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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 – March 18

Just For Today
March 18
The Full Message

“There is a special feeling for addicts when they discover that there are other people who share their difficulties, past and present.”
Basic Text p. 53

The wealth of our recovery is too good to keep to ourselves. Some of us believe that when we talk in meetings, we should “remember the newcomer” and always try to carry a positive message. But sometimes the most positive message we can carry is that we are going through difficult times in our recovery and are staying clean in spite of them!

Yes, it’s gratifying to send out a strong message of hope to our newer members. After all, no one likes a whiner. But distressing things happen, and life on life’s terms can send shock waves even through the recovery of long-time members of Narcotics Anonymous. If we are equipped with the tools of the program, we can walk through such turmoil and stay clean to tell the tale.

Recovery doesn’t happen all at once; it is an ongoing process, sometimes a struggle. When we dilute the fullness of our message by neglecting to share about the tough times we may walk through on our journey, we fail to allow newcomers the chance to see that they, too, can stay clean, no matter what. If we share the full message of our recovery, we may not know who benefits, but we can be sure someone will.

Just for today: I will honestly share both the good times and the difficult times of my recovery. I will remember that my experience in walking through adversity may benefit another member.

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Daily Reflections
March 18
REAL INDEPENDENCE

The more we become willing to depend upon a Higher Power, the more independent we actually are.
–TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 36

I start with a little willingness to trust God and He causes that willingness to grow. The more willingness I have, the more trust I gain, and the more trust I gain, the more willingness I have. My dependence on God grows as my trust in Him grows. Before I became willing, I depended on myself for all my needs and I was restricted by my incompleteness. Through my willingness to depend upon my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, all my needs are provided for by Someone Who knows me better than I know myself – even the needs I may not realize, as well as the ones yet to come, bring me to be myself and to help me fill the need in someone else that only I am meant to fill. There never will be another exactly like me. And that is real independence.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
March 18
A.A. Thought For The Day

When alcoholics first come into A.A. and we face the fact that we must spend the rest of our life without liquor, it often seems like an impossibility for us. So A.A. tells us to forget about the future and take it one day at a time.  All we really have is now. We have no past time and no future time. As the saying goes: “Yesterday is gone, forget it; tomorrow never comes, don’t worry; today is here, get busy.” All we have is the present. The past is gone forever and the future never comes. When tomorrow gets here, it will be today. Am I living one day at a time?

Meditation For The Day

Persistence is necessary if you are to advance in spiritual things. By persistent prayer, persistent firm and simple trust, you achieve the treasures of the spirit. By persistent practice, you can eventually obtain joy, peace, assurance, security, health, happiness and serenity.  Nothing is too great, in the spiritual realm, for you to obtain, if you persistently prepare yourself for it.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may persistently carry out my spiritual exercises every day. I pray that I may strive for peace and serenity.

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As Bill Sees It
March 18
R.S.V.P.–Yes or No?, p. 77

Usually, we do not avoid a place where there is drinking–if we have a legitimate reason for being there. That includes bars, night clubs, dances, receptions, weddings, even plain ordinary parties.

You will note that we made an important qualification. Therefore, ask yourself, “Have I any good social, business, or personal reason for going to this place? Or am I expecting to steal a little vicarious pleasure from the atmosphere?” Then go or stay away, whichever seems better. But be sure you are on solid spiritual ground before you start and that your motive in going is thoroughly good. Do not think of what you will get out of the occasion. Think of what you can bring to it.

If you are shaky, you had better work with another alcoholic instead!

Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 101-102

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Walk in Dry Places
March 18
Should everybody like me?
Personal Relations.

In AA discussions, the term “people pleasers” doesn’t fare very well. When people say they are people-pleasers, they’re acknowledging that it’s also a problem

It’s a problem because it reflects a desire to have everybody’s acceptance and approval…… to be universally liked. But from what we know about human relationships, this is not possible. No matter how hard we work to be pleasant and likable, some people may still detest us for reasons we cannot understand. When that happens, we should not blame ourselves or step up our efforts to them and to avoid giving offense in any way, while accepting the fact that they do not like us.

If our own behavior is mature and reasonable, even the people who don’t like us will at least respect us. That may be the best we can hope for , and it is certainly far better than shameless people pleasing. In the end, people-pleasers don’t please anybody and, as a famous comedian notes about himself, they “get no respect.”

I’ll try hard to be pleasant and cordial to everyone I meet today. If some people do not respond in the same way. I’ll accept this without feeling hurt or betrayed.

