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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.

+ Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meeting Finder
+ Overeaters Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Al-Anon Online Meeting Finder

Daily Recovery Readings – June 29

Just For Today
June 29
Keeping Recovery Fresh

“Complacency is the enemy of members with substantial clean time. If we remain complacent for long, the recovery process ceases.”
Basic Text, p.80

After the first couple of years in recovery, most of us start to feel like there are no more big deals. If we’ve been diligent in working the steps, the past is largely resolved and we have a solid foundation on which to build our future. We’ve learned to take life pretty much as it comes. Familiarity with the steps allows us to resolve problems almost as quickly as they arise.

Once we discover this level of comfort, we may tend to treat it as a “rest stop” on the recovery path. Doing so, however, discounts the nature of our disease. Addiction is patient, subtle, progressive, and incurable. It’s also fatal-we can die from this disease, unless we continue to treat it. And the treatment for addiction is a vital, ongoing program of recovery.

The Twelve Steps are a process, a path we take to stay a step ahead of our disease. Meetings, sponsorship, service, and the steps always remain essential to ongoing recovery. Though we may practice our program somewhat differently with five years clean than with five months, this doesn’t mean the program has changed or become less important, only that our practical understanding has changed and grown. To keep our recovery fresh and vital, we need to stay alert for opportunities to practice our program.

Just for today: As I keep growing in my recovery, I will search for new ways to practice my program.

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Daily Reflections
June 29
A RIPPLING EFFECT

Having learned to live so happily, we’d show everyone else how. . .Yes, we of A.A. did dream those dreams. How natural that was, since most alcoholics are bankrupt idealists. . .So why shouldn’t we share our way of life with everyone?
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 156

The great discovery of sobriety led me to feel the need to spread the “good news” to the world around me. The grandiose thoughts of my drinking days returned. Later, I learned that concentrating on my own recovery was a full-time process. As I became a sober citizen in this world, I observed a rippling effect which, without any conscious effort on my part, reached any “related facility or outside enterprise,” without diverting me from my primary purpose of staying sober and helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
June 29
A.A. Thought For The Day

The program of Alcoholics Anonymous involves a continuous striving for improvement. There can be no long resting period. We must try to work at it all the time. We must continually keep in mind that it is a program not to be measured in years, because we never fully reach our goals nor are we ever cured. Our alcoholism is only kept in abeyance by daily living of the program. It is a timeless program in every sense. We live it day by day, or more precisely, moment by moment – now. Am I always striving for improvement?

Meditation For The Day

Life is all a preparation for something better to come. God has a plan for your life and it will work out, if you try to do His will. God has things planned for you, far beyond what you can imagine now. But you must prepare yourself so that you will be ready for the better things to come. Now is the time for discipline and prayer. The time of expression will come later. Life can be flooded through and through with joy and gladness. So prepare yourself for those better things to come.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may prepare myself for better things that God has in store for me. I pray that I may trust God for the future.

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As Bill Sees It
June 29
Community Problem, p. 180

The answer to the problem of alcoholism seems to be in education–education in schoolrooms, in medical colleges, among clergymen and employers, in families, and in the public at large. From cradle to grave, the drunk and the potential alcoholic will have to be completely surrounded by a true and deep understanding and by a continuous barrage of information.

This means factual education, properly presented. Heretofore, much of this education has attacked the immortality of drinking rather than the illness of alcoholism.

Now who is going to do all this education? Obviously, it is both a community job and a job for specialists. Individually, we A.A.’s can help, but A.A. as such cannot, and should not, get directly into this field. Therefore, we must rely on other agencies, on outside friends and their willingness to supply great amounts of money and effort.

Grapevine, March 1958

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Walk In Dry Places
June 29
Willingness is the Key
Strong Desire

Although willpower alone does not work in overcoming alcoholism, there is a place for the will, or willingness, in the search for a happy sobriety. Things can happen if we are willing to let them happen. More important, progress often depends on our willingness to give up what stands in our way. It also requires our willingness to take the actions necessary for success.

This same willingness, so vital to finding sobriety, is also applicable in other areas of our lives. The pioneers of AA suggested that getting sober required being willing to go to any lengths. This is the key to other achievements and to the overcoming of problems besides alcohol.

We often have to put up with unpleasant conditions simply because we do not want to change them badly enough. For example, we may dislike the unpleasant coughing and risks of smoking, but lack the willingness to quit. We may brood over lost opportunities, but be unwilling to take advantage of the opportunities we have now.

The key to constructive change in our lives is willingness…… and that applies to other matters as well as to alcohol……………I’ll try to be honest today about what I really want. I will remind myself that if I want something badly enough, willingness is the key to action and to success.

