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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 23

Just For Today
March 23
God’s Gift

“We do the footwork and accept what’s being given to us freely on a daily basis.”
Basic Text pg. 46

Our relationship with our Higher Power is a two-way street. In prayer, we speak and God listens. When we meditate, we do our best to listen for the will of our Higher Power. We know that we are responsible for our part of the relationship. If we do not pray and listen, we shut our Higher Power out of our lives.

When we think about our relationship with our Higher Power, it’s important to remember which one we are: the powerless one. We can ask for guidance; we can ask for willingness or strength; we can ask for knowledge of our Higher Power’s will-but we cannot make demands. The God of our understanding-the one with the power-will fulfill the half of the relationship by giving us exactly what we need, when we need it.

We need to take action every day to keep our relationship with a Higher Power alive, One way we do this is by applying the Eleventh Step. Then we remember our own powerlessness and accept the will of a Power greater than ourselves.

Just for today: In my relationship with my Higher Power, I am the powerless one. Remembering who I am, today I will humbly accept the gifts of the God I understand.

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Daily Reflections
March 23
. . . AND NO MORE RESERVATIONS

We have seen the truth again and again: “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.”. . . If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol. . . . To be gravely affected, one does not necessarily have to drink a long time nor take the quantities some of us have. This is particularly true of women. Potential female alcoholics often turn into the real thing and are gone beyond recall in a few years.
–ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 33

These words are underlined in my book. They are true for men and women alcoholics. On many occasions I’ve turned to this page and reflected on this passage. I need never fool myself by recalling my sometimes differing drinking patterns, or by believing I am “cured.” I like to think that, if sobriety is God’s gift to me, then my sober life is my gift to God. I hope that God is as happy with His gift as I am with mine.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
March 23
A.A. Thought For The Day

Strength comes from the fellowship you find when you come into A.A. Just being with men and women who have found the way out gives you a feeling of security. You listen to the speakers, you talk with other members, and you absorb the atmosphere of confidence and hope that you find in the place. Am I receiving strength from the fellowship with other A.A. members?

Meditation For The Day

God is with you, to bless and help you. His spirit is all around you. Waver not in your faith or in your prayers.  All power is the Lord’s. Say that to yourself often and steadily. Say it until your heart sings with joy for the safety and personal power that it means to you. Say it until the very force of the utterance drives back and puts to naught all the evils against you. Use it as a battle cry. All power is the Lord’s. Then you will pass on to victory over all your sins and temptations and you will begin to live a victorious life.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that with strength from God I may lead an abundant life. I pray that I may lead a life of victory.

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As Bill Sees It
March 23
Trouble Becomes an Asset, p. 82

“I think that this particular General Service Conference holds promise and has been filled with progress–because it has had trouble. And it has converted that trouble into an asset, into some growth, and into a great promise.

“A.A. was born out of trouble, one of the most serious kinds of trouble that can befall an individual, the trouble attendant upon this dark and fatal malady of alcoholism. Every single one of us approached A.A. in trouble, in impossible trouble, in hopeless trouble. And that is why we came.

“If this Conference was ruffled, if individuals were deeply disturbed–I say, ‘This is fine.” What parliament, what republic, what democracy has not been disturbed? Friction of opposing viewpoints is the very modus operandi on which they proceed. Then what should we be afraid of?”

Talk, 1958

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Walk in Dry Places
March 23
Act As If
Finding Direction

Though it sounds like a game or a trick, there’s great power in “acting as if.” This means acting as if we’ve already succeeded, acting as if we expect everybody to cooperate with us, acting as if we’ve already reached whatever goal we’re seeking.

The principle behind this approach is that such acting helps focus our minds and energies on goals. It’s also important to believe that our success is inevitable if we are truly on the right path.

We should not employ this principle superstitously or assume it’s a substitute for intelligent work and good judgment. It will be a substantial aid, however, in helping us eliminate the self-doubt and pessimism that dog so many alcoholics during their quest for sobriety. Too often, low self-esteem and a faulty belief that nothing will turn out right have led us to sabotage our own efforts.

