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

Daily Recovery Readings - March 1

Just For Today
March 1
Anxiety Attack?

“[The] Power that brought us to this program is still with us and will continue to guide us if we allow it.”
Basic Text, p. 26

Ever had a panic attack? Everywhere we turn, life’s demands overwhelm us. We’re paralyzed, and we don’t know what to do about it. How do we break an anxiety attack?

First, we stop. We can’t deal with everything at once, so we stop for a moment to let things settle. Then we take a “spot inventory” of the things that are bothering us. We examine each item, asking ourselves this question: “How important is it, really?” In most cases, we’ll find that most of our fears and concerns don’t need our immediate attention. We can put those aside, and focus on the issues that really need to be resolved right away. Then we stop again and ask ourselves, “Who’s in control here, anyway?” This helps remind us that our Higher Power is in control.

We seek our Higher Power’s will for the situation, whatever it is. We can do this in any number of ways: through prayer, talks with our sponsor or NA friends, or by attending a meeting and asking others to share their experience. When our Higher Power’s will becomes clear to us, we pray for the ability to carry it out. Finally, we take action.

Anxiety attacks need not paralyze us. We can utilize the resources of the NA program to deal with anything that comes our way.

Just for today: My Higher Power has not brought me all this way in recovery only to abandon me! When anxiety strikes, I will take specific steps to seek God’s continuing care and guidance.

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Daily Reflections
March 1
IT WORKS

It works — it really does.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 88

When I got sober I initially had faith only in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Desperation and fear kept me sober (and maybe a caring and/or tough sponsor helped!). Faith in a Higher Power came much later. This faith came slowly at first, after I began listening to others share at meetings about their experiences — experiences that I had never faced sober, but that they were facing with strength from a Higher Power. Out of their sharing came hope that I too would — and could — “get” a Higher Power. In time, I learned that a Higher Power — a faith that works under all conditions — is possible. Today this faith, plus the honesty, openmindedness and willingness to work the Steps of the program, gives me the serenity that I seek. It works — it really does.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
March 1
A.A. Thought For The Day

When I find myself thinking about taking a drink, I say to myself. “Don’t reach out and take that problem back. You’ve given it to God and there’s nothing you can do about it.” So I forget about the drink. One of the most important parts of the A.A. program is to give our drink problem to God honestly and fully and never to reach out and take the problem back to ourselves. If we let God have it and keep it for good and then cooperate with Him, we’ll stay sober. Have I determined not to take the drink problem back to myself?

Meditation For The Day

Constant effort is necessary if I am to grow spiritually and develop my spiritual life. I must keep the spiritual rules persistently, perseveringly, lovingly, patiently, and hopefully. By keeping them, every mountain of difficulty shall be laid low, the rough places of poverty of spirit shall be made smooth, and all who know me shall know that God is the Lord of all my ways. To get close to the spirit of God is to find life and healing and strength.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that God’s spirit may be everything to my soul. I pray that God’s spirit may grow within me.

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As Bill Sees It
March 1
Brain Power Alone?, p. 60

To the intellectually self-sufficient man or woman, many A.A.’s can say, “Yes, we were like you–far too smart for our own good. We loved to have people call us precocious. We used our education to blow ourselves up into prideful balloons, though we were careful to hide this from others. Secretly, we felt we could float above the rest of the folks on our brain power alone.

“Scientific progress told us there was nothing man couldn’t do. Knowledge was all powerful. Intellect could conquer nature. Since we were brighter than most folks (so we thought), the spoils of victory would be ours for the thinking. The god of intellect displaced God of our fathers.

“But John Barleycorn had other ideas. We who had won so handsomely in a walk turned into all-time losers. We saw that we had to reconsider or die.”

12 & 12, pp. 29-30

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Walk in Dry Places
March 1
Danger in excitement
Mood alterations

The lure of excitement is hard to understand. While we may think of ourselves as sensible, practical people, the hard truth is that many alcoholics have a strong need to feel excited. This excitement can take many forms, and some of them are dangerous.

One lure of excitement comes through the impulsive need for change. Some of us have had weird habits of suddenly quitting jobs and pulling up stakes for no reason other than being bored. An even more destructive attraction is the belief that a new romance can restore our zest for living and bring new joys and happiness.