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Keep It Simple
March 18

Money cost too much.
—Ross MacDonald

Many people are poor and really need money to live better. But we’re in trouble if we think money will solve all our problems. If money solved all problems, all rich people would be happy.

Consider this: A man talks about his shortcomings in a Twelve Step meeting. He says his main shortcoming is to think being happy means having enough money. But then he says that he has over a million dollars! This man is lucky—not because he has money, but because he knows greed is a shortcoming. He knows he has a spiritual problem. He doesn’t need money; he needs faith in a Higher Power.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to really believe I’ll be given what I need. This will free me to get on with life.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll read over the promises of the program. They are found at the bottom of page 83 at the top of the page of page 84 in the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, Third Edition.

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Each Day a New Beginning
March 18

Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.
–Dodie Smith

Depression feeds on itself. With attention it worsens, but there are places for our attention. We can move our focus to a woman who is close by, a woman who is struggling to determine her direction in life. We can offer our ears. Or we can observe attentively, today, all the women, children, and men we see on the streets. When we notice their expressions, we realize they, too, may be suffering.

Doing something for someone else will lessen our own problems, no matter what the cause. In fact, just doing something will lift our spirits. Depression becomes habitual, and habits, even those that are detrimental, are easy to hang onto. When we take an action, even a small one, we can note the change: Action that benefits another is guaranteed to benefit us as well.

Depression does get worse with self-pitying attention; however, attention to ourselves that is nurturing has its place. We can pamper ourselves, but not pity ourselves. Pampering reflects approval, caring, self-respect; three attitudes inconsistent with depression. Even more than inconsistent, pampering and depression are incongruent.

Depression must be coddled to maintain it. It’s my choice to move beyond it at any moment. I can put something besides my problem at my center today and enjoy the results.

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Alcoholics Anonymous

HE LIVED ONLY TO DRINK

– “I had been preached to, analyzed, cursed, and counseled, but no one had ever said, ‘I identify with what’s going on with you. It happened to me and this is what I did about it.'”

The rewards of sobriety are bountiful and as progressive as the disease they counteract. Certainly among these rewards for me are release from the prison of uniqueness, and the realization that participation in the A.A. way of life is a blessing and a privilege beyond estimate–a blessing to live a life free from the pain and degradation of drinking and filled with the joy of useful, sober living, and a privilege to grow in sobriety one day at a time and bring the message of hope as it was brought to me.

p. 451

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
March 18

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

Now let’s take the guy full of faith, but still reeking of alcohol. He believes he is devout. His religious observance is scrupulous. He’s sure he still believes in God, but suspects that God doesn’t believe in him. He takes pledges and more pledges. Following each, he not only drinks again, but acts worse than the last time. Valiantly he tries to fight alcohol, imploring God’s help, but the help doesn’t come. What, then, can be the matter?

pp. 31-32

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Xtra Thoughts
March 18

Today, God, help me know I am being guided into what’s good about life, especially when I feel confused and without direction. Help me trust enough to wait until my mind and vision are clear and consistent.  Help me know that clarity will come.
–Melody Beattie

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.”
— Disraeli

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.
— Louisa May Alcott

We can be whole persons, even if we are not physically healthy.
–Bonnie Marie Tincher

I am always willing to learn, however I do not always like to be taught.
–Winston Churchill

Faith and Love mixed with Works is so important for a person to not lose Hope.
–Sprintin

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
March 18
HUMOR

“Humor may be defined as the kindly contemplation of the incongruities of life and the artistic impression thereof . . . The essence of humor is human kindliness.”
— Stephen Leacock

Humor for me is a key to balance. In the joke I am able to release some tension or frustration and cope with my disease of alcoholism. When I drank, I did not have a genuine sense of humor — rather it was sarcasm, cruel “put-downs” or insane expressions of my manic personality. My fun was created at the expense of others. It was a form of violence. It kept people away from me and created a loneliness in my life.

Today I seek to use humor as an expression of acceptance, tolerance, understanding and forgiveness. Humor is an aspect of my spiritual program. In humor I experience God.

Give me the gift of humor that reflects the dignity and hope for us all.

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Bible Scriptures
March 18

In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
–Psalms 56:4

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
–Psalms 57:1

Paul wrote, “I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me.”
–Philippians 4:13

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Daily Inspiration
March 18

When God answers prayer, He gives us the right answer. Lord, my greatest strength comes when I trust in You.

