands it. The wise go forth with weapons only as a last resort. They never rejoice in the skill of weapons, nor do they glorify war.

When death, pain, and destruction are visited upon what you hold to be most sacred, the spiritual price is devastating. What hurts more than one’s own suffering is bearing witness to the suffering of others. The regret of seeing human beings at their worst and the sheer pain of not being able to help the victims can never be redeemed. If you to personally to war, you cross the line yourself. You sacrifice ideals for survival and the fury of killing. That alters you forever. That is why no one rushes to be a veteran. Think before you want to change so unalterably. The stakes are not merely one’s life, but one’s very humanity.

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In God’s Care
June 28

Each handicap is like a hurdle in a steeple chase, and when you ride up to it, if you throw your heart over, the horse will go along, too.
~~Lawrence Bixby

Too often we let our fears prevent us from taking advantage of the opportunities God is sending our way. Part of our recovery is developing the trust that our experiences – both the painful and the joyful ones – are part of God’s design for our growth. The paradox is that trust can come only when we plunge headlong into the opportunity that’s beckoning, in spite of our fear and mistrust. This is the continual leap of faith we must make if we are to discover the full measure of joy that is meant for each of us.

Trusting others may seem difficult because of hurtful experiences in our past. But as we come to see the people who’ve hurt us as fallible, we can better accept our own handicaps and learn from them. Forgiving ourselves and others frees us to eventually trust God in every step we take, no matter how faltering.

    Today I will use each obstacle as a reminder to trust God.  My fallibility will teach me both courage and humility.

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Day By Day
June 28
    Practicing

To recover, we must change; it doesn’t happen by itself. Change requires practice. If we get lazy about our recovery, if we get smug or self-satisfied, we may stop practicing. If so, we may lose what we have gained, risk a slip, or even relapse.

In recovery, practice is all-important. Staying clean and sober takes practice. For starters, we must practice carrying the message to others who still suffer.

Higher Power, help me practice the program so that I can keep growing and recovering.

    Today I will work on…

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Food for Thought
June 28
Spiritual Awakening

Many of us remember back to a vague time in childhood when our world seemed right and we were full of enthusiasm. Somehow, somewhere along the way, we lost that feeling of rightness and security.

For some of us who experience a spiritual awakening through the OA program, childhood faith is rediscovered and takes on new meaning. We may have lost sight of our real selves and abandoned our original faith in a Higher Power. When we have a spiritual awakening as a result of the Twelve Steps, everything falls into place, and what was lost is recovered, plus much more.

This spiritual awakening continues as we continue to work the program. It gives new meaning to our present lives and new hope for the future. We see that spiritual growth is “where it’s at” and that nothing else will satisfy our needs and our longing.

May I continue to awaken.

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Faith’s Check Book
June 28
One Look from the Lord!

And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?
(Judges 6:14)

What a look was that which the Lord gave to Gideon! He looked him out of his discouragement into a holy bravery. If our look to the Lord saves us, what will not His look at us do? Lord, look on me this day and nerve me for its duties and conflicts.

What a word was this which Jehovah spoke to Gideon! “Go.” He must not hesitate. He might have answered, “What, go in all this weakness?” But the Lord put that word out of court by saying, “Go in this thy might.” The Lord had looked might into him, and he had now nothing to do but to use it and save Israel by smiting the Midianites. It may be that the Lord has more to do by me than I ever dreamed of. If He has looked upon me, He has made me strong. Let me by faith exercise the power with which He has entrusted me. He never bids me “idle away my time in this my might.” Far from it. I must “go” because He strengthens me. What a question is that which the Lord puts to me even as He put it to Gideon! “Have not I sent thee!” Yes, Lord, Thou hast sent me, and I will go in Thy strength. At Thy command I go, and, going, I am assured that Thou wilt conquer by me.

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This Morning’s Meditation
June 28

“Looking unto Jesus.”
—Hebrews 12:2.

IT is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.” Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.” Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee.

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesu’s blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesu’s name.”

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Daily Zen
June 28

Wherever and whenever
The mind is found
Attached to anything,
Make haste to detach
Yourself from it.
When you tarry for
Any length of time
It will turn again into
Your old home town.

– Daito Kokushi (1282-1334)

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