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Keep It Simple
June 29

I don’t believe in the life afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear.
—Woody Allen

Most of us have many questions about a Higher Power. Sometimes we have more questions than answers. No matter how much we believe about God, there are always questions. Why do bad things happen if God is good? Does God punish people?

Is God called Jesus, Buddha, the Great Spirit? Perhaps we’ve chosen a name for our Higher Power, or maybe we haven’t. Yet, we know there is some Power great than ourselves that’s helping us in recovery.

We know what we need to know about God for today. We know how to ask for help, and how to accept help.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to know You more clearly. There’s much I’m not sure about. For now, I will act as if the help I get comes from You.

Action for the Day: I’ll think of three ways my Higher Power has done just the right thing for me.

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Each Day a New Beginning
June 29

I am convinced, the longer I live, that life and its blessings are not so entirely unjustly distributed (as) when we are suffering greatly we are so inclined to suppose.
—Mary Todd Lincoln

Self-pity is a parasite that feeds on itself. Many of us are inclined toward self-pity, not allowing for the balance of life’s natural tragedies. We will face good and bad times-and they will pass. With certainty they will pass.

The attitude, “Why me?” hints at the little compassion we generally feel for others’ suffering. Our empathy with others, even our awareness of their suffering, is generally minimal. We are much too involved in our own. Were we less self-centered, we’d see that blessings and tragedies visit us all, in equal amounts. Some people respond to their blessings with equanimity, and they quietly remove the sting from their tragedies. We can learn to do both.

Recovery is learning new responses, feeling and behaving in healthier ways. Self-pity need not catch us. We can always feel it coming on. And we can let it go.

Self-pity may beckon, today. Fortunately, I have learned I have other choices.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
June 29
The Vicious Cycle

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

After the oil job blew up, I went back to Baltimore and Mother, my first wife having said a permanent goodbye. Then came a sales job with a national tire company. I reorganized their city sales policy and eighteen months later, when I was thirty, they offered me the branch managership. As part of this promotion, they sent me to their national convention in Atlantic City to tell the big wheels how I’d done it. At this time I was holding what drinking I did down to weekends, but I hadn’t had a drink at all in a month. I checked into my hotel room and then noticed a placard tucked under the glass on the bureau stating “There will be positively NO drinking at this convention,” signed by the president of the company. That did it! Who me? The Big Shot? The only salesman invited to talk at the convention? The man who was going to take over one of their biggest branches come Monday? I’d show ‘em who was boss! No one in that company ever saw me again–ten days later I wired my resignation.

p. 224

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
June 29

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

We “constructively criticized” someone who needed it, when our real motive was to win a useless argument. Or, the person concerned not being present, we thought we were helping others to understand him, when in actuality our true motive was to feel superior by pulling him down. We sometimes hurt those we love because they need to be “taught a lesson,” when we really want to punish. We were depressed and complained we felt bad, when in fact we were mainly asking for sympathy and attention. This odd trait of mind and emotion, this perverse wish to hide a bad motive underneath a good one, permeates human affairs from top to bottom. This subtle and elusive kind of self-righteousness can underlie the smallest act or thought. Learning daily to spot, admit, and correct these flaws is the essence of character-building and good living. An honest regret for harms done, a genuine gratitude for blessings received, and a willingness to try for better things tomorrow will be the permanent assets we shall seek.

pp. 94-95

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Xtra Thoughts
June 29

A hug is a great gift. One size fits all, it can be given for any occasion and it’s easy to exchange.
–Anon

“When you’ve got one foot in yesterday and the other in tomorrow, you can only piss on today.”
–unknown

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
–Helen Keller

Life’s short. If you don’t look around once in a while you might miss it.
–unknown

The butterfly often forgets it was a caterpillar.
–Swedish Proverb

Don’t reckon your eggs before they are laid.
–Italian Proverb

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
June 29
RISK

“We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it.”
–Mark Twain

I need to risk in life. I need to try again. I need to face life and not run from it. Early in my sobriety I was scared to try new things because I was afraid I might get hurt. I was afraid to express my feelings. I hid in the idea of simply “not drinking”.

Spirituality is about being willing to reach out into new areas, engage in new and different relationships, enjoy the richness of God’s world.  As I grow in sobriety I develop the capacity to react differently to painful situations and overcome them. I learn that mistakes can make for new conquests. That lasting joys and achievements are born in the risk.

Teach me to overcome yesterday’s sorrows with today’s optimism.