The sober truth is that nobody can live sensibly and sanely by seeking continuous excitement and stimulation. We are better off with steady growth in the patterns we know best than with seeking excitement that finally leads to destruction.

At the same time, we should not belittle the pleasures and joys we get through ordinary living. If we earn those pleasures and joys through responsible actions, they will give us far more happiness than momentary feelings of excitement.

In quietness and confidence is our strength. I do not need to be excited in any way today. I am more effective and more in control when I am not being swayed by feverish emotion that distorts my judgment.

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Keep It Simple
March 1

Made the decision to turn our will and lives over to God as we understand Him.
–Step Three

Care. This is what turn our will and lives over to care of our Higher Power. What peace follows! We see our God as caring, as loving. We turn everything over to this Higher Power, who can take better care of us than we can by ourselves. Care can guide us. If we want to do something, we can ask ourselves, “Would my Higher Power see this as an act of care?” If the answer is yes, then we go ahead. If the answer is no, we don’t it. If we can’t be sure, we wait and talk it over with our friends and sponsor. We wait until we know whether it would be an act of care or not. What wonderful guidance!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I give to You my will. I give to you my life. I gladly jump into Your loving arms.

Action for the day: Today, I’ll care about others. I’ll find as many as I can to care for others.

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Each Day a New Beginning
March 1

What a strange pattern the shuttle of life can weave.
–Frances Marion

Each experience we have plays its part in the total picture of our lives. The steps we have taken, the path we travel today, and our direction tomorrow are not by chance. There is a pattern. We each have a destiny. We may have veered off the path in the past, and we may veer off it again. But we’ll be guided back, and our paths intersect. None of us is traveling alone. We have each other and the creative force that is at the helm.

When we look around us and reflect on how our lives are influenced by the persons close to us, we become aware that our presence affects their lives as well. Most of us could never have predicted the events that have influenced us. Nor can we anticipate what the future may hold. We can be certain, however, that we are safe; a power greater than ourselves is orchestrating our affairs.

There were times we feared we’d never survive an experience. Perhaps we still struggle with fears about new experiences. But every experience adds a necessary thread to the pattern our life is weaving. We have the gift of reflection. We can understand, today, the importance of particular events of the past. Next month, next year, we’ll understand today.

I shall enjoy the richness of today. My life is weaving an intricate, necessary pattern that is uniquely mine.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
March 1
MY BOTTLE, MY RESENTMENTS, AND ME

– From childhood trauma to skid row drunk, this hobo finally found a Higher Power, bringing sobriety and a long-lost family.

As the months following the day we quit drinking have turned into years, I have become increasingly more devoted to this program that saved not only my life, but my wife’s also. Eventually I became involved in A.A. service and helped get a central office started for our groups. We both became active in general service and began traveling all over the state going to meetings. To my surprise, both of us were given the opportunity to serve as the delegates to the General Service Conference. What joy we found in this! One of my most memorable moments was when at the opening of the conference the chairman of A.A.’s General Service Board said: “We are all gathered here tonight, not as individuals, but for the betterment of Alcoholics Anonymous all over the world.” The years flashed back to when I was on the grates outside that very hotel, frantically trying to keep from freezing. I was overwhelmed by God’s grace just to be there!

p. 444

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
March 1

Step Two – “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

The moment they read Step Two, most A.A. newcomers are confronted with a dilemma, sometimes a serious one. How often have we heard them cry out, “Look what you people have done to us! You have convinced us that we are alcoholics and that our lives are unmanageable. Having reduced us to a state of absolute helplessness, you now declare that none but a Higher Power can remove our obsession. Some of us won’t believe in God, others can’t, and still others
who do believe that God exists have no faith whatever He will perform this miracle. Yes, you’ve got us over the barrel, all right–but where do we go from here?”

p. 25

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Xtra Thoughts
March 1

Those who laugh…last.
–Cited in BITS & PIECES

Don’t give up before the miracle happens.
–Unknown

“When I dig another out of trouble, the hole from which I lift him is the place where I bury my own.”
–Chinese proverb

“Winners do what they have to do and losers do what they want.”
–Unknown

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.
–Bruce Lee

“The spiritual journey, the path of recovery and personal growth, is a detoxification process in which we bring up and out the negative beliefs we have carried with us from the past and that now poison the present.”
–Marianne Williamson