Have the strength to do what is right regardless of the consequences. Lord, show me Your way so that I may walk in Your truth.

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A Day At A Time
March 18

Reflection For The Day

In the old days, we often had such devastating experiences that we fervently swore, “never again.”  We were absolutely sincere in those moments of desperation.  Yet, despite our intentions, the outcome was inevitably the same.  Eventually, the memory of our suffering faded, as did the memory of our “pledge.”  so we did it again, ending up in even worse shape than when we had last “sworn off,m”   Forever turned out to be only a week, or a day or less.  In The Program, we learn that we need only be concerned about today, this particular 24-hour period.  Do I live my life just 24 hours at a time?

Today I Pray

May the long-term requirements of such phrases as “never again, ” “not on your life,” “forever,” “I’ll never take another..” not weaken my resolve.  “Forever,” when it is broken down into single days — or even just parts of days — does not seem to impossible long.  May I awake each day  with my goal set  realistically at just 24 hours.

Today I Will Remember

Twenty -four hours at a time.

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One More Day
March 18

An ordinary man can surround himself with two thousand books … and thenceforward have at least one place in the world in which it is possible to be happy.
–  Augustine Birrell

A flashlight.  A winter storm.  Secretly reading under the covers.  As children, most of us escaped into books from time to time.  Books were a private experience shared with no one.  They could also be a warm family time of sharing.

Books will provide a window to the world, to adventures and faraway places that few people ever experience firsthand.  Regardless of physical ability — or disability — we can generally find a way to read or listen to a book.  We can shed, for a short while, some of the frustrations we experience.  We can forget the ravages of illness.  We can travel.  We can dream.

Reading is a true gift which I can give myself.

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One Day At A Time
March 18
Example

“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”
–Albert Einstein

Program’s philosophy dictates that we gain new members by attraction rather than promotion. We should be striving to become living embodiments of Program principles in order that we might attract and inspire those in need whom we may encounter in our daily lives – just as we were fortunate enough to find our way here because of the amazing effort, inspiration and example of the Program founders. Because of their blood, sweat and tears, Program has grown in leaps and bounds over the years . Now – its future growth rests with us. Are you prepared for this responsibility?

One Day at a Time . . .
I will diligently work the tools of my program and be a shining example of recovery to others.
~ Rob R.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day March 18

“The sacred fire used to heat the rocks represents the eternal fire that burns at the center of the universe.”
–Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA

Our Sweat Lodge represents the womb of Mother Earth. This is the place of forgiveness. The altar is the place where the Grandfathers are heated. The Sweat Lodge and the altar represent the whole story of the universe. The Sweat Lodge and the ceremonies are sacred. The Great Spirit gave these things to us to help us. He taught us to do the ceremonies in harmony with Mother Earth. We need to know and understand these things.

Great Spirit, let me understand harmony.

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Journey to the Heart
March 18
Heart Connections

I went into the office at the lodge where I stayed in Sedona. I turned in my room key, then pulled out my camera and took a picture of Marianne. We had only known each other for eight days, but I felt deeply connected to her. We had been through a series of experiences that would probably stay with me for life. They had changed my life.

When we hugged and said good-bye, I told her not to cry– but she did anyway. So did I. “Call me whenever you want,” she said. “I’ll be there for you.” I knew what she meant. She didn’t mean for me to call her on the phone, although that was okay,too. She meant call her in my heart, call her to me in spirit.

For a long time, our connections to people and places may have come from someplace other than our hearts. We may have been connected out of need, fear, unfinished business, or simply the unwillingness to leave– to know there was any other way to be connected. Or we may not have even felt particularly connected to the people around us.

Now is a different time. It is time now to let your connections come from your heart. Open up. Listen. Does someone have something to say, maybe only a sentence or two, that’s just what you need to hear? As you’re going through your day, does someone come to mind, someone you think about getting in touch with?

Don’t shrug off the things you know and sense. Be open to your inner voice. Do what it leads you to do. Love isn’t bound by time or space when our connections come from our heart.

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Today’s Gift
March 18

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry? Did He who made the Lamb make thee?
—William Blake

Is there a lamb and a tiger inside us? Is there any commandment, written on the sky or a stone tablet, denying us our perfect right to be both tiger and lamb? The tiger, beast made of fire and night, shows its teeth when it blazes with love; the lamb, orphan wrapped in soft blanket of cloud, weeps to receive that same love. So we give and take, are strong and weak, guilty and innocent, wrong and right. So we are balanced, even when we seem to be in conflict.