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Bible Scriptures
June 29

And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Job 42:10

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:9

“For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
Romans 8:13

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4

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Daily Inspiration
June 29

Spend less time trying to understand the behaviors of others and more time on the reasons you do things. Lord, help me to know myself better because then it will become possible to change the habits I don’t like and improve on the ones I do.

Many of God’s gifts are in the form of opportunities that we must recognize and then act upon. Lord, I will never say that You don’t answer my prayers, but I will pray that I will recognize Your answers.

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A Day At A Time
June 29

Reflection For The Day

Once we surrendered and came to The Program, many of us wondered what we could do with all the time on our hands.  All the hours we’d previously spent planning, hiding, alibiing, getting loaded, coming down, getting “well,” juggling our accounts — and all the rest — threatened to turn into empty chunks of time that somehow had to be filled.  We needed new energy previously absorbed by our addictions.  We soon realized that substituting a new and different activity is far easier than just stopping the old activity and putting nothing in its place.  Am I redirecting my mind and energy?

Today I Pray

I pray that, once free of the encumbrance of my addiction.  I may turn to my Higher Power to discover for me how to fill my time constructively and creatively.  May that same Power that makes human paths cross and links certain people to specific situations, lead me along good new roads into good new places.

Today I Will Remember

Happenstance may be more than chance.

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One More Day
June 29

Give thanks for sorrow that teaches you pity;  for pain that teaches you courage –  and give exceeding thanks for the mystery which remains a mystery still — the veil that hides you from the infinite, which makes it possible for you to believe in what you cannot see.
–  Robert Nathan

We cannot run away from problems.  Tremendous problems — like a spouse with a chronic illness — must be confronted and resolved.  Fears can be overwhelming.  Tasks se4em endless, and the challenge seems to great.  It is comforting to realize we face nothing alone.

We can’t always be courageous, but fear is dispelled by our inner strength, by our trust that we will overcome problems and do as well as is possible.  We can talk to ourselves in positive ways.

I will not allow fear and panic to overtake me today.  Courage will open the door to wisdom and peace of mind.

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One Day At A Time
June 29
RESENTMENT

”When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
–Catherine Ponder

I once had a situation in which someone I was acquainted with said unkind things about my weight and verbally attacked my spouse in front of my daughter. I worried and revisited the situation over and over for many years until the anger turned to resentment and became a major, entrenched grudge. Because so many of my eating issues stem from emotional ones, this would drive me to eat in an effort to dull, numb and forget my anger. That didn’t work ~ the eating didn’t stop that anger from turning into resentment.

When I would complain about this situation to a friend, she told me that I had to stop allowing that person to “rent space in my mind.” I came to realize that I had allowed — and even nurtured — a negative energetic link to that person and situation. I couldn’t let go of resentment until I was willing to take the needed steps in program and to forgive. Forgiving doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything from the situation, and I haven’t forgotten the unkind words. But I learned that I needed to be more cautious in my dealings with this type of individual. I learned I can’t surround myself with people who are overly-negative and say poisonous things without accepting any accountability for their actions. I have learned that I can be accountable for mine, and that I no longer have to allow myself to be bound by an emotional link to the situation.

One day at a time…
I will ask my Higher Power to help me to learn to forgive and forget. With the help of my Higher Power, I will let go of unnecessary baggage that causes resentment.

~ Deb B.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – June 29

“We forget so we consider ourselves superior. But we are, after all, a mere part of the creation and we must consider to understand where we are and we stand somewhere between the mountain and the Ant. Somewhere and only there is a part and parcel of the creation.”
–Chief Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA

Every human being gathers information from the center of a circle. If we are not careful, we soon think we are the center of all things. Therefore, it is easy to become self centered. Once we become self centered we start to think we are above all things and therefore superior. But we are really only one part of a great whole.

The universe is all connected. Each part is here to do something special and according to its design. We are here to honor and respect the job of each part. We are neither above nor below anything. We need not be ruler over anything, we need only to live in honor and harmony with the system.

My Creator, help me to view and conduct myself in a manner of respect, dignity and honor to all creation. Let me see You in all things.

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Journey To The Heart
June 29
Stay Clear

Sometimes we don’t tell other people what we’re feeling. Sometimes we don’t tell ourselves.

Often on this journey, provocative events happen. We may become resentful. Angry. Or frightened. Emotional energy builds up within. If we don’t take the time to work it out, the emotion becomes a block. It blocks the channel to ourselves, it can block our connections to others and to God.

We may think we’re being polite and appropriate by not saying what we feel. We may think that most thoughts and emotions are so minor it would be a waste of time to acknowledge and express each and every one of them. It’s true that some aren’t worth mentioning, but many are. We need to take the time to feel and release the thoughts and beliefs that are important to us.