“The principles you live by create the world you live in; if you change the principles you live by, you will change your world.”
— Blaine Lee

Sometimes there are no answers, there are only examples.
–Mark Kostew

Part of intimacy with God is listening.
–Lori Sweety

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
March 1
UNDERSTANDING

“Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand.”
— Saint Augustine

Today I understand that God is love and that it makes more sense to live my life with love than with anger, resentment and despair. I know that the answer to life, with all the problems that may arise, is love.  Not simply loving those people who love me, but beginning to love and understand those who dislike or hate me. Being imperfect people in an imperfect world produces enemies. Today I love my world by listening to my critics, changing unreasonable attitudes, growing in the humility that comes from silence. Change is part of God’s blessing of love.

This I believe. This I understand. And step by step it is beginning to work in my life.

May my love for the world give me an understanding of self.

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Bible Scriptures
March 1

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 31:24

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
Hebrews 12:15

“Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles.”
Isaiah 40:31.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Matthew 4:4

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6

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Daily Inspiration
March 1

If you look for things that make you happy, those are the things that you’ll find. Lord, help me remember how lucky I am to be alive and how much goodness surrounds me.

Determination and faith will carry you through to your goals. Lord, You and I together can accomplish my dreams.

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A Day At A Time
March 1

Reflection For The Day

Now that we’re free and no longer chemically-dependent, we have so much more control over our thinking.  More than anything, we’re able to alter our attitudes.  Some members of Alcoholics Anonymous, in fact, choose to think of the letters AA as an abbreviation for “Altered Attitudes.”  In the bad old days, I almost always responded to any optimistic or positive statement with “Yes, but…”  Today, in contrast, I’m learning to eliminate that negative phrase from my vocabulary.  Am I working to change my attitude?  Am I determined to “accentuate the positive…”?

Today I Pray

May I find that healing and strength which God provides to those who stay near Him.  May I keep to the spiritual guidelines of The Program.  Considering the Steps, taking the Steps — one by one — then practicing them again and again.  In this is my salvation.

Today I Will Remember

To practice at least one Step.

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One More Day
March 1

There is no way to peace.  Peace is the way.
–  A.  J.  Muste

So often we look for the easy answers and quick remedies.  We want to reach our goals — now.  Whatever we’re looking for (peace, love, acceptance) we may be making the mistake of seeing these qualities as concrete, hold-in-my-hand goals.

Gradually, we’re coming to the understanding that those qualities we seek are not destinations; they are paths and directions; we can consiously take.  We can’t go out and find love, but we can choose to be loving.  There is no path to peace or to acceptance or to understanding, but we can base our lives on these qualities, and by doing so we claim them.

What I seek may already be within my soul.

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One Day At A Time
March 1
ANONYMITY

Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.  Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.  Just walk beside me and be my friend.
–Albert Camus

When I first joined OA, the tool and tradition of Anonymity seemed a little strange to me. What’s wrong with people knowing what members do for work? I’m not ashamed of my career, why should I not talk about it? What’s with this cult-like behavior around initials for names? And what do they mean by Anonymity being the spiritual foundation of recovery?

And then, bit by bit, it dawned on me. When we don’t talk about our jobs, when we don’t care about our last names, three very important things happen. First, we don’t get distracted. Second, it makes us all equal. Third, it starts us on the road of leaving judgment behind. An Elizabeth is just an Elizabeth, whether she’s a queen, a unemployed single mother or an actress. The equality that comes with that means that I am not more or less, not better or worse than you. This equality strengthens our unity. We are all in the same boat. And with this equality we can row in unity towards recovery.

One day at a time …
I will remember that my fellow OA members are my equals, that I can let go of judgment, and that the freedom that comes with this helps me concentrate on recovery.

~ Isabella

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day March 1

“The beginning is purification, that’s the first step. And purification means purification of body and mind. You don’t purify the body without cleansing the mind; that’s the way it works.”
–Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE

If we have bad thoughts or poison in our minds, they will eventually show up in our bodies in the form of headaches, pains, and stomach problems. It works this way because we are interconnected. Our minds and our bodies are one system. So when we start to grow, or commit to the Red Road, we need to start cleaning up our thoughts and start showing respect for our bodies. We start purifying our minds by prayer and meditation, and we start cleansing our bodies by getting the right amount of sleep and developing good eating habits. Today, I’m going to observe my thoughts. Will my thoughts be clean today?