We should go into any venture with the idea that we’ve already succeeded…. that much good is going to come out of it, even if the exact outcome is somewhat different from what we had in mind. “Acting as if” is just what we might need to summon our powers for the duties ahead.

An old saying affirms that “if God be for me, who can be against me?” I’ll carry on today with the confidence that my Higher Power is guiding all my efforts in the right direction.

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Keep It Simple
March 23

If anything, we have tended to be people who have wanted it all now. To hope is not to demand.
–On hope

Maybe we were a bit demanding. Maybe we were a bit impatient. Maybe that’s why we such little hope.

Hope is believing good will, even in bad times. Hope is knowing that “this too, shall pass.” Hope is knowing that no mater how afraid we are, God will be with us. Hope is knowing we never have to be alone again. It is knowing that time is o our side. Hope is giving up control. Hope is knowing we never had control in the first place. Hope is believing in ourselves. Hope is what our program is all about.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, in our program we share our experiences, our strengths, and our hopes. Thank you for giving all three of these to me to share.

Action for the Day: I will share my hope for the future with myself, my Higher Power, and my friends. I also will share this with someone who has lost hope.

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Each Day a New Beginning
March 23

On occasion I realize it’s easier to say the serenity prayer and take that leap of faith than it is to continue doing what I’m doing.
–S.H.

The pain of change is a reality. But so is the pain of no change–when change is called for. In spite of our desires, changing others will never be an option, whereas changing ourselves takes only a decision and is a choice always available.

We can take an inventory for a moment. What are we presently doing that makes us ashamed or angry or fearful? We can let go of that behavior and responsibly choose a new tack. If strength is needed, or confidence to try a new behavior, we can simply ask that it be ours. The Third Step promises that our lives are in God’s care and our needs are always being attended to–not always our wants, but in every instance our needs.

Most of our struggles, today as in the past, are attached to persons and situations we are trying to forcibly control. How righteous our attitudes generally are! And so imposing is our behavior that we are met with resistance, painful resistance. Our recourse is now and always to “accept those things we cannot change, and willingly change that which we can.” Our personal struggles will end when we are fully committed to the Serenity Prayer.

The wisdom “to know the difference” is mine today.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
March 23
SAFE HAVEN

– This A.A. found that the process of discovering who he really was began with knowing who he didn’t want to be.

I recall one day when I was doing a midday show, I realized I could not go on another minute without a drink. I put on an album and quietly walked out of the radio station unnoticed. I drove to a liquor store and bought a bottle of whiskey, got back in my car, turned on the radio, and started drinking. As I sat there listening to song after song, the album eventually came to an end, and all you could hear was the needle scratching against the turntable. Someone at the station finally realized I was no longer in the control room and put on another record.

p. 453
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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
March 23

Step Three – “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

Like all the remaining Steps, Step Three calls for affirmative action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will which has always blocked the entry of God–or, if you like, a Higher Power–into our lives. Faith, to be sure, is necessary, but faith alone can avail nothing. We can have faith, yet keep God out of our lives. Therefore our problem now becomes just how and by what specific means shall we be able to let Him in? Step Three represents our first attempt to do this. In fact, the effectiveness of the whole A.A. program will rest upon how well and earnestly we have tried to come to “a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

pp. 34-35

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Xtra Thoughts
March 23

Don’t point a finger – lend a hand.
–Cited in Even More of…The Best of BITS & PIECES

Inventory taking is not all in red ink.
–Unknown

A recovering alcoholic without a sponsor is like a ship without a rudder.
–Unknown

“Every great move forward in your life begins with a leap of faith, a step into the unknown.”
–Brian Tracy

“The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it.”
–Rona Barrett

“. . . just to be alive is a grand thing.”
–Agatha Christie

We cannot sink so low that God cannot lift us to freedom.
–John Harrold

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
March 23
SELF-LOVE

“No matter how old you get, if you keep the desire to be creative, you’re keeping the man-child alive.”
— John Cassavetes

When I was a child, I used to play in the sand and make castles. I would build a strong and firm fortress around the castle so that it could withstand the force of the sea.