When we learn to accept all the things we can be, we will be able to love all the ways the world outside us can be.

What conflict is helping me grow today?

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The Language of Letting Go
March 18
Safety

One of the long-term effects of living in a dysfunctional family – as children or adults – is that we don’t feel safe.

Much of what we call codependency happens because we don’t feel safe in relationships. This can cause us to control, obsess, or focus on the other person, while neglecting ourselves or shutting down our feelings.

We can learn to make ourselves feel safe and comfortable, as part of a nurturing, loving attitude toward ourselves.

Often, we get a feeling of safety and comfort when we attend Twelve Step meetings or support groups. Being with a friend or doing something nice for ourselves helps us feel protected and loved. Sometimes, reaching out to another person helps us feel safe. Prayer and meditation help us affirm that our Higher Power cares for us.

We are safe now. We can relax. Perhaps others haven’t been there for us in a consistent, trustworthy way, but we are learning to be there for ourselves.

Today, I will concentrate on making myself feel safe and comfortable.

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More Language Of Letting Go
March 18
Prayer helps

“Sometimes I talk myself out of praying,” Sheila said. “I convince myself that it’s just more work, because even if I pray about something, I have to do all the work,too.”

I sit down to write. The energy’s not there, but the deadline is. God, please help. I remember a joke I heard from someone, somewhere: “I love deadlines. Especially the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by.” I write anyway, putting one word in front of another. Then, from out of nowhere, comes a string of words I didn’t plan on, a new idea, a fresh perspective, a story, complete with ending. Wow! Where’d that come from?

An issue comes up in a relationship with a friend. He’s hurt and angry. His hurt and anger evoke more hurt and anger in me. I try to reason things out, listen to him, get him to see things my way. He feels justified. So do I. day after day, we work on the relationship. The strain continues. I don’t know what to do next. “God, please help me with this situation. Show me what to do next.” I keep talking to my friend. He keeps talking to me. Then one day, I feel less defensive and guilty. A new feeling surrounds the relationship. “I’m sorry,” I say one day. “So am I,” he says,too. Wow, I think. Where did that come from?

I stand on the scale, glaring at the numbers. I want to lose ten pounds. I start eating less, exercising more. A few days later, I get on the scale again. Dang. Gained a pound. I continue to eat less; the numbers don’t move. God, please help me drop this weight. Why am I holding on to it? I continue to watch my caloric intake and pay attention to exercise. One morning I get on the scale. Wow! I’ve lost five pounds. How did that happen?

Pray. let go. Then act as if you need to do all the work. Don’t plan on magic and miracles. But leave room for them,too.

God, help me remember that when I run out of myself, I run right into you.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
March 18

Oh, that one could learn to learn in time!
—Enrique Solari

A mark of genuine change, after the pleasure of newfound growth, may be the regret a man feels that he didn’t learn sooner. When we learn something new, we see how it could have made our life better at an earlier time. We regret being stubborn, immature, or impulsive. Now we see our mistakes in a new light and it hurts. This is one of the pains of change. Some people turn away from growth because they refuse to tolerate the pain of honest hindsight.

We need to face these regrets, but not indulge in them. We take a bow to the past and move on to live in the only place we can – the present. We can acknowledge our guilt and remorse and then turn them over to the care of God. We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it. Healthy recovery means an ever lighter load of regrets. Getting stuck in guilt over past deeds only repeats our mistakes by failing to use our learning today.

May I acknowledge and let go of my grief’s and regrets so I can attend to life here and now.

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DailyTAO
March 18
FATE

Dispel time
And you will
Dispel fate.

Fate is the force that interferes with our lives, wrecking things at the worst moments. Yet what we call fate is nothing more than the consequence of our own actions. Each time we act, we generate a chain of events that is tied to us completely. The faster we run from these links, the faster they follow us. They cannot be severed; our every act binds us further.

The operative element here is time. The events of the past are the curse. Beginning followers of Tao learn to manipulate past, present, and future. They learn how circumstances operate and seek to take advantage of that. More advanced followers of Tao eschew this process of manipulation. They obliterate all regard to past, present, and future as definitions in order to negate the concept of fate.

In order to attain a state of being where there is no past to weigh upon the present and no future to be determined, followers of Tao must reach a profound merging with Tao. The follower then acts no differently than Tao would. There is no fate to oppose them, for they are existence, they are causality, they are Tao itself.