Great Spirit, let me focus on Your love today so my mind will be pure.

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Journey to the heart for March
March 1
Find Healing and Magic Within Yourself

She was an Osage shaman. Her land, next to Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona, was landscaped with a totem pole, a fire pit, a bridge leading to her house, and a garden of flowers and rocks. A river ran across her property, singing to all who quieted themselves enough to listen. A teepee stood close by, one used to house the sweat lodge ceremonies.

It was during one such ceremony I had met her. I returned later to talk with her for a while. She welcomed me back, welcomed all who visited her to return to her land. She didn’t call it her land, she called it the land. She said it belonged to us all.

“You don’t have to take this journey,” she said. “You don’t have to travel around searching for spiritual spots. All the wisdom, the experiences, the spiritual places you seek on this quest are within you.”

While it’s fun to go on a trip, and trips often coincide with going to new places in our personal lives, we don’t have to load up the car and hit the road to find what we’re looking for. The places of power we seek are within us. Places of comfort, joy, wisdom, silence, healing, peace. The places we visit often reflect those qualities, reinforce them, remind us that they’re there. But the places, the locations we visit, are only mirrors, extensions of ourselves.

The healing and magic we seek are not someplace else. They are within each of us.

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Today’s Gift
March 1

The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.
—Ursula LeGuin

The world around us changes constantly. Trees turn from green to beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and brown in the fall. Yet, even if we watched the trees carefully, every minute of the day, we could not actually see the colors change. Change requires time, preparation, and patience.

To make the changes we want, we need to let go of unhealthy but comfortable patterns that we’re stuck in, the way the trees let their colors change and finally let go of their leaves altogether. We can’t have total change right now, no matter how much we want it. It’s important to accept both who we are now and who we are becoming. Just as the tree trusts without question that its leaves will grow and lets go of them when the time comes, we can believe in our own power to grow and let go of our accomplishments when the time is right.

When we do, we can be assured that our lives will blossom again, like trees in the spring coming to life after a cold winter.

Do I have any new blossoms today?

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The Language of Letting Go
March 1
Letting Go of Anger

In recovery, we often discuss anger objectively. Yes, we reason, it’s an emotion we’re all prone to experience. Yes, the goal in recovery is to be free of resentment and anger. Yes, it’s okay to feel angry, we agree. Well, maybe. . . .

Anger is a powerful and sometimes frightening emotion. It’s also a beneficial one if it’s not allowed to harden into resentment or used as a battering ram to punish or abuse people.

Anger is a warning signal. It points to problems. Sometimes, it signals problems we need to solve. Sometimes, it points to boundaries we need to set. Sometimes, it’s the final burst of energy before letting go, or acceptance, settles in.

And, sometimes, anger just is. It doesn’t have to be justified. It usually can’t be confined to a tidy package. And it need not cause us to stifle our energy or ourselves.

We don’t have to feel guilty whenever we experience anger. We don’t have to feel guilty.

Breathe deeply. We can shamelessly feel all our feelings, including anger, and still take responsibility for our behaviors.

I will feel and release any angry feelings I have today. I can do that appropriately and safely.

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More Language Of Letting Go
March 1
Learn to say whatever

“Do you have issues with drama addiction?” I asked my daughter one day, in a serious interviewer kind of voice.

“Of course I do,” she said. “I’m the original drama queen.”

“Can I interview you about it?” I asked.

There was a long pause on the phone. “I’ve got a better suggestion,” she said. “Why don’t you interview yourself?”

I’ve been addicted to many things this lifetime– alcohol, heroin, morphine, Dilaudid, cocaine, barbituates, Valium, and any other substance that physically or psychologically promised to change the way I feel. I’ve been addicted to caffeine, tobacco and nicotine– cigarettes and Cuban cigars– and opium and hashish,too. I’ve been caught up in other people’s addictions to these substances as well. Some people might say I have an addictive personality. I don’t know if I agree with the concept that we can become addicted to people, but if the folks say you can are right. I’ve probably been addicted to certain of those,too.

But of all the addictions possible on this planet, I’ve found my addiction to drama absolutely the hardest to recognize, accept, deal with, and overcome. The rush of emotional energy I feel from drama at the theater, on television (small or big screen), in a book, and most preferably acted out in real life (mine) is the last legal, legitimate jones that society allows.