Today I also like to play in my life and I need to build strong and firm behavioral structures that will withstand pressure and stress. Today I need to build my life on a sure foundation — and that foundation must be me! I need to take care of me so that I can enjoy my life.

How do I take care of me? I watch what I drink. I am a recovering alcoholic, and so I choose not to drink alcohol. I drink soda, orange juice and milk — but no alcohol. This is an important part of my self-love program. I exercise regularly. I watch what I eat and I avoid sugar and needless carbohydrates. I rest in the evenings and take walks in the fresh air. The child that is in me still lives, but today he is healthy.

Help me to treat life responsibly, but not too seriously.

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Bible Scriptures
March 23

“We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.”
Psalms 75:1

“In You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be put to shame.”
Psalms 71:1

Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

Yes, you are very special in the eyes of God. But you are what you are by the grace of God.
1 Corinthians 15:10

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Daily Inspiration
March 23

How foolish it is to focus on our weaknesses and troubles, thereby giving them more power than they deserve. Lord, I ask for your wisdom and guidance in what I put into my mind.

You are good and beautiful and intelligent and loved. Lord, may I accept me for all that I am and focus on my goodness.

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A Day At A Time
March 23

Reflection For The Day

The Program teaches us, through the experience, strength and hope of its fellowship, that the worst situation imaginable does not warrant a return to our addiction.  No matter how bad a particular situation or set of circumstances, the return to our old ways for even a minute will assuredly make it worse.  Am I Grateful for the sharing and caring of “The Program”

Today I Pray

May I insist that no stone can be heavy enough to  rag me back down into the pool of my addiction.  No burden, so disappointment, no blow to pride or loss of human love is worth the price of returning to my old way of life.  When I harbor thoughts that life is “too much” for me, that  no one should be expected to “take so much and still remains sane” or  that I am “the fall guy,”{ let me listen for the tone of my complaints and remember that I have heard that whine before — before I concluded that I was powerless over the chemical and gave my will over to the will of God.  Such wailing sets me up for getting high again.  May God keep my ears alert to the tone of my own complaining.

Today I Will Remember

Hear my own complaints.

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One More Day
March 23

There the weary cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest.
–  Job 3:17

We never thought we would have to learn to live with constant weariness.  Our notions of illness may have prepared us for pain, inconvenience, maybe even some negative emotions like anger, but we had no way of anticipating the unrelenting drain of illness.  There is tremendous comfort just in knowing we are not alone, that ultimately there is a Power greater than ourselves to whom we can turn for comfort and strength.

We can’t always escape the physical weariness of illness, but we can regenerate our spirituality, which may have dissipated along with our good health.

I cannot control my illness, but I can have a hopeful attitude.

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One Day At A Time
March 23
Progress, Not Perfection

“The maxim “Nothing but perfection” may be spelled “Paralysis.”
–Winston Churchill

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the expression, “progress not perfection” from my sponsor and used it with my sponsees. We take little steps – one day at a time – which gradually leads to greater steps. Small successes eventually will lead to bigger successes. Often though, we want it all and we want it NOW!

Recovery is a process – not an end result. It requires a kind of a balancing act – if we try to juggle more balls than what we’re capable of comfortably balancing – we will crash and this can lead to relapse. So rather than juggling five balls and crashing – it’s better to juggle three really well and gradually work in a 4th or a fifth.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will focus on making progress rather than trying to be perfect.

~ Rob R.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day March 23

“We must relearn how to cry. A strong man cries; it is the weak man who holds back his tears.”
–Archie Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA

Indian men and other men should really meditate on this Elder’s saying. So many men have been taught it is unmanly to cry, to show emotions or to feel. When people cry, the Elders say there are two types of tears ? one type will taste salty; the other type will taste sweet. One is caused by pain, and the other is caused by the release from the pain, or joy tears. A strong man knows himself and knows his relationship with the Great Spirit. The release of tears is a spiritual act. Our bodies are designed to cry. We should honor our bodies and use them as the Creator intended.