Is a relationship blocked? Are we feeling something we’re unable to discuss? The feeling won’t disappear. The energy of the unexpressed feeling will be present, blocking our connection until we take the time to get it out. We may not tell the other person what we’re feeling, but all of us are wiser than we think. And our bodies and emotions will begin reacting to what’s denied, despite what we say.

Many of us experiment with the technique of using affirmations to try to further our growth. The same principle applies. If we say we love ourselves, but we’ve got a chunk of self-reproach tucked down deep inside, we’ll continue to act as if we dislike ourselves until we clear the other energy out.

What are you feeling? No, what are you really feeling? Ask yourself as often as you need to. Then take the time to feel and release the emotion, thought, or belief.

You’ve connected to yourself. You’re connected to the world around you. Now, keep your connections clear.

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Today’s Gift
June 29

Let us open our natures, throw wide the doors of our hearts and let in the sunshine of good will and kindness.
—O. S. Marden

Kindness is among the gifts we can most easily spread among others. The more we give of kind words and deeds, the more we discover that kindness is like a burning candle which lights many other candles without losing a trace of its own brightness. Our kindnesses are assets, which return unexpected dividends when we invest them in the happiness of others. Kindness is the very basis of love. It softens the most severe anger and gladdens the hardest hearts.

No kindness is too small to win and hold the affection of others because it is made up of gentleness, love, generosity, unselfishness, and caring.

What kindness do I have to offer today?

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More Language Of Letting Go
June 29
Meditate

A mind too active is no mind at all.
–Theodore Roethke

It’s possible to learn to relax into the ordinary aspects in your life. Be aware of those normal moments; relax; allow your mind to be quiet. Allow your spirit to speak to you in those moments.

Look at the family sitting at breakfast, the birds gathered around the feeder, the dew on the grass when you step outside to pick up the morning paper, the pattern of the shadows on the walk in the moonlight.Be aware of the beauty of the ordinary. Be aware of these soothing moments and make the most of them. When you learn to be aware and relax into the ordinary, it will be easier to relax in the stressful moments when you need clarity and focus.

The practice of meditation is a practice of mindfulness. It is a practice of becoming aware of and in tune with our bodies, our spirit, and the spirit of God. One of the goals of meditation is to reach a point when we can carry this mindfulness with us throughout the day. When we can still the noise of our chattering minds, we can see the path with heart that we are to follow.

God, help me quiet my noisy, worrisome mind in my ordinary world. Help me to relax in the familiar and to be aware of and appreciate it.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
June 29

A good indignation brings out all one’s powers.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Anger is a human emotion that gets us in touch with our energy and our vitality. But like any good thing, it can also be used in hurtful ways. When we examine the role anger has played in our lives, some of us can see where we used it to intimidate and dominate others. Maybe we can recall being terrified by someone else’s anger or even by our own. Some of us denied our anger and covered it with excessive helpfulness.

Examining the place anger has had in our lives is one of the doorways we must pass through to regain our full masculine spirit. We learn to set aside the anger we used to cover fear or hurt. We express it respectfully and honestly when we feel it in a relationship. Expressing anger does not have to be abusive or rejecting. It can mean we care enough to be fully involved and we will not leave after we express it. We can learn to hear others in their anger rather than attempt to control or evade their message. In the process we are invigorated and feel healthier because we are claiming a larger part of ourselves.

Today, I will first be honest with myself about angry feelings. Then I will find respectful ways to express them.

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Daily TAO
June 29
Force

A sword is never sheathed
Until it has tasted blood.
A good swordsman
Is seldom seen with a sword.

Many centuries ago, there was a wanderer who was constantly chased by assassins. He was the best swordsman in the country. His challengers wanted to overcome him and thereby establish their own fame. Although the swordsman had long ago repented his killing and had renounced his status, he was still considered the best.

Over and over, his enemies came for him, and just as many times he defeated them using things at hand – umbrella, fan, sticks. He did not draw a real sword for he knew he was far too lethal when armed.

So it is that the wise remain humble so that others are not aroused against them. They avoid conflict whenever possible. If trouble comes to seek them, they use only the bare amount of force in return. To go further is to fall into excess.

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In God’s Care
June 29

The very best and utmost of attainment in this life is to remain still and let God act and speak in thee.
~~Meister Eckhart

Many of us find it hard to meditate because our mind is going at a furious pace. It’s not easy to quiet our thoughts; we have so much to say. We are so occupied with this mental chatter that we can’t hear God. God cannot get through to us in all the noise. We have to learn to be still.