It’s not politically correct to smoke, act out sexually, be a nonrecovering alcoholic, or shoot drugs. But despite all the evolution in consciousness that’s unfolded and gotten us to this point, drama addiction is more than politically correct.

Drama addiction is in. Right now, for many people, it’s one of the only things giving meaning to life.

Potential guests line up, volunteering to have their relationship and court battles– things which once were guarded secrets– broadcast on international cable and satellite TV. Our society can’t wait to peek and snoop into their lives. Broadcasting real-life soap operas guarantees the ratings will soar.

In 1999, I wrote the above words in a chapter on drama addiction in my book called Playing It By Heart. But the concept of drama addiction, and transcending it, has been around for a long, long time.

In 1937, author Emmet Fox wrote an essay in Find and Use Your Inner Power. The essay’s title was “Don’t Be a Tragedy Queen.”

“Self pity, by making us feel sorry for ourselves, seems to provide an escape from responsibility, but it is a fatal drug nevertheless,” he wrote. “It confuses the feelings, blinds the reason, and puts us at the mercy of outer conditions. … Don’t be a tragedy queen– whether you are a man or a woman, for it is not a question of gender but of mental outlook. Absolutely repudiate a crown of martyrdom. If you cannot laugh at yourself (which is the best medicine of all), at least try to handle the difficulty in an objective way, as though it concerned somebody else.”

Maybe the antithesis to being a drama king or queen has been around even longer than that.

Three tiny Buddha statues sit before me on my writing desk. One is Serene. One is Smiling. One is Sorrowful, doubled over in compassion for the world. All you can see is the top of his head.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is within you,” Jesus said.

“Nirvana is a state of consciousness,” wrote Anne Bancroft, in an introduction to the Dhammapada, a book containing the teachings of Buddha.

Enlightenment and paradise aren’t places we visit. They’re within our hearts and heads.

Say, “It’s a nightmare,” if you must. Even say, “Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening, much less happening to me.” But whether you say the words with calmness and serenity, bursting with laughter or a mere giggle, or doubled over with compassion for the pain of the world, learning to speak the language of letting go in the days, months, and years of the millennium ahead means learning to say whatever,too.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
March 1

As my fathers planted for me, so do I plant for my children.
—The Talmud

The first seeds of this spiritual program were planted years ago by men who also were desperately in need. Rather than restrict their attention to their own painful circumstances, they broke through to a new creative idea – it is in helping others that we help ourselves. They reached out eagerly to help fellow men and women in need. In the process they carried the message to others and found new healing relationships for themselves. This program, which is saving our lives, is here because men before us were willing to reach out and pass it along.

We inherit countless resources and teachings from both our biological and our “foster” fathers in this program. The gift of a spiritually full life inspires and requires us to do as they did – pass it on. We keep the benefits of our recovery, not by holding on to them, but by planting new seeds from our harvest for those who come after us.

I will give freely of my time and resources because the giving enriches me.

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DailyTAO
March 1
CELIBACY

In winter, animals do not mate.
Preserve your Tao
By preserving your essence.

We follow the Tao of the universe with great effort, but Tao is within us too. It is not something abstract, not something conceptual. Our personal Tao is our very life force. This energy begins with the physical and extends into the spiritual.

The source of this energy is partly chemical : our hormones, nutrition from food, and genetics. Whatever we have that is spiritual arises from these substances. Followers of Tao call this the essence. Preservation of this essence through sexual conservation is crucial. This doesn’t mean suppression of sexuality, for the impulse to make love is natural and irrepressible; it means to harmonize sexuality with spirituality.

The follower of Tao makes love according to the seasons. In winter, it should be less or not at all; in spring, it may be at its most frequent. The young should restrict themselves to about once every three days, while the middle-aged should reduce it once a week, and the elderly even less than that. The secret is not to indulge too much, without killing one’s sexuality altogether.

 

Overindulgence is to waste one’s resources. Suppression kills the body on its most basic level. Find the proper balance, and you will have a happy life and full spirituality.

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DailyZen
March 1

Too much knowledge leads to overactivity;
Better to calm the mind.
The more you consider, the greater the loss;
Better to unify the mind.