Great Spirit, Grandfather, today, teach me to cry.

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Journey to the Heart
March 23
Comfort Yourself

I was driving through Montana, on my way to a town on the Flathead Indian Reservation. I was going there because an old hotel, opened in 1928, noted for its medicinal mineral waters had caught my attention. As I pulled off the highway and began the drive down the side roads, I felt an environmental ambiance I hadn’t experienced before.

The hills were huge mounds, covered with a soft-green, grassy moss. Not steep sharp mountains; comforting, rounded hills– one after another. A gentle energy emanated from them. It was more than love. More than kindness. I felt comforted, embraced, almost held by Mother Earth in her bosom. My body relaxed. My spirit soared. I felt warm. Cared for. Nurtured. Comforted.

Comfort is a place we can visit often, as often as we need to. Although certain places and objects help comfort us, it is really a place within each of us. Some of us may have thought that comfort was a waste of time, but now we know that there is tremendous power in comfort, the power to heal. We no longer have to deprive ourselves of comfort, of that warm feeling of being nurtured. We can visit it for ourselves; we can take others there with us.

What brings you comfort? What makes you feel safe, cozy, warm, loved? What places? What people? What events? Learn to comfort yourself. Learn to accept comfort, and learn to give it. Go to that special place of comfort whenever you need to. Stay as long as you wish. The healing power of comfort will make life better.

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Today’s Gift
March 23

It feels so good to cry. . .
—Susan Cygnet

Some of us were taught that it’s bad to express our feelings directly – crying, wailing, jumping up and down for joy–that it’s good manners to talk softly, slowly, and politely and to sit still.

But what happens to our feelings when we sit still? If they don’t get expressed, they must be caught inside our bodies. Trapped feelings are like birds in a cage, or a rabbit in a trap–they try to get out any way they can. They peck on our heads and give us headaches. They scratch at our stomachs and make us hurt.

We must let them out. We must laugh and cry. Then our bodies will be happy, and our feelings will curl up in our laps like happy puppies.

Am I ignoring the physical symptoms of trapped feelings?

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The Language of Letting Go
March 23
Flack from Setting Boundaries

We need to know how far we’ll go, and how far we’ll allow others to go with us. Once we understand this, we can go anywhere.
–Beyond Codependency

When we own our power to take care of ourselves – set a boundary, say no, and change an old pattern – we may get flack from some people. That’s okay. We don’t have to let their reactions control us, stop us, or influence our decision to take care of ourselves.

We don’t have to control their reactions to our process of self-care. That is not our responsibility. We don’t have to expect them not to react either.

People will react when we do things differently or take assertive action to nurture ourselves, particularly if our decision in some way affects them. Let them have their feelings. Let them have their reactions. But continue on your course anyway.

If people are used to us behaving in a certain way, they’ll attempt to convince us to stay that way to avoid changing the system. If people are used to us saying yes all the time, they may start mumbling and murmuring when we say no. If people are used to us taking care of their responsibilities, feelings, and problems, they may give us some flack when we stop. That’s normal. We can learn to live with a little flack in the name of healthy self-care. Not abuse, mind you flack.

If people are used to controlling us through guilt, bullying, and badgering, they may intensify their efforts when we change and refuse to be controlled. That’s okay. That’s flack too.

We don’t have to let flack pull us back into old ways if we’ve decided we want and need to change. We don’t have to react to flack or give it much attention. It doesn’t deserve it. It will die down.

Today, I will disregard any flack I receive for changing my behaviors or making other efforts to be myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
March 23
Let go of the trappings

We call it keeping up with the Joneses. They buy a boat and we buy a bigger one. They get a new TV and we get a big screen. They start a business and we start planning our articles of incorporation and the first stock release. And while we’re so busy keeping up, we ignore our soul, the inner voice, that’s telling us that it really wants to teach children to read.

While it helps to identify with each other, we’re not the same. So why compare ourselves on the basis of material things?

Follow your own talent and heart. It may be that you are a talented public speaker, able to sway hundreds of people with your words. Or maybe you have the talent of friendship, and you’ve been sent to quietly, one-on-one, help those close to you walk their own path.

If you must compare yourself to something, compare your daily life to your ideals and dreams. Do they match? If those ideals and dreams bring great material wealth, that’s great. If they mean a life of quiet, anonymous service, that’s great,too. Yes, material goods can be fun. But they can also be a trap.

Are you walking a path with heart in your own life, regardless of what others have?

God, help me let go of the trappings. Teach me to walk my own path.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
March 23

If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.
—Walt Whitman

A renewed relationship with our bodies is part of our spiritual renewal. Perhaps we have not known our bodies as part of our spiritual selves. We may have treated ourselves and others as objects. Too often genitals were “tools” to be used, objects of our egos, or a way of taking care of someone else. Maybe we have used sex compulsively as an escape from other emotions. Men in recovery commonly encounter problems with sexuality. Those problems often come from knowing deep within that we must change, but not knowing how.

It helps to create new images in our minds. We can imagine a totally relaxed playfulness with our partners, with no goal in mind and no judgment. We can imagine our Higher Power being with us. We can imagine talking in detail with someone – our partner or a friend – about our feelings, anxieties, or frustrations with sex. We can imagine ourselves as a whole body; alone, not with a partner, and okay Bringing sexuality into the whole of our lives is a spiritual thing to do.

May I find ways to include sexuality in my spiritual awakening.

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DailyTAO
March 23
ATTUNEMENT

Traversing sun leads to a new season,
Vernal breath attunes the leaves.

Tao is here. It is we who are not always in harmony with it.

Tao proceeds on its own way. It is we who are not ready to follow.

Tao is absolutely sure in its movement. It is we who involve ourselves in amusements.

Tao has no consciousness, yet it is supreme. It is we who think compulsively.

Therefore, tuning ourselves to Tao is the basic task. We must make ourselves the perfect instrument, much in the way a beautiful harp has all its strings adjusted. If we are less than perfect, how will we harmonize with the universal music? Once we are attuned, we can become open to Tao. Where it leads, we follow without hesitation. Just as a musician expresses individual talent and understanding and yet blends with the swelling magnificence of the orchestra, so too does the follower of Tao remain human and yet in harmony with the universal.

When the sun begins its new pattern, spring follows. The air warms, and the world rejoices. A new breath comes over all things, and even the trembling leaves are attuned to the vernal rhythm. Turn your face to the sun, as flowers know how to do. Turn your face to Tao, as we should all do.

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DailyZen
March 23

Spring night—one hour worth
A thousand gold coins;
Clear scent of flowers,
Shadowy moon.
Songs and flutes upstairs—threads of sound;
In the garden, a swing,
Where night is deep and still.

– Su Shih (1037-1101)

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Food for Thought
March 23
Awareness

To be aware is to be focused and alive. If we are truly alert to what is going on within and around us, we will never be bored. Through working the OA program, we develop greater awareness of ourselves, other people, and our Higher Power.

Sometimes this new awareness brings pain; we realize that we have been hurt and that we have hurt others. Through our daily inventories, we recognize shortcomings and mistakes, which we may have ignored in the past. Often it is too late to undo all of the damage, which has been done by our compulsive overeating and general self-centeredness.

Here is where we pray for acceptance of what we cannot change and courage to make amends where we can. It is then important to put what is past behind us and concentrate on being more aware now, today, so that we do not make the same mistakes again.

When we are not dulled by too much food and the wrong kinds of food, we are more perceptive and aware in every aspect of our lives. Our experiences are richer and we are better able to grow and change.

I pray for increasing awareness.

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Faith’s Check Book
March 23
A Sure Guide

I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not. (Isaiah 42:16)

Think of the infinitely glorious Jehovah acting as a Guide to the blind! What boundless condescension does this imply! A blind man cannot find a way which he does not know. Even when he knows the road, it is hard for him to traverse it; but a road which he has not known is quite out of the question for his unguided feet. Now, we are by nature blind as to the way of salvation, and yet the Lord leads us into it and brings us to Himself, and then opens our eyes. As to the future, we are all of us blind and cannot see an hour before us; but the Lord Jesus will lead us even to our journey’s end. Blessed be His name!

We cannot guess in which way deliverance can possibly come to us, but the Lord knows, and He will lead us till we shall have escaped every danger. Happy are those who place their hand in that of the great Guide and leave their way and themselves entirely with Him. He will bring them all the way; and when He has brought them home to glory and has opened their eyes to see the way by which He has led them, what a song of gratitude will they sing unto their great Benefactor! Lord, lead Thy poor blind child this day, for I know not my way!

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This Morning’s Meditation
March 23

“His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”—Luke 22:44.

THE mental pressure arising from our Lord’s struggle with temptation, so forced his frame to an unnatural excitement, that his pores sent forth great drops of blood which fell down to the ground. This proves how tremendous must have been the weight of sin when it was able to crush the Saviour so that he distilled great drops of blood! This demonstrates the mighty power of his love. It is a very pretty observation of old Isaac Ambrose that the gum which exudes from the tree without cutting is always the best. This precious camphire-tree yielded most sweet spices when it was wounded under the knotty whips, and when it was pierced by the nails on the cross; but see, it giveth forth its best spice when there is no whip, no nail, no wound. This sets forth the voluntariness of Christ’s sufferings, since without a lance the blood flowed freely. No need to put on the leech, or apply the knife; it flows spontaneously. No need for the rulers to cry, “Spring up, O well;” of itself it flows in crimson torrents. If men suffer great pain of mind apparently the blood rushes to the heart. The cheeks are pale; a fainting fit comes on; the blood has gone inward as if to nourish the inner man while passing through its trial. But see our Saviour in His agony; he is so utterly oblivious of self, that instead of his agony driving his blood to the heart to nourish himself, it drives it outward to bedew the earth. The agony of Christ, inasmuch as it pours him out upon the ground, pictures the fulness of the offering which he made for men.

Do we not perceive how intense must have been the wrestling through which he passed, and will we not hear its voice to us? “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield to the great tempter of your souls.

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This Evening Meditations
March 23

“I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”
-—Luke 19:40.

BUT could the stones cry out? Assuredly they could if He who opens the mouth of the dumb should bid them lift up their voice. Certainly if they were to speak, they would have much to testify in praise of Him who created them by the word of His power; they could extol the wisdom and power of their Maker who called them into being. Shall not we speak well of Him who made us anew, and out of stones raised up children unto Abraham? The old rocks could tell of chaos and order, and the handiwork of God in successive stages of creation’s drama; and cannot we talk of God’s decrees, of God’s great work in ancient times, in all that He did for His church in the days of old? If the stones were to speak, they could tell of their breaker, how he took them from the quarry, and made them fit for the temple, and cannot we tell of our glorious Breaker, who broke our hearts with the hammer of His word, that He might build us into His temple? If the stones should cry out they would magnify their builder, who polished them and fashioned them after the similitude of a palace; and shall not we talk of our Architect and Builder, who has put us in our place in the temple of the living God? If the stones could cry out, they might have a long, long story to tell by way of memorial, for many a time hath a great stone been rolled as a memorial before the Lord; and we too can testify of Ebenezers, stones of help, pillars of remembrance. The broken stones of the law cry out against us, but Christ Himself, who has rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, speaks for us. Stones might well cry out, but we will not let them: we will hush their noise with ours; we will break forth into sacred song, and bless the majesty of the Most High, all our days glorifying Him who is called by Jacob the Shepherd and Stone of Israel.

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