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DailyZen
March 18

In the Mountains

Common birds
Love to chatter
Where men live quiet lives.
Peaceful clouds
Seem jealous
When the moon is bright.
In the world,
The ten thousand affairs
Are not my affairs.
My only shame,
It’s autumn,
And I have no poem.

– Szu K’ung-t’u (837-908)

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Food for Thought
March 18
A New World

Being abstinent puts us into a new world. Instead of trying to cheat ourselves and get away with it, we learn to be straight with ourselves and others. Instead of escaping problems, we learn to face them honestly. Instead of despair, we feel self-respect and a developing self-confidence.

As we get rid of our obsession with food, we get in touch with our feelings and abilities so that we are able to function calmly and efficiently.

All of this does not happen overnight. We take the Twelve Steps under the guidance of a program sponsor. We work our program every day. We continue to use the telephone and go to meetings so that we may learn from other members.

Above all, we maintain contact with our Higher Power, since it is by His grace that we have entered this new world.

Thank You, Lord, for leading me to a new world.

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In God’s Care
March 18

The most exhausting thing in life…is being insincere.
~~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The time-worn statement “Honesty is the best policy” holds special meaning to those of us in the program. Being honest with ourselves and with others is paramount to our recovery. But it’s also important for us to define our honesty.

Should we tell people that we don’t like them? Should we confess trangressions from past years if it hurts a loved one today? We each have to decide what honest means in different situations. Not acting or responding in accordance with our anxiety, particularly if we let that wisdome guide us in one instance and not the next.

We’ll know a deeper level of serenity when we decide to be consistently honest and sincere with our companions. A moment’s pause to let our Higher Power guide us will help us decide the best response for each situation.

I will seek God’s guidance as I learn to be more honest today.

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Faith’s Check Book
March 18
Continue Upright

The prayer of the upright is his delight. (Proverbs 15:8)

This is as good as a promise, for it declares a present fact, which will be the same throughout all ages. God takes great pleasure in the prayers of upright men; He even calls them His delight. Our first concern is to be upright. Neither bending this way nor that, continue upright; not crooked with policy, nor prostrate by yielding to evil, be you upright in strict integrity and straightforwardness. If we begin to shuffle and shift, we shall be left to shift for ourselves. If we try crooked ways, we shall find that we cannot pray, and if we pretend to do so, we shall find our prayers shut out of heaven.

Are we acting in a straight line and thus following out the Lord’s revealed will? Then let us pray much and pray in faith. If our prayer is God’s delight, let us not stint Him in that which gives Him pleasure. He does not consider the grammar of it, nor the metaphysics of it, nor the rhetoric of it; in all these men might despise it. He, as a Father, takes pleasure in the lispings of His own babes, the stammerings of His newborn sons and daughters. Should we not delight in prayer since the Lord delights in it? Let us make errands to the throne. The Lord finds us enough reasons for prayer, and we ought to thank Him that it is so.

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This Morning’s Meditation
March 18

“Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”Galatians 3:26.

THE fatherhood of God is common to all his children. Ah! Little-faith, you have often said, “Oh that I had the courage of Great-heart, that I could wield his sword and be as valiant as he! But, alas, I stumble at every straw, and a shadow makes me afraid.” List thee, Little-faith. Great-heart is God’s child, and you are God’s child too; and Great-heart is not one whit more God’s child than you are. Peter and Paul, the highly-favoured apostles, were of the family of the Most High; and so are you also; the weak Christian is as much a child of God as the strong one.

“This cov’nant stands secure,
Though earth’s old pillars bow;
The strong, the feeble, and the weak,
Are one in Jesus now.”

All the names are in the same family register. One may have more grace than another, but God our heavenly Father has the same tender heart towards all. One may do more mighty works, and may bring more glory to his Father, but he whose name is the least in the kingdom of heaven is as much the child of God as he who stands among the King’s mighty men. Let this cheer and comfort us, when we draw near to God and say, “Our Father.”
Yet, while we are comforted by knowing this, let us not rest contented with weak faith, but ask, like the Apostles, to have it increased. However feeble our faith may be, if it be real faith in Christ, we shall reach heaven at last, but we shall not honour our Master much on our pilgrimage, neither shall we abound in joy and peace. If then you would live to Christ’s glory, and be happy in His service, seek to be filled with the spirit of adoption more and more completely, till perfect love shall cast out fear.

 

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