This takes practice. We can’t just sit down and command silence; our mind is too accustomed to doing as it pleases. Our first step in meditation, therefore, is to be patient. Our mind will gradually quiet down as we wait, praying for silence, and putting ourselves in God’s presence. Focusing on that, we give God an opening. Guidance will follow.

    I will take time today to be still and hear God.

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Day By Day
June 29
    Living the “today” approach

We must understand from the very beginning that in the program, we learn to live one day at a time. We learn, for example, not to take that first fix, pill, or drink “today.” This is easier for us to do than to think of abstaining for years or a lifetime.

But many of us miss the fact that the “today” approach can be applied to all areas of our life, not just abstinence. It helps if we can deal with issues such as love, sex, death, honesty, and resentments one day at a time. God expects no more of us than to do what we can do today.

Am I living “today” today?

    God, help me live the “today” approach in all areas of my life.

    Today I will apply the “today” approach to…

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Food for Thought
June 29
The Joy of Abstaining

For someone who has suffered the physical, emotional, and spiritual anguish of compulsive overeating, abstaining is not a restriction but a release. We are released from indigestion, lethargy, fat, and the torment of never-satisfied craving.

If we dwell on the negative aspects of abstaining, such as the foods we are not eating, we will be unhappy. If we continue to concentrate on food, rather than on life and the spirit, we will find it difficult to abstain. The OA program gives us a new set of priorities and opens the door to new life if we are willing to leave our preoccupation with food outside and walk in.

It is good to feel full of energy rather than full of food. It is satisfying to discover new ways to give. There is deep joy in day-by-day spiritual growth. All of these joys become ours through abstaining.

We give thanks for the joy of abstaining.

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Daily Zen
June 29

South and north, sharing
A single mountain gate,
Above and below, two temples
Both named T’ien-chu.
Dwelling therein is
An old dharma master,
Built tall and skinny
Like stork or swan.
I do not know what
Practice he engages in,
But his green eyes
Reflect the mountain valleys.
Just looking into them
Makes one feel fresh and pure,
As if all one’s baneful vexations had been cleansed.

– Su Shih (1073)

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Faith’s Check Book
June 29
Invitation to Pray

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3)

God encourages us to pray. They tell us that prayer is a pious exercise which has no influence except upon the mind engaged in it. We know better. Our experience gives the lie a thousand times over to this infidel assertion. Here Jehovah, the living God, distinctly promises to answer the prayer of His servant. Let us call upon Him again and admit no doubt upon the question of His hearing us and answering us. He that made the ear, shall He not hear? He that gave parents a love to their children, will He not listen to the cries of His own sons and daughters!

God will answer His pleading people in their anguish. He has wonders in store for them. What they have never seen, heard of, or dreamed of, He will do for them. He will invent new blessings if needful. He will ransack sea and land to feed them: He will send every angel out of heaven to succor them if their distress requires it. He will astound us with His grace and make us feel that it was never before done in this fashion. All He asks of us is that we will call upon Him. He cannot ask less of us. Let us cheerfully render Him our prayers at once.

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This Morning’s Meditation
June 29

“Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.”—1 Thessalonians 4:14.

YET us not imagine that the soul sleeps in insensibility. “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise,” is the whisper of Christ to every dying saint. They “sleep in Jesus,” but their souls are before the throne of God, praising Him day and night in His temple, singing hallelujahs to Him who washed them from their sins in His blood. The body sleeps in its lonely bed of earth, beneath the coverlet of grass. But what is this sleep? The idea connected with sleep is “rest,” and that is the thought which the Spirit of God would convey to us. Sleep makes each night a Sabbath for the day. Sleep shuts fast the door of the soul, and bids all intruders tarry for a while, that the life within may enter its summer garden of ease. The toil-worn believer quietly sleeps, as does the weary child when it slumbers on its mother’s breast. Oh! happy they who die in the Lord; they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them. Their quiet repose shall never be broken until God shall rouse them to give them their full reward. Guarded by angel watchers, curtained by eternal mysteries, they sleep on, the heritors of glory, till the fulness of time shall bring the fulness of redemption. What an awaking shall be theirs! They were laid in their last resting place, weary and worn, but such they shall not rise. They went to their rest with the furrowed brow, and the wasted features, but they wake up in beauty and glory. The shrivelled seed, so destitute of form and comeliness, rises from the dust a beauteous flower. The winter of the grave gives way to the spring of redemption and the summer of glory. Blessed is death, since it, through the divine power, disrobes us of this work-day garment, to clothe us with the wedding garment of incorruption. Blessed are those who “sleep in Jesus.”

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