Water dripping ceaselessly
Will fill the four seas.
Specks of dust not wiped away
Will become the five mountains.

– Wang Ming (6th century)

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Food for Thought
March 1
Other People’s Problems

Sometimes we wear ourselves out trying to solve another person’s problem. Is this not perhaps a form of egotism? We feel that somehow we should have all the answers and be able to find a solution to every problem, especially when someone close to us is in trouble.

We may be sympathetic and supportive and helpful, but we cannot play the role of God in another person’s life. Even our children must learn from their mistakes, just as we continue to learn from our own. If I trust my Higher Power to lead and direct me, then surely He will also direct my family and friends.

The best thing I can do for anyone else is to maintain my own sanity and sobriety. If I eat over a problem–whether it is mine or yours or ours–then I am less able to deal with it.

There are times when no solution seems forthcoming, when an unfortunate or tragic circumstance must be accepted and lived with in the best manner possible. We may not be able to change the circumstance, but we can be sure that God will give us the strength to deal with it.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

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In God’s Care
March 1

“Came to believe”: The three most beautiful words in our language.
~~Anonymous

“Came to believe” has become a magical phrase for many of us. It is indeed beautiful What did we come to believe? That a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. And it has happened in so many lives that it is a tenet of our program. The lost have come home; we’ve been restored.

As we enjoy the fruits of recovery, though, we sometimes fail to relize that insanity isn’t far away; it’s just around the corner. And when we experience that insanity, it isn’t that God has moved but that our faith has wandered and shaken hands with the craziness of self-sufficiency.

Coming to believe isn’t usually a sudden happening, but a gradual change. And with daily renewal, it makes our life work.

“Came to believe”: those three beautiful words remind me today that I didn’t get here alone.

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Faith’s Check Book
March 1
Joy for the Cast-Out

Hear the Word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his guard; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. (Isaiah 66:5)

Possibly this text may not apply to one in a thousand of the readers of this little book of promises; but the Lord cheers that one in such words as these. Let us pray for all such as are cast out wrongfully from the society which they love. May the Lord appear to their joy!

The text applies to truly gracious men who tremble at the word of the Lord. These were hated of their brethren and at length cast out because of their fidelity and their holiness. This must have been very bitter to them; and all the more so because their casting out was done in the name of religion, and professedly with the view of glorifying God. How much is done for the devil in the name of God! The use of the name of Jehovah to add venom to the bite of the old serpent is an instance of his subtlety.

The appearing of the Lord for them is the hope of His persecuted people. He appears as the advocate and defender of His elect; and when He does so it means a clear deliverance for the God-fearing and shame for their oppressors. O Lord, fulfill this word to those whom men are deriding!

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This Morning’s Meditation
March 01
C. H. Spurgeon

“Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.”—Song of Solomon 4:16.

ANYTHING is better than the dead calm of indifference. Our souls may wisely desire the north wind of trouble if that alone can be sanctified to the drawing forth of the perfume of our graces. So long as it cannot be said, “The Lord was not in the wind,” we will not shrink from the most wintry blast that ever blew upon plants of grace. Did not the spouse in this verse humbly submit herself to the reproofs of her Beloved; only entreating Him to send forth His grace in some form, and making no stipulation as to the peculiar manner in which it should come? Did she not, like ourselves, become so utterly weary of deadness and unholy calm that she sighed for any visitation which would brace her to action? Yet she desires the warm south wind of comfort, too, the smiles of divine love, the joy of the Redeemer’s presence; these are often mightily effectual to arouse our sluggish life. She desires either one or the other, or both; so that she may but be able to delight her Beloved with the spices of her garden. She cannot endure to be unprofitable, nor can we. How cheering a thought that Jesus can find comfort in our poor feeble graces. Can it be? It seems far too good to be true. Well may we court trial or even death itself if we shall thereby be aided to make glad Immanuel’s heart. O that our heart were crushed to atoms if only by such bruising our sweet Lord Jesus could be glorified. Graces unexercised are as sweet perfumes slumbering in the cups of the flowers: the wisdom of the great Husbandman overrules diverse and opposite causes to produce the one desired result, and makes both affliction and consolation draw forth the grateful odours of faith, love, patience, hope, resignation, joy, and the other fair flowers of the garden. May we know by sweet experience, what this